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Research Fellow in Applied Cryptography for Online Safety and Privacy

University of Surrey - Computer Science

Location: Guildford
Salary: £34,308 to £37,474 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 6th December 2022
Closes: 8th January 2023
Job Ref: 088322

Applications are invited for a 1-year Research Fellow (with the possibility of extension) in Applied Cryptography, to work full-time on an EPSRC-funded project “AP4L: Adaptive PETs to Protect & emPower People during Life Transitions”. The successful post holder is expected to start on 1 Mar 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter and will be based in the Department of Computer Science and its highly regarded Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS), working with Dr. Cătalin Drăgan and Prof. Nishanth Sastry, Prof. Steve Schneider and Prof. Helen Treharne. 

The aim of the project is to undertake research in online privacy & vulnerability challenges that people face when going through major life transitions such as relationship breakdowns; LBGT+ transitions or transitioning gender; entering/leaving employment in sensitive sectors such as the Armed Forces; and developing a serious illness or becoming terminally ill.  

The postholder will be responsible for designing, developing and applying modern Privacy Enhancing Technologies such as everlasting privacy, Secure Multi-Party Computation or zkSNARKs to meet the changing privacy needs of citizens during significant life transitions. This is a highly interdisciplinary project with the opportunity to also collaborate with psychology and human factors researchers to motivation for these technologies and develop tools that will have far reaching impact in the lives of citizens.

The postholder will be part of a cohort of researchers working with the REPHRAIN National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online. A key aspect of the project is working closely with 26 core partners spanning legal enforcement agencies (e.g., Surrey Police), tech companies (e.g., Facebook, IBM), support networks (e.g., LGBT Foundation, Revenge Porn Helpline, Macmillan Cancer Care), financial agencies (Mastercard, Lloyd’s) and regulators such as Ofcom. A six-part radio series has been commissioned by the BBC for disseminating the key project messages.

The successful applicant is expected to have a PhD (gained or near completion) or equivalent professional experience in computer science or a related subject, in technical topics relevant to online privacy and safety. Experience conducting fundamental research in one or more of the following areas is necessary: Online Harms, Privacy Enhancing Technologies, Applied Cryptography, Usable Privacy. Interdisciplinary research experience, working with researchers from psychology and human factors, sociology or criminology will also be desirable.

For informal inquiries about the position, please contact Prof. Nishanth Sastry (n.sastry@surrey.ac.uk), Prof. Steve Schneider (s.schneider@surrey.ac.uk), Prof. Helen Treharne (h.treharne@surrey.ac.uk) or Dr. Cătalin Drăgan (c.dragan@surrey.ac.uk).

This is a Fixed Term Contract for up to 1 year.

Please submit your CV and a covering letter with your application.

We acknowledge, understand and embrace cultural diversity. Research staff are supported and encouraged in their career development through mentoring and early career researcher training. We are also committed to help balance life needs and career ambitions, for example by accommodating flexible working conditions such as part-time work or non-traditional work hours, where possible given the requirements of the project.

Further details:   

Please note, it is University Policy to offer a starting salary equivalent to Level 3.6 (£33,314) to successful applicants who have been awarded, but are yet to receive, their PhD certificate.  Once the original PhD certificate has been submitted to the local HR Department, the salary will be increased to Level 4.1 (£34,308).

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