Postdoc, PhD, Masters and Bachelors scholarships and fellowships

PhD candidate in Context-Sensitive Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things , Denmark


The University of Luxembourg seeks to hire outstanding researchers at its Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT), in the SERVAL team under Prof. Le Traon (
SnT is carrying out interdisciplinary research in secure, reliable and trustworthy ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) systems and services, often in collaboration with industrial, governmental or international partners. SnT is active in several international research projects funded by the Horizon2020 programme and the European Space Agency. For further information you may check: .

  • PhD candidate in Context-Sensitive Security & Privacy for the Internet of Things (M/F)
  • Ref: I2R-SER-COM-110000
  • The Ph.D. study program is 3 years, starting with a fixed term employment contract of 14 months extendable up to 36 months , on full time basis (40hrs/week).
  • Possibility to start with a 6 month internship on a master thesis project, followed, potentially, by the 3 year Ph.D. study program
  • Number of positions: 1

Your Role

The PhD position is offered within the upcoming H2020 bIoTope project (, which involves 21 partners ad takes place between 2016 and 2019. Proofs-of-concept might be potentially developed in smart city settings (given three cities are official bIoTope partners).

Security policies provide keys and locks for opening/locking the access to resources and assets in the Internet of Things (IoT). Access control policy management is a well-mastered art relying on standardised and reliable architectures such as the eXtensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML). Nonetheless, such architectures are still limited to support scalable contextual permissions in the access control management. Context-sensitive access control enables to take access control decisions based on one or more “Contexts” related to a human being or a physical object (e.g., location, situation, level of trust or reputation of surrounding entities…). This also applies to trust management.

  • The first objective for the PhD candidate is to investigate, specify and develop a proof-of-concept for ‘context-sensitive’ security policy, including mechanisms for access control decisions taking into consideration context-related dimensions (either related to a human being or a physical object such as location, situation, level of trust or reputation of the surrounding objects…). The research and developed solutions could potentially rely on the standardised XACML model, and existing concepts already promoted by for advanced adaptive security mechanisms (e.g., non-permanent delegation of rights).

A next step consists in providing users with convenient tools to handle their privacy as they see fit, which is key to increasing user acceptance and public confidence in the IoT. Users must have end-to-end control over their data/privacy (to decide for which purpose the data will be used, how, by whom…). It is thus important to develop appropriate privacy control that users can adapt and adjust conveniently (e.g., to decide sharing or not information depending on the requester’s identity and context…). However, most of the current techniques are binary (I share or not) and do not support gradual negotiation to tune the quality, nature or meaning of the shared information. This could potentially be achieved using blurring or anonymisation methods, although those methods are not initially designed for and adapted to the IoT.

  • The second objective of the PhD candidate is therefore to adapt traditional blurring techniques to the IoT based on reference frameworks e.g. for geographic location information privacy such as the Ongoing IETF GeoPriv work or Natural Area Coding System. Again, context dimensions will be considered as inputs of our solutions to support self-adaptation of the level of blurring and anonymisation.

Overall, the PhD candidate will thus join the SerVal research team of SnT, headed by Prof. Yves Le Traon, and contribute to:

  • Conduct applied research in the area of Context-Sensitive Security & Privacy for the IoT;
  • Manage the H2020-related task (e.g., contribute to the deliverables, international consortium meetings…);
  • Disseminate your research through publications in top scientific conferences or journals

For inquiries please contact:
KUBLER Sylvain,

Your Profile

The realization of the project objective raises major scientific challenges. The goal is to investigate how Context-Aware Computing and underlying technologies/theories (e.g., context-space, context-state) can be applied in order to adapt security and privacy policies in IoT settings. To this end, Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) techniques (e.g., Analytic Hierarchy Process, neural networks…) might be used but, above all, the PhD candidate must have a good knowledge in security and privacy management (technologies, theories…). Ideally, the PhD candidate has:
A Master degree in Computer Sciences;

  • Competences in security, privacy and any related area (e.g., trust and ownership of data);
  • Expertise in decision support systems (e.g., use of MCDM technique), machine learning, knowledge representation;
  • Basic knowledge in IoT-related solutions (protocols…);
  • Programming skills (Java, Javascript, XACML, R, SQL/NoSQL, UML);
  • Fluent written and verbal communication skills in English are mandatory;
  • Commitment, team working and a critical mind.

We offer

The University offers a Ph.D. study program of 3 years, starting with a fixed term employment contract of 14 months extendable up to 36 months, on full time basis (40hrs/week)
The University offers highly competitive salaries and is an equal opportunity employer.
You will work in an exciting international environment and will have the opportunity will have the opportunity to participate in the development of a dynamic and growing centre.

Further Information

Applications, written in English should be submitted online and should include:

  • Curriculum Vitae (including your contact address, work experience, publications)
  • Cover letter indicating the research area of interest and your motivation
  • A research statement which addresses specifically the topic of the position (300 words)
  • Transcript of all courses and results from the university-level courses taken
  • A short description of your Master’s work (max 1 page)
  • Contact information for 3 referees


Further Information

Application Deadline : 31 January 2016

PhD candidate in Context-Sensitive Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things : PDF

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Posted on 2015-11-06 10:56:45

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