PhD scholarship in Offensive Cybersecurity Education

tirsdag 17 nov 20

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Frist 1. december 2020
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The Cyber Security Section at DTU Compute is offering a scholarship for a PhD Student to work on cybersecurity education, with particular focus on offensive cybersecurity techniques and tools. The scholarship is funded by the Youth Communities for Cyber Security project, supported by the Danish Industry Foundation (Industriens Fond,) to help address the current skills gap in Cyber Security and develop interest in pursuing a career in cyber security among young people in Denmark. The position is for 3 years, from 1 January 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.Your contribution to this project will be the development of teaching materials and exercises that focus on Offensive Security, also known as pen testing. These materials will be developed on the basis of a general model for security evaluation that allows system owners, or authorized third parties, to analyse and test the security of their own systems; this model will be developed as part of the PhD project and will constitute one of the main research contributions of the project. Based on this general model, the project will develop new and combine existing tools and techniques for practical cyber security analysis. Teaching materials and exercises, developed in this project, illustrates how to leverage technical knowledge and skills with theoretical principles, risk analysis and human psychology (for social engineering) to identify vulnerabilities and execute attacks against systems, thus demonstrating the value of threat modelling and how to harden own systems against potential attackers.

Responsibilities and tasks
The main goals of this project is to:

  • Develop a general model for cyber security evaluation, that helps identify a system’s attack surface and potential attack vectors, thus facilitating threat and vulnerability analysis.
  • Develop teaching materials that introduce tools and techniques to attack cyber systems.
  • Develop new techniques and tools for practical security analysis (a.k.a. pen-testing) to facilitate the development of new teaching materials and exercises, when new threats and vulnerabilities emerge, as well as updating existing material with the latest threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Develop general templates and tools to support teacher’s personalization of existing material and development of new original material to help promote interest in cyber security among young people. 
  • Evaluate the general model’s ability to identify and classify vulnerabilities and attack vectors to facilitate the development of teaching materials and exercises.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. We are particularly looking for M.Sc. graduates with a strong technical background in one or more of the following fields:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Distributed systems or operating systems
  • Computer systems and networks

Prior research and publication experience is considered a definite plus, but is not required.

Part of the project is to develop teaching materials to be used by young people in Denmark, so the ability to communicate in Danish is an advantage, but not an absolute requirement.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Christian Damsgaard Jensen, Head of the Cyber Security Section at DTU Compute and technical lead for DTU in the project.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Christian Damsgaard Jensen, tel.: +45 4525 3724, email:

You can read more about DTU Compute at   

Please submit your online application no later than 1 December 2020 (local time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Documentation for Danish language skills (for non-native Danish speakers) and/or English language skills for applicants who do not speak Danish.

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at Technical University of Denmark hosts 11 research sections. In the Cyber Security Section, we focus on several aspects of cyber security including authentication, access control, trust management and cryptology. The section roughly consists of 6 senior members of the department faculty, 10 PhD students, and 5 postdocs. The group of people is international, and the work language is English. The section and the university offer lab facilities for practical security analysis of systems and other IT equipment. The department is an internationally unique academic environment spanning mathematics, statistics, and computer science and strives to achieve research excellence in these disciplines of formal science.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.