PhD Student in Data-Driven Software Engineering to Improve Software Security and Resilience

Deadline: 03.10.2021

Simula Research Laboratory AS

Simula Research Laboratory AS is a publicly owned research institute located at Fornebu, just outside Oslo, Norway. It is a multi-cultural organization, employing over 150 people from more than 30 countries (the official working language at Simula is English). Simula conducts Information and Communication Technology (ICT) research in the fields of communication technology, scientific computing and software engineering. Simula's main objective is to generate new understanding and create vital knowledge about fundamental scientific challenges that are of genuine value for society. This is achieved through high quality research, education of graduate students, industry collaboration, technology transfer, and commercialization. Since 2001, scientific evaluations conducted by the Research Council of Norway have repeatedly placed Simula at the forefront of international research in ICT. The most recent in-depth evaluation graded all research groups at Simula as excellent.

Norway is famous for its epic outdoor scenery, with wonderful fjords, gorgeous waterfalls and majestic mountain ranges. Moreover, Norway is a safe and peaceful country with a thriving economy, offering a high standard of living and all benefits of a social-democratic welfare state, such as social security and universal public healthcare. Oslo is a vibrant European capital, uniquely surrounded by forests and hills offering unsurpassed natural beauty, and the occasional troll. Oslo boasts a wide range of cultural and recreational activities, such as exceptional hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing opportunities within 30 minutes of the city centre by subway.

Call for a PhD Student in Data-Driven Software Engineering to Improve Software Security and Resilience

Simula Research Laboratory is seeking outstanding candidates for a three-to-four year full-time paid PhD position in the field of data-driven software engineering with a specific focus on improving the security and resilience of software systems. The appointment is available immediately and review of candidates will be performed continuously until the position has been filled.

Project Description

The overall goal of this project is to increase the security and resilience of today's software systems by devising data-driven methods and techniques that help to create smart, self-securing software agents, i.e., agents that can autonomously detect security threats while a system is executing, diagnose their causes, and mitigate the risk (such systems are also referred to as RASP: Runtime Application Self-Protection).

The position builds on ongoing research in the Data-Driven Software Engineering Department in two IKTPLUSS projects that are funded by the Norwegian Research Council: the secureIT project, where the goal is to devise data-driven methods and techniques that support software engineers with automated identification and repair of vulnerable source code during development; and the cureIT project, in which we try to significantly increase the dependability, robustness, and resilience of today's software systems by developing data-driven methods and techniques that help with the creation of intelligent self-healing software systems.

The position combines theoretical and applied research, and although a three-year position is an option, we would prefer to offer candidates with suitable industrial or consulting experience a four-year position that combines a 75% research position with 25% involvement in contract research/high-level research-related consultancy.

Candidate profile

The appointment requires an MSc degree in Computer Science/Computer Engineering, with specialization in Software Security, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, or a closely related direction, with excellent marks for both the BSc and MSc degrees. Candidates are expected to demonstrate solid analytical and programming skills (we primarily use Python), an excellent level of spoken and written English, good interpersonal and communication skills, and a willingness to work as part of an international team. Experience in (binary) reverse engineering, ethical hacking and/or competing in CTF challenges will be considered as an advantage. Strong candidates will show that they are self-motivated, organized, eager to work on challenging research problems, and keen to communicate their results to others. Simula is an equal opportunity employer, and women are particularly encouraged to apply.

Simula Offers

  • a competitive salary (the current range for PhD candidates is NOK 491,200 to NOK 526,000);
  • an informal and inclusive international working environment consisting of a highly competent and motivated team of international researchers and engineers;
  • generous support for conference travel and equipment (incl. laptop, phone and electronic communication subscriptions);
  • excellent opportunities for professional development and growth;
  • brand new office facilities located in the heart of Oslo with an extensive public transport network within a few minutes’ walk and a vibrant city life right outside the office door steps;
  • various incentives and benefits like subsidized canteen meals and public transport, sponsored social events, access to company cabins, various bonus arrangements, comprehensive travel/health insurance policy, etc.;
  • relocation assistance: accommodation, visas, complimentary Norwegian language courses, etc.;
  • wellness and work-life balance: our employees’ health and well-being is a priority and we encourage them to make use of our flexible work arrangements to help balance their work and home lives efficiently.

Application Requirements

Interested applicants are requested to submit the following (in PDF format):

  • a cover letter explaining the candidate’s background, qualifications, research interests and how/why the candidate is qualified for the position
  • curriculum vitae (summarizing education, positions and academic or industrial experience, scientific publications, and software development experience)
  • grade transcripts of MSc and BSc degree
  • a sample of their writing, such as a copy of Master thesis, or a paper written as first author
  • contact information of two references, including the Master supervisor(s)

The starting date is at the earliest convenience, with a planned project start in November 2021. Review of applicants will be conducted continuously until the position has been filled, and good candidates may be hired even before the deadline. Thus, interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, and before the deadline of September 30st, 2021.


Further enquiries regarding the position should be addressed to:

Note that applications should not be submitted through email but through the online submission system here..

Simula Research Laboratory uses Semac´s background check in our recruitment process.

According to the Norwegian Freedom and Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

Apply here

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