Phd Position in Statistical Disclosure Control For Data Privacy

Gjøvik, Norway
22 Jan 2019
End of advertisement period
01 May 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a 4-year PhD position in the Department of Information Security and Communication Technology. The planned research is in quantitative theory and algorithms for computing statistics from population data in a manner that allows balancing utility with privacy risk.

The position reports to Nils Kalstad Svendsen.

Job description

Google, Facebook, and Acxiom, and for public sector activities such as health research. A significant challenge lies in balancing information needs with privacy. An important aspect of privacy is the control of inferences about individuals enabled by Data on individuals represents enormous values, both for corporations such as access to information derived from population data. Such information includes output from machine learning algorithms applied to data. An emerging standard for defining privacy in this context is differential privacy, with adoptions by, among others, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and the US Census bureau. The reasons for the popularity of differential privacy include sound theoretical foundations, allowing a quantitative trade-off between utility and privacy, as well as tracking privacy risk over time and across databases.

The researcher will work on analyzing and designing mechanisms for data and information access that allow control of the privacy – utility trade-off. Of particular interest are development of new differentially private response mechanisms for distributed data, differentially private response mechanisms for longitudinal data, and theory around privacy as an only partially renewable resource.

Qualification requirements

PhD candidate:

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a very strong academic background in statistics, mathematics, or computer science or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

Students who do not yet hold a master’s degree can apply as long as they will fulfil the master’s degree requirements before summer 2019.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

Other requirements:

  • Strong mathematics and statistics skills.
  • As the research topic rests heavily on quantitative analysis, design of algorithms, and proofs of algorithm properties, advanced classes in relevant topics are advantageous.
  • Excellent oral and written English
  • Experience with research

Personal characteristics

The successful candidate is

  • highly motivated for research work and is able to work independently,
  • eager to disseminate research results through publications and presentations at international conferences, and
  • most importantly, has a strong interest in exploring theoretical aspects of privacy preserving computations

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidate:

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 449 400 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 4 years with 25% teaching and other duties. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Information Security

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

Research assistant:

Research assistants are remunerated in code 1018,1019 and 1020 depending on comptetence (ta stilling til valg av kode). For a period of until (two years). This is a position where the tasks will give the opportunity to gain research experience in scientific work and methods.

Appointment takes place on the terms that apply to State employees at any time, and after the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Staal A. Vinterbo via e-mail to

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

In addition, the application must also contain:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about the candidate’s prior training, exams, and work experience and contact information of at least two references.
  • A copy of the master thesis (in PDF). Students who have not completed their master’s thesis at the time of application must submit an extended abstract of the upcoming master’s thesis.
  • Copies of academic certificates and transcripts. Applicants from universities outside Norway are requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar, describing in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please refer to the application number 2019/2780 when applying.

Application deadline: May 1st, 2019

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering is Norway’s largest university environment in ICT, electrical engineering and mathematical sciences. Our aim is to contribute to a smart, secure and sustainable future. We emphasize high international quality in research, education, innovation, dissemination and outreach. The Faculty consists of seven departments and the Faculty Administration.

Deadline 01.05.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Gjøvik Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Gjøvik

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