Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Computer Science

Durham, United Kingdom
£35,333 - £42,155 per annum
16 Aug 2022
End of advertisement period
30 Aug 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Computer Science

Grade 7: - £35,333 - £42,155 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 1 year, with potential for a further 1-year extension
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date : 30-Aug-2022, 6:59:00 AM 

Durham University  

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve. 

The Department

The Department of Computer Science at Durham has an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. The department is particularly well-known for its strong standing in theoretical computer science.

The PDRA will join the Network Engineering Science and Theory in Durham (NESTiD) group, which is a new research group (since Jan 2021) in the Computer Science department at Durham University. NESTiD spans a wide area of research underpinning the fundamental theory, practical systems and applications of networks and distributed computing. The groups research interest include Network Design and Algorithms, Distributed and Parallel Computing and Algorithms, Networked Systems and Applications, Security and Resilience, Network Science, Dynamism and Processes on Networks, Mathematical theory underpinning Networks and Communication, Social Network design and Human interaction, Cloud, Edge, Fog and Wireless Networks.

ACiD, Algorithms and Complexity in Durham, is a world-leading research group with research programmes in computational complexity, proof complexity, descriptive complexity, graph theory, exact algorithms, randomised algorithms, approximation algorithms, parameterized algorithms, finite model theory, constraint satisfaction, interconnection networks, universal algebra and mathematical logic. ACiD and NESTiD share many members and there are lots of interactions between the two groups.

The Role  

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Cryptography with a particular emphasis on provable security for symmetric designs to work on the EPSRC research project Untargeted Attacks in (Password-based) Cryptography.


  • To develop notions of security, property-based or compositional, for symmetric designs.
  • To develop novel techniques proofs of security under these models.
  • To publish and present papers at leading international conferences and workshops.
  • To conduct academic visits to colleagues at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the London-based company Crypto Quantique.
  • To help organising events associated with the proposal.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.

This post is fixed term for 1 year, with the possibility of a further 1-year extension. The funding is available immediately on appointment of a suitable candidate.  

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by no later than 01/01/2023.   

How to Apply  

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Pooya Farshim (pooya.farshim@durham.ac.uk).  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University .

  What to Submit  

All applicants are asked to submit:  

  • A CV, containing your publications and contact details for two referees.
  • A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.

Next Steps  

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in late August/early September 2022.

The Requirements  


  1. Qualifications
    1. A good first degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, or other related mathematical disciplines.
    2. A PhD (or be close to submission) ideally in Cryptography, Complexity Theory, or Discrete Mathematics.
  2. Experience
    1. Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
    2. Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
    3. Demonstrable ability to present research papers at international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  3. Skills
    1. Ability to acquire novel proof techniques and paradigms quickly.
    2. Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
    3. Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
    4. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.


  1. Experience
    1. Experience in definitions and proofs of security for crypotographic schemes.
    2. Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
    3. A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
    4. Demonstrable ability to develop research in collaboration with other academics.
  2. Skills
    1. Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research. 

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.