PhD Candidate in the Area of Self-Sovereign Decentralized Identity and Blockchain Technologies

Trondheim, Norway
07 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
30 Apr 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. 

We have a vacancy for a PhD Candidate in the Area of Self-sovereign Decentralized Identity with focus on Web3 and Blockchain Technologies at the Department of Computer Science.

These days, a variety of services are widely available online via various channels like mobile, web, and IoT. This not only provides convenience to end-users but also comes along with risks. Together with a genuine user, there are online users of evil characters such as hackers and mischief-makers who lurk in the shadows waiting to commit fraud, steal someone else's identity and data. That is why protecting digital assets and services is of paramount concern these days! Unfortunately, online security breaches are increasing more than ever. It is reported that more than 7 million data records are being breached every day and are expected to increase. So, increased reliance on the internet means we have a lot more to lose if something goes sideways. The stakes are raised; we need impeccable, reliable digital security! 

One measure for having reliable security is to verify end-users securely enough before giving them access any system. Interestingly reports say that 90% of such security breaches are related to user identities. There are multiple causes for that. Firstly, user identities are not actually in custody of identity owners themselves, however the identity owners just have information about their identities, but the identities themselves are being taken care of by third parties like identity providers (IdP) and located somewhere in centralized remote servers. That not only increases risks of security, reliability and privacy issues but also increases risks of identity misuse. Secondly, identity owners are also not in control of their own identities - for example, no control over which identity data to share with whom and when. This is a self-sovereignty problem! Finally, there is no universal identity for users which can be reused cross-services, cross-borders, cross-channels, etc. Users are forced to use fragmented identities about themselves for accessing distinct services thereby leading to the dangers of identity sprawl. This PhD project will investigate the above-mentioned challenges and aim to address them using public key infrastructure (PKI) and decentralized technologies like Web3 and Blockchain.

The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  • To investigate usage of decentralized technologies like web3 and blockchain towards self-sovereign decentralized identity verification mechanisms and build an open-source verification protocol/platform putting identity holders in control of their identities and bringing identity services on their tap. 
  • To evaluate the above protocol/platform by building new and/or using existing decentralized identity wallets together with proof-of-concept applications supporting cross-border, cross-channel, cross-device, and cross-service use-cases of decentralized identities.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. 

Your immediate leader is the group leader of Applied Information Technology. 

Duties of the position

The candidate is expected to work both independently and as part of a team to achieve the objectives described above. Specifically, this will entail:

  • Conducting high-quality research, including related systematic literature studies in cryptography, decentralized identity, web3 and blockchain technologies.
  • Programming and implementation of proof-of-concept use-cases.
  • Publish in high-quality international conferences and journals.
  • Comply with the PhD training program of the faculty.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in Computer Science or Software Engineering with interest in blockchain, security or cryptography technologies.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level.
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program.
  • You must have programming experience (any language).
  • You must have good language skills in English, oral and written.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Phd candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant 

Preferred selection criteria

  • A master thesis in the area relevant for the position.
  • Documented research and/or publications in the area relevant for the position.
  • Programming skills in Mobile, Web or Blockchain development.
  • Relevant industrial or hands-on experience is a plus.

Personal characteristics

  • Analytical skills who like to understand theories and map to real life scenarios.
  • Hands-on attitude who likes write code and produce usable software.
  • Good communication and collaboration skills and likes to work in a team.
  • Proactive and self-driven.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 4 years (including 1 year of teaching duties).

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Computer Science within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. 

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU.

After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English (or Norwegian).

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates, and diplomas.
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted or planned to be completed within 3 months.
  • A copy of the master's thesis. In alternative, if not yet completed, an extended abstract combined with a statement of how and when the applicant plans to complete the thesis.  Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Project proposal or motivational description or research plan of 3-5 pages, including
    • A short presentation of the motivation for applying to this position.
    • How the candidate sees their background as suitable.
    • Theoretical and methodological knowledge about the research area. A sketch of important research problems and questions.
  • Name and address of three referees.
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work.

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor Surya Kathayat, telephone +4746392873, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 30.04.23


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.

Department of Computer Science 

We are the leading academic IT environment in Norway, and offer a wide range of theoretical and applied IT programmes of study at all levels. Our subject areas include hardware, algorithms, visual computing, AI, databases, software engineering, information systems, learning technology, HCI, CSCW, IT operations and applied data processing. The Department has groups in both Trondheim and Gjøvik. The Department of Computer Science is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering .

Deadline 30th April 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service NTNU Trondheim

Similar jobs

Similar jobs