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KTP Research Associate in Cybersecurity of the Kubernetes Platform

Employer
KINGS COLLEGE LONDON
Location
London (Central), London (Greater)
Salary
£43,205 to £47,978 inclusive of London Weighting Allowance
Closing date
19 May 2024

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Job Details

The Department of Informatics is looking to appoint a highly motivated Postdoctoral Researcher to join our team for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, jointly funded by Innovate UK, ControlPlane and King’s College London. In this exciting role, you will bridge the gap between academia and industry, applying formal methods to real-world security challenges in the Cloud Native space: you will be working on KubeSec-AFM, a prototype to formally assess the security posture of Kubernetes clusters.

Kubernetes is a Cloud Native technology that is changing the way software applications are deployed and run in Cloud by providing automated deployment, scaling and management capabilities. Therefore, ensuring its security is critical. Existing methods to ensure Kubernetes’ security rely on maintaining databases of human expertise, cyber-attacks, and platform misconfigurations. However, it is currently impossible to compile a complete list of potential risks to guarantee that teams can securely use Kubernetes. This may leave critical Cloud infrastructure exposed. The main aim of this job is to use formal methods to assess Kubernetes security and enable companies to optimise cost and risk and ensure the security of critical cloud infrastructure.

The key objectives are: (i) develop a formal mathematical approach to ensure Kubernetes security, (ii) build a prototype to assess live deployments and determine state of insecurity / misconfigurations, (iii) produce a technology-maturation roadmap to transform this prototype into a commercial product.

The successful candidate will report to the Business Partner Supervisor, Francesco Beltramini (Head of Technical Solutions), and will work closely with Prof. Luca Viganò and Dr. Fabio Pierazzi from the Department of Informatics at King’s College London, who provide support and guidance.

ControlPlane is a Cloud Native and Open Source cybersecurity consultancy with industry-leading expertise in securing cloud infrastructure for regulated industries.  ControlPlane excels in securing Kubernetes and Cloud Native stacks for numerous customers (international banks, UK and Scottish Government - including Innovate UK, Critical National Infrastructure, and other major cloud providers).

The staff and students of the Department of Informatics come from all over the world and the department is proud of its friendly and inclusive culture. For further information about the Department of Informatics at King’s, please see  https://nms.kcl.ac.uk/luc.moreau/informatics/overview.pdf. The successful candidate will be a member of the Cybersecurity Group and of the Security Hub, please see  https://www.kcl.ac.uk/research/cys and  https://www.kcl.ac.uk/research/security-informatics.

See below for more information about this job.

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until June 2026.

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent.

Key responsibilities

The successful candidate is expected to: 

  • Lead the collaboration between academia and the industry partner to understand business needs, challenges and the mission for the KTP initiative. 
  • Apply formal methods, including model checking and theorem proving, to solve complex problems. 
  • Develop and maintain software tools, predominantly using Python or Go, to support research objectives. 
  • Translate research findings into practical solutions that drive innovation and business growth. 
  • Foster a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration between academia and industry. 
  • Maintain an outstanding track record of published research at a level of international excellence. 
  • Lead the collaboration between academia and the industry partner to understand business needs, challenges and the mission for the KTP initiative. 

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

  1. Ph.D. in Computer Science or a related field.
  2. Solid knowledge in cybersecurity, formal methods, computer science.
  3. Knowledge in CloudNative technologies. 
  4. Proficiency in Python or Go and the ability to develop software tools.
  5. Enthusiasm to work collaboratively with colleagues in academia and industry

Desirable criteria

  1. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  2. Willingness to travel to attend conferences to present project results. 
  3. Solid publication record in high-quality journals and/or conference proceedings.
  4. Business acumen or the willingness to develop a business mindset.

Further Information

This exciting opportunity combines academic and industrial research, and thus provides an optimal springboard for any chosen career. To support that, the position includes several opportunities (and budget and time) for the associate’s training and development, including small projects, development courses and world-wide renowned conferences.

The selection process will include a technical task, a presentation and a panel interview that will take place online. A final interview will be required with the Business Partner to ensure alignment with the company core values. Initial interviews are scheduled to be held in May 2024. Scheduling will be confirmed once shortlisting has taken place. 

Company

King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 27,600 students (of whom nearly 10,500 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 6,800 staff.

King's has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King’s was ranked 6th nationally in the ‘power’ ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings. Eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*). The university is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of more than £684 million.

King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.

King’s £600 million campaign, World questions|KING’s answers, has delivered huge global impact in areas where King’s has particular expertise. Philanthropic support has funded new research to save young lives at Evelina London Children’s Hospital; established the King’s Dickson Poon School of Law as a worldwide leader in transnational law; built a new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital; allowed unique collaboration between leading neuroscientists to fast-track new treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, depression and schizophrenia at the new Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute; created the Cicely Saunders Institute: the first academic institution in the world dedicated to palliative care, and supported the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership in the Ebola crisis. Donations provide over 300 of the most promising students with scholarships and bursaries each year. More information about the campaign is available at www.kcl.ac.uk/kingsanswers.

Company info
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KINGS COLLEGE LONDON
Telephone
+(44)02078365454
Location
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LONDON
WC2R 2LS
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