PhD Position in Rights and Identity on Blockchains

Trondheim, Norway
19 Apr 2018
End of advertisement period
27 May 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a vacancy for a 100% position as a PhD research fellowship position affiliated with the Department of Computer Science (IDI) at Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE).

This position is one of 6 positions within the project Trust and Transparecy in Digital Society Through Blockchain Technology, see, and

Information about the department

The Department of Computer Science (IDI) is one of the largest departments of NTNU, and consists of approximately 200 employees in our academic, technical, and administrative staff. The Department of Computer Science (IDI) conducts research in the fields of: artificial intelligence (AI), big data, computer architecture, computer graphics, computer security, databases, human computer interaction (HCI), information systems, operating systems, software engineering, and search – to mention but a few. It has three main research labs: Computing (COMP), Data and Artificial Intelligence (DART), and Information Systems and Software Engineering (ISSE). It has 12 ongoing EU and EEA research projects, with international stakeholders as well as 20 national projects.

Work description

This is a researcher training position aimed at providing promising researcher recruits the opportunity of academic development in the form of a doctoral degree.

Rights and identity management play a central role in many application domains that utilise blockchain technology. It is central in Personal Data Management, Electronic Health records, or systems that interact with any public institution. The ideal solution will leverage trust inherent in blockchain to the application layer. Blockchains provide a promising operational environment for the trend of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI), characterised by transformation from a non-user controlled centralised model to a fully user-controlled decentralised model. Self-sovereign identity management SSI enables principals to prove validity of identities on the attribute level across identity issuers with little or no involvement from identity authorities, which provides a promising rights and identity proving methodology for applications deployed on blockchain.

The main objectives of this PhD study are focused on research and development in the following areas: (1) efficient and robust rights management with consensus across identity authorities and service providers, e.g., by exploiting the functionality of smart contracts; (2) methods for privacy-preserving proof of rights and identity attributes, e.g., by secure multi-party computation, homomorphic encryption, and zero-knowledge proofs; and (3) in-depth understanding of the real-life scenarios providing technical solutions to managing the trust links between off-chain and on-chain assets, with identities in various application scenarios.

The research will be carried out within a program of 6 PhD projects under the heading of Trust and Transparency in Digital Society Through Blockchain Technology. This multi-disciplinary program includes technological aspects (cryptographic mechanisms, networking requirements, identity management), societal aspects and application areas. The program team involves 12 professors across several different departments and faculties. It is expected that the PhD fellow for this project will collaborate actively with other PhD fellows involved in the overall program and contribute to plenary meetings of the program. This program forms part of NTNU's Digital Transformation initiative.

The appointment is for a term of 3 years without teaching assistance, or up to 4 years including 25% of teaching assistance.


We seek a highly-motivated individual holding a master’s degree in computer science, cryptography, identity management, applied mathematics, or communication and information technology. The average grade must be B or better.

Candidates completing their MSc-degree in the Spring 2018 are encouraged to apply. The position is also open for integrated PhD for NTNU students starting their final year of their master degree in Autumn 2018, see for information about integrated PhD. 

A strong background in a research-oriented master thesis within computer science is expected. Further, the applicants must have experience with computer programming. Prior knowledge of blockchain and related technologies, applied mathematics or identity management would be an advantage.  

Publication activities in the aforementioned disciplines will be considered an advantage. Motivation for fundamental scientific research of practical relevance is essential.  

The applicant should have good communication skills and be willing to collaborate with other researchers in the cross-disciplinary group of people connected to this project.  

The appointment is for a term of 3 years without teaching assistance, or up to 4 years including 25% teaching assistance. 

See here for regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts:

Language requirements

The main working languages are Norwegian and English. As the informants are mostly Norwegian, skills in a Scandinavian Language is desired, but not required.

Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. The following tests can be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

Formal regulations

Appointments are made in accordance with the regulations in force regarding terms of employment for PhD candidates issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, with relevant parts of the additional guidelines for appointment as a PhD candidate at NTNU. Applicants must undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme of study during their period of employment. The person who is appointed must comply with the conditions that apply at any time to employees in the public sector. In addition, a contract will be signed regarding the period of employment.

Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU. See for information about PhD studies at NTNU. Together with the application, include a description of the research work that is planned for completion during the period of the grant.

Salary conditions

The position is in code 1017 Research fellow, and is remunerated at a gross NOK 436.900 – 537.700 per year, depending on qualifications. A deduction of 2% is made as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.


We can offer

  • an informal and friendly workplace with dedicated colleagues
  • academic challenges
  • attractive schemes for housing loan, insurance and pension in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering wants to attract outstanding and creative candidates who can contribute to our ongoing research activities. We believe that diversity is important to achieve a good, inclusive working environment. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of the gender, disability or cultural background.

The appointment is subject to the conditions in effect at any time for employees in the public sector, and assessments regarding the legislations regulating export control and knowledge transfer.

Under Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act, information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have his or her name entered on the list of applicants.

For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Mariusz Nowostawski (

The application

The application must be sent electronically through this page ( with information about education and relevant experience (all in one combined PDF file). Mark the application with the IE code given below.

The application must contain:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about the candidate’s prior training, exams, and work experience
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree
  • Research statement (max. 3 pages) including
    * A short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study
    * How the applicant sees his/her background suitable,
    * The applicant’s view of research challenges within the area of the PhD position
  • How the competence of the applicant can contribute to solving these challenges
  • Names and contact information of at least 2 reference persons
  • A copy of the master thesis (in PDF), or, for those who are near to completion of their MSc, an extended abstract combined with a statement of how and when the applicant plans to complete the thesis.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Signing of the employment contract should happen within October 1, 2018.

More information regarding moving to Trondheim, Norway, and working at NTNU:

Application deadline is May 27, 2018

Mark the application: IE-082-2018

About this job

  • Deadline Sunday, May 27, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Place of service Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 151331
  • Internal ID 2018/10942
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Temporary

About applications

  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Standard CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

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