PhD in Differential Privacy

Trondheim, Norway
24 May 2018
End of advertisement period
15 Jul 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

NTNUs Department of Information Security and Communication Technology (  invites applications for a fully funded Ph.D. position in Differential Privacy with a duration of 4 years with 25% teaching duties.

About the Department

The Department of Information Security and Communication Technology has 33 permanent scientific staff members, and in total approximately 80 employees. 50 persons work at NTNUs campus in Gjøvik and 30 at NTNUs campus in Trondheim. IIK carries out internationally competitive research organized in seven cross-disciplinary labs covering the academic areas of Internet of Things (IoT), Applied Cryptology, Intelligent Transport Systems, Quantifiable Performance and Dependability of Communication Systems, Biometry, Digital Forensics, and Information Security. The department provides teaching in BSc in IT Operations and Information Security, MSc programs in Communication technology and Information Security, and PhD programs in Telematics and Information Security. The department hosts and operates NTNUs Center for Cyber and Information Security, a public-private partnership with 25 members.

Work description

The appointment is for a term of 4 years with 25% teaching duties. This is a researcher training position aimed at providing promising researcher recruits the opportunity of academic development in the form of a doctoral degree.

Data on individuals represents enormous values, both for corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Acxiom, and for public sector activities such as health research. At the same time, we are dependent on protecting individual privacy which puts constraints on the collection and use of data about individuals. With the rapid increase of information collected about us all, a significant challenge lies in balancing information needs with privacy needs. Disclosure control is the control of inferences enabled by access to information and is essential for privacy when information is published. Differential privacy is becoming the de-facto standard definition of disclosure control with adoptions by, among others, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and the US Census bureau. The reasons for its popularity include sound theoretical foundations, and the ability to quantify disclosure risk in a manner that allows tracking its inevitable rise as information computed from data is published. An important aspect of research into differential privacy is optimizing the privacy and utility trade-off, generally requiring tools from statistics and theoretical computer science.

The researcher will work on designing differentially private mechanisms for data access. 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.


  • A master's degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics, or a related area with very good results is required - average grade B or better.  
  • As the research topic rests heavily on quantitative analysis, design of algorithms, and proofs of algorithm properties, advanced classes in relevant topics are advantageous. Most importantly, the successful candidate has a strong interest in exploring theoretical aspects of privacy preserving computations.
  • A strong background in at least one of the domains highlighted above and should have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • High motivation for research work and ability to work independently
  • Good organization and communication skills with interest in wider context of own research and ability to engage in cross-disciplinary teams.
  • Eager to disseminate research results through publications and presentations at international conferences.  
  • Written and oral fluency in English.

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 follows code 1017 Research fellow, salary grade 50-62 in the Norwegian State salary scale, gross 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. We encourage especially women to apply.

The appointment is subject to the conditions in effect at any time for employees in the public sector.


The position is in code 1017, salary grade 50 in the Norwegian Government salary scale, gross NOK 436. 900 per year, before tax. A deduction of 2% is made as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. The national labor force must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent. NTNU wants to increase the proportion of women in its scientific posts.

Living and working in Gjøvik:

Suggested links to information about Gjøvik and the region.

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

To apply

Applications will be processed through the university online application system that will direct you to The application must include:

  • Statement of interest (less than 500 words).
  • Curriculum vitae including a list of publication and the names and contact information of 2 references.
  • Copies of academic certificates and transcripts. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly 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.
  • A brief research proposal addressing the topic of the research project (1000-1500 words)  detailing research interests and initial plans with regard to the above research description. The statement should also describe why the applicant is suited for the position, and how the project relates to previous education, research and competence.
  • English proficiency results if applicable.
  • Publications and other work that the applicant wishes to be taken into account must be enclosed (including a brief description of the contribution if not obvious).

All this must be sent electronically via with information about education and relevant experience (all in one combined PDF file).

Mark the application IE-116/18

Incomplete applications will be rejected.

For further information about the position, please contact Professor Staal A. Vinterbo (

Deadline for applications: 15.07.2018

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.

About this job

  • Deadline Sunday, July 15, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Gjøvik
  • Place of service Gjøvik
  • Jobbnorge ID 153336
  • Internal ID 2018/14451
  • 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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