Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 March 2025.

A Research Assistant/Associate position is available in the Department of Computer Science and Technology to work on the EPSRC-funded Adaptive PETs to Protect & emPower People during Life Transitions (AP4L) project. We are looking to appoint a computer scientist reporting to Dr Alice Hutchings. The project is being undertaken with the Universities of Surrey, Queen Mary, Strathclyde, Edge Hill, and Edinburgh.

AP4L is a program of interdisciplinary research, centring on the online privacy & vulnerability challenges that people face when going through major life transitions. The four transitions we are considering in the scope of this project are relationship breakdowns; LBGT+ transitions or transitioning gender; entering/ leaving employment in the Armed Forces; and developing a serious illness or becoming terminally ill. Our central goal is to develop privacy-by-design technologies to protect & empower people during these transitions.

We are looking for a researcher with experience in quantitative data analysis, threat assessment, data science, machine learning and/or natural language processing, as well as excellent programming and technical writing skills. Expertise in cybercrime or privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) research is desirable, but not essential. Successful applicants will review the relevant literature, design research projects, develop tools, collect and analyse data, and write research outputs.

The role will analyse life transitions from the attacker’s perspective, such as how and where they gather information about their victims. This will require the analysis of cybercrime forums and similar data at scale. Furthermore, the tools we develop are designed for an adversarial context. Adversaries include those known to individuals, such as interfamilial abuse, as well as targeted and indiscriminate attacks. The researcher will also undertake a rigorous threat analysis for each of the tools developed within the overall project.

To be appointed at the Research Associate level candidates should hold a PhD or have significant relevant experience. Suitably experienced candidates with an MSc will be considered for appointment on the Research Assistant scale. Exceptionally, candidates with other relevant qualifications and experience may also be considered. The position includes membership of the USS career-average pension scheme, paid teaching opportunities, and the potential to undertake private consulting work.

Good knowledge of English and communication skills are important.

We expect to notify those shortlisted for interview in January and conduct interviews shortly thereafter.

The expectation is that the successful candidate will start work on or shortly after 1 April 2023.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Alice Hutchings ().

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.