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PhD in Securing Systems Software

Applications are now open for an exciting PhD position in software systems and security at the IMDEA Software Institute, located in Madrid, Spain.

Under the guidance of Dr. Georgios Portokalidis, selected candidates will embark on a journey to enhance the security of systems software operating in user or kernel space. The research areas will encompass developing robust techniques to fortify software against vulnerabilities, isolating software components for enhanced security, crafting hardware accelerators using FPGAs for security applications, and refining methods to transform insecure code into secure code, possibly employing machine learning or AI. Candidates may delve into binary software or source code leveraging compiler toolchains such as Clang/LLVM.

Who should apply?

We are seeking candidates who have completed (or are in their final year of) a Master’s degree in Computer Science or a related discipline, demonstrating a deep commitment to research, a fervent interest in software engineering and computer security, proficiency in coding, and some prior experience and enthusiasm in at least one of the aforementioned areas.

Applicants must possess strong programming and tool-building skills, with a proven track record of developing software in C/C++, a solid understanding of software exploitation, proficiency in operating systems fundamentals, Linux familiarity, and a basic grasp of computer architectures like x86-64 and Aarch64. Proficiency in English, both spoken and written, is essential.

Working at IMDEA Software Institute

Ranked among Europe’s top research institutes in Computer Security, the IMDEA Software Institute offers a dynamic and inspiring research environment nestled within the Montegancedo Science and Technology Park. Set against the backdrop of Madrid’s vibrant cityscape, the institute provides an internationally competitive stipend, access to excellent public healthcare, unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, and support for research-related travel. English is the primary working language, and knowledge of Spanish is not required.


The position will span the entire duration of the doctoral studies, with an ideal start date of September 2024, offering some flexibility to accommodate individual circumstances.

The application deadline is May 31st, 2024. Review of applications will commence immediately and continue until the position(s) are filled.

How to apply?

Applicants interested in the position should submit their application at by selecting the option PhD Student and using reference code 2024-03-phd-syssec.

The recruitment process will comply with the IMDEA Software Institute’s OTM-R Policy.

For any inquiries regarding these positions, please reach out directly to Georgios Portokalidis ().