Universiteit van Amsterdam

PhD candidate in Quantum Cryptanalysis

Deadline: Sunday 15 July 2018
20 juni 2018
Master's degree
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
15 juli 2018
38 hours per week

QuSoft is the new Dutch research centre for quantum software. Its mission is to develop new protocols, algorithms and applications that can be run on small and medium-sized prototypes of a quantum computer. The main focus of researchers at QuSoft is on the development of quantum software, which requires fundamentally different techniques and approaches from conventional software. QuSoft was launched by CWI, UvA and VU in December 2015 and builds on the institutions’ excellent track record in quantum computing and quantum information.

The Quantum Software Consortium (QSC ) is a 10-year programme in the framework of the NWO Gravitation programme. It is a multidisciplinary group of researchers from Amsterdam, Leiden and Delft, with backgrounds in computer science, mathematics, engineering and physics. QSC includes pioneers of quantum information processing algorithms and protocols, condensed matter theory, cryptography as well as experimental physics. The QSC will leverage the nearby clusters of expertise in quantum software (QuSoft, QuTech & Leiden) and quantum hardware (QuTech, Amsterdam & Leiden) to promote a quantum software revolution and provide the Netherlands with broad leadership in the quantum era.

Project and job description

The Institute for Logic, Language & Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam is looking for a PhD candidate in the area of post-quantum cryptography.

The aim of the PhD project is to carry out quantum cryptanalysis of the most promising schemes in the NIST competition for post-quantum cryptography. The objective ranges from identifying potential vulnerabilities in the design to possibly discovering complete breaks, but also considers the question of finding the right choice of parameters for schemes that (seem to) withstand quantum attacks.

Supervision will be shared between QuSoft and Mathematisch Instituut (MI) Leiden, with Christian Schaffner (University of Amsterdam / QuSoft) and Peter Stevenhagen (MI Leiden) as main supervisors and Serge Fehr (CWI/QuSoft) and Peter Bruin (MI Leiden) as co-supervisors. Additionally, collaboration with Leo Ducas (CWI) and Stacey Jeffery (CWI/QuSoft) and Marco Streng (MI Leiden) is anticipated.

You will be expected to contribute to the QuSoft research agenda. Specifically, you will be asked to perform the following tasks:  

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years; 

  • regularly present intermediate research results at international workshops and conferences and publish them in proceedings and journals; 

  • participate in the organisation of research activities and events at ILLC and QuSoft, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications; 

  • contribute to the UvA’s educational programme by working as a teaching assistant for a course in the area of your expertise and/or by assisting with the supervision of student research projects. ​


You should hold a Master's degree (or expect to obtain this by the end of the academic year 2017/18) with excellent grades in computer science, mathematics or physics with outstanding results or a comparable degree.

Furthermore you should also possess:

  • preferably, a strong background in cryptography, quantum algorithms and/or mathematics (relevant to post-quantum cryptography);
  • demonstrated research abilities, e.g. by completion of an (undergraduate) research project;
  • good academic writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organisational skills;
  • full professional proficiency in spoken and written English.

Further information

Should you have specific questions regarding this position or the application procedure, you are very welcome to contact:


You will be employed by the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam on a fixed-term full-time position (38 hours per week).

Your appointment is intended to be for a period of four years. The initial contract will be for 18 months. This will be extended with a further 30 months after a positive evaluation. we will draw up an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings.

Your gross monthly salary amounts to €2,222 during the first year, rising to €2,840 during the fourth year, and will be supplemented with an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities applies.

Preferred starting date 1 September 2018.

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Your application should include the following information(in one single PDF file (not zipped), your surname as the file name):

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation (at most 1 page) explaining why you are interested in this position;
  • a list of all university courses taken, including a transcript of grades;
  • a report from an undergraduate research project you have done;
  • the name and contact details (including email address) of two – three referees who can provide details about your profile (one of whom should be the main supervisor of your Master thesis).

You should submit your application no later than 15 July 2018 via the link below. Please use vacancy number 18-371 in any correspondence about your application. The committee does not guarantee that late or incomplete applications will be considered.

Please note that you may also apply even if you have not yet completed your Master’s degree. #LI-DNP