PhD in Philosophy and Ethics of Quantum-Safe Technology
Do you enjoy working in an interdisciplinary research setting on intellectually challenging and societally relevant questions? The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation is looking for an ambitious PhD candidate. Your research is part of the NWO-funded research project ‘Quantum Impact on Societal Security’.
As the potential risks and consequences of cybersecurity breaches by future quantum computers are devastating, there is an urgent need to prepare for a transition to quantum-safe cryptography (QSC). Addressing the many complexities of this transition requires a multidisciplinary collaboration of academic experts, financial and governmental institutions, and civil society groups. The ‘Quantum Impact on Societal Security’ (QISS) consortium will analyse the ethical, legal and societal impact of this upcoming society-wide transition. QISS’s objective is to contribute to the creation of a Dutch ecosystem where quantum-safe cryptography can thrive, and mobilize this ecosystem to align technological applications with ethical, legal, and social values.
QISS is a project led by the University of Amsterdam and carried out together with QuSoft, Fontys University of Applied Sciences and other academic, governmental, financial, and societal partners. The project leader is Dr. Sebastian De Haro and the co-PIs are Prof. Dr. Christian Schaffner, Prof. Dr. Sonja Smets, Mr. Ot van Daalen, Prof. Dr. Joris van Hoboken, Mr. Dr. Bart Wernaart, and Prof. Dr. Jeroen van Dongen.
QISS is funded by the National Science Agenda of NWO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Dutch Banking Association. You will be part of a new research group, hosted at the Amsterdam Science Park.
We specifically encourage women and other underrepresented groups to apply for this position.
What are you going to do
Your research will be on the ethical aspects of QSC and will in particular aim to contribute to align public values with innovations that are triggered by the transition to QSC. Your PhD will be supervised by experts at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation and the Institute of Physics, in collaboration with Fontys University of Applied Sciences. You will be an active member of the Dutch quantum community, and part of the Amsterdam quantum hub bringing together top scientists and scholars, engineers, students, and businesses. At QISS, you will work closely together with another PhD candidate, two postdocs, and the project’s (co-)PIs. You will work together with Fontys University of Applied Sciences, societal partners (ECP | InformatieSamenleving, Quantum Delta NL, Digital Power Datahub) and financial and governmental institutions.
Your specific tasks will include:
identifying the key features of the moral dilemmas of the QSC transition; designing and applying the required philosophical frameworks for the analysis of these dilemmas;
developing a conceptual model of the impact of QSC technologies on key public values, such as security, equality, inclusivity, privacy, transparency, explainability, reliability, and balance of power;
using art-based intervention methods embodied in a Moral Lab, you will help the team design and run simulations of future interactive scenarios that enable citizens and stakeholders to better understand a quantum-safe future;
writing academic publications in relevant peer-reviewed international journals;
presenting at international workshops and conferences;
facilitating societal dialogues through a Societal Incubator, you will help the team embed QSC technology within society and track societal embeddedness levels;
engaging in team-work and interdisciplinary collaboration.
PhD candidates furthermore are expected to contribute to the institute’s educational mission, e.g., by working as teaching assistants for courses in their area of expertise and by assisting with the supervision of student research projects.
What do you have to offer
Your experience and profile:
MSc in a relevant discipline, such as Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Technology, and related areas;
an excellent academic record;
good social and organisational skills;
interest in working in an interdisciplinary team that includes partners from academia, business, and government;
professional command of English.
PhD candidates have the opportunity to attend a Dutch course. While Dutch speaking skills are not strictly required for this position, it is a plus. Also minimal background knowledge in the foundations of quantum mechanics and/or (quantum) information theory is recommended.
A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is 1 November 2022. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.
The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,443 to € 3,122 (scale P). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.
The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.
The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a research institute at the UvA in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. Its central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, natural language processing, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, music cognition, and philosophy.
The Institute of Physics is situated in new, purpose-built laboratory and teaching space in the building of the Faculty of Science in the Science Park Amsterdam. This location also plays host to numerous national research institutes such as AMOLF (nanophotonics, biomolecular systems, photovoltaics), NIKHEF (Subatomic Physics) and CWI (mathematics and Computer Science), as well as ARCNL (Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography, which combines the leading Dutch tech firm ASML with both Amsterdam universities and AMOLF) and the Quantum Delta NL Ultracold Quantum Sensing Testbed.
Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.
Fontys University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest Dutch universities of applied sciences, with over 44,000 students, more than 4,500 employees, and campuses located primarily in the south of the Netherlands. Research conducted at Fontys is practice-based and innovative, carried out within professorships and research programmes with (European) grants. Fontys had a total of 45 professorships at the end of 2017.
Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:
If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 15 August 2022. The reviewing process will begin on 15 July 2022 and will continue until the position is filled.
Applications should include the following information (all files should be submitted in one single pdf file using the CV field, please do not submit a separate document with a cover letter):
a detailed curriculum vitae (CV) including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
a cover letter of at most two pages, in which you specify the motivation for your application;
a list of all Master-level courses you have taken, with an official transcript of grades;
a link to a writing sample available online, such as a Master’s thesis, a term paper, or a publication (in case of joint authorship, please clearly indicate your own contribution);
the names and email addresses of two or (at most) three people we can contact for letters of reference for you.
You can apply online via the link below.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for (online) interviews in August-September 2022.
The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.
If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.