PhD Position in AI-powered Security

VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science

PHD position in AI-powered Security with ABN-AMRO

Recently, many people have been studying how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deep learning can be used to secure complex IT systems. This is considered a very promising and impactful research area given the recent breakthroughs of AI and the importance of security in our networks. Do you want to join this group and advance the state of the art in this field? Then, the Computer System Group of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( has a vacancy for a PhD project to study how AI can be exploited to enhance the security of systems through advanced program analysis.


FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Program analysis is an umbrella term that encompasses numerous techniques that range from binary testing (e.g., fuzzing, taint analysis) to the analysis of source code. The goal is not only to detect bugs and other threats, but also to perform operations such as code similarity or automatic code generation. Therefore, the impact does not limit to security but it also extends to other fields like data science, programming languages, and fundamental AI.

The position is generously funded by a grant of ABN AMRO – one of the leading financial institutions in the Netherlands and Europe. The PhD student will be supervised by faculty members of the Computer Systems Group (in particular from the AI and VUSEC subsections) and by dr. Martijn Dekker, Chief Security Information Officer at ABN AMRO and visiting professor at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. The joint co-supervision makes this vacancy a rather unique opportunity to perform fundamental research at the highest possible level with a direct link to leading industry.


We are looking for PhD candidates who have an outstanding education that is roughly equivalent to a MSc in Computer Science, AI, or other related topics with a proven interest in any of the above areas. We accept applications from students who do not have yet completed their master thesis but plan to do so within a few months.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus 
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until March 30, 2021. 

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: dr.Jacopo Urbani
Position: Assistent Professor

No agencies