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Research Assistant / Associate in Cybersecurity and Privacy

Requisition ID:  12167

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  29-Sep-2021


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: Research Assistant £28,756 to £30,497 per annum

            Research Associate £31,406 to £40,927 per annum

Closing Date: 27 October 2021


The Role


This exciting Research Assistant/opening is looking for a Usable Security and Privacy expert to work as a part of a highly interdisciplinary recently awarded PETRAS grant on “Cyber Security and Privacy in Fertility Technologies (CyFer)”. You will become a member of the SRS Research Group and work under the direction of Dr. Maryam Mehrnezhad, Newcastle University, and Dr. Ehsan Toreini, Durham University.


You will have responsibility for carrying out research on security, privacy, trust and bias around female-oriented technologies (Femtech). You will be working with our industrial partners, and contribute to the design of the next generation security and privacy solutions for fertility technologies. 


This will involve working with cybersecurity experts, social scientists, as well as communicating with industrial partners and end-users. Your goal is to:

  • Evaluate security and privacy of Fertility technologies via various methods such as dynamic and static analysis, traffic analysis, and real-world tracking practices of such technologies.
  • Investigate user perception and practice via large-scale online user studies as well as in person semi-structured interviews and focus-group workshops.
  • Study sociotechnical bias and trust in data, algorithms and AI systems via evaluating the current practices against the trust frameworks proposed by research through both system and user studies.


We are seeking a highly motivated individual who has demonstrable communication skills, who is a consummate team-player and has previous exposure and thus the ability to produce high quality outputs under the direction of the Principal Investigator (PI). 


This position is available on a full time, fixed term basis, to start immediately and is tenable for 18 months from start date. To apply, please complete an online application and upload a plain text copy of your CV and covering letter only. In your covering letter, you should evidence how you meet or exceed the essential and desirable requirements for the role. Please note, any other ‘Additional Document’ you upload may not be received by the reviewing panel.


For more information about the project, contact Dr. Maryam Mehrnezhad, Research Fellow, School of computing via email: Maryam.mehrnezhad@ncl.ac.uk.


For more information about the School of Computing and our research, please click here.


For more information on our State-of-the-art Urban Science Building, please click here.


Key Accountabilities


  • Evaluate security and privacy of fertility technologies such as apps and IoT devices
  • Investigate user perception and practice via user studies
  • Study socio-technical bias/trust in data, algorithms and AI systems via system and user studies
  • Communicate with team members, industrial partners, and policy makers in order to conduct inter/multi-disciplinary research
  • Lead and contribute to writing scientific papers and project reports
  • Present at scientific meetings, workshops, conferences as well as business & consortium meetings


Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Demonstrable experience in conducting research in usable security and privacy
  • Demonstrable experience with security and privacy evaluation of apps and IoT devices
  • Demonstrable experience in conducting user studies (online, interviews, workshops)
  • Demonstrable experience in machine learning applications and AI systems in modern technologies for example smart IoT devices
  • Demonstrable experience with marginalised user groups in cybersecurity and privacy (and more broadly computing)
  • Exposure to, or experienced of publishing work in peer-reviewed journals
  • Demonstrable experience working with scientists, users, industrial partners, and policymakers across different discipline (Desirable)
  • Demonstrable experience with Femtech, ML and AI used in such technologies, and their privacy, security and bias issues in the data and algorithms (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour


  • Excellent communication skills both oral and written (e.g. experiment documentation, technical reports, papers, presentations, pitches, etc)
  • Capacity for original thought and independent action
  • Enthusiastic, hardworking and goal-setter
  • Ability to interact with people from different disciplines and sectors (academia and industry)
  • Punctual and generally dependable
  • Candidates must be able to spend time away from Newcastle attending business meetings outside Newcastle, including international conferences and industrial partners
  • Demonstrable experience of working in a multidisciplinary team environment and actively supporting the development of a collaborative research culture
  • Professional approach with a commitment to equality, diversity, dignity and respect in the workplace
  • The ability to communicate with external stakeholders including the general public as representative of the research group and on the subject of science (Desirable)
  • The ability to make management decisions under the direction of the PI (Desirable)
  • High-level analytical skills (Desirable)




  • PhD awarded (or near the completion) in computing science, engineering or a very closely related discipline



Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all.  You can learn more about what is available here on our Benefits Website page.

Requisition ID: 12167