Institute Mission

The Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy was founded in May 2019. The institute’s mission is to study and develop the technical foundations and interdisciplinary aspects of cybersecurity and privacy. The institute seeks impact through publications, artifacts, and personnel, and serves as a center of excellence for basic research and for the training of the next generation of scientific leaders in cybersecurity and privacy.

More specifically, the vision of the institute is to:

  • pursue cutting-edge research in all aspects related to security and privacy. It aims to cover both theoretical and empirical research in technical aspects of security and privacy as well as interdisciplinary research in areas such as social science, economics, and law;
  • attract some of the best talent internationally and provide them with excellent resources and an environment that encourages collaboration and out-of-box thinking. The institute offers attractive tenure-track and tenured faculty positions;
  • train young scientists who combine excellence in their chosen specialty with a broad perspective on security and privacy and the ability to communicate their results effectively to a wide audience. The institute offers attractive postdoctoral and doctoral positions, and internships.

The institute is located in Bochum, in the the Ruhr Area. The area is Germany’s largest academic hub, and an epicenter of innovation in the security and privacy landscape.


Gilles Barthe

Founding Director

Gilles Barthe's research interests lie in the areas of programming languages and program verification, software and system security, cryptography, formal methods and logic. His goal is to develop foundations and tools for reasoning about security and privacy properties of algorithms and implementations. His recent work focuses on building relational verification methods for probabilistic programs and on their applications in cryptography and privacy. He is also interested in provably secure countermeasures against side-channel attacks. He received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Manchester, UK, in 1993, and a Habilitation in Computer Science from the University of Nice, France, in 2004. He has served as PC (co-)chair of several conferences including VMCAI, and ESOP and been a PC member of numerous conferences, including CCS, CRYPTO, CSF, EUROCRYPT, ESORICS, FM, ICALP, LICS, POPL, and S&P. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Automated Reasoning, of the Journal of Computer Security, and of Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing.

Asia Biega

Tenure-Track Faculty

Asia J. Biega will be joining MPI-SP as a tenure-track faculty in early 2021 after finishing her stint as a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research Montréal in the Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics in AI (FATE) Group. Through interdisciplinary collaborations, she designs ethically, socially, and legally responsible information and social computing systems and studies how they interact with and influence their users. Before joining Microsoft Research, she completed her PhD summa cum laude at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Saarland University. Her doctoral work focused on the issues of privacy and fairness in search systems. She has published her work in leading information retrieval, Web, and data mining venues, and has been serving on the program committees of conferences such as SIGIR, WSDM, KDD, or FAT*/FAccT. Beyond academia, her perspectives and methodological approaches are informed by an industrial experience, including work on privacy infrastructure at Google and consulting for Microsoft product teams on issues related to FATE and privacy.

Cătălin Hrițcu

Tenured Faculty

Cătălin Hrițcu is head of the Formally Verified Security group at MPI-SP. He is particularly interested in formal methods for security (secure compilation, compartmentalization, memory safety, security protocols, information flow), programming languages (program verification, proof assistants, dependent types, formal semantics, mechanized metatheory, property-based testing), and the design and verification of security-critical systems (reference monitors, secure compilation chains, tagged architectures). He was awarded an ERC Starting Grant on formally secure compilation, and is also actively involved in the design of the F* verification system. Catalin received a PhD from Saarland University, a Habilitation from ENS Paris, and was previously also a Tenured Researcher at Inria Paris, a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Pennsylvania, and a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond.

Giulio Malavolta

Tenure-Track Faculty

Giulio Malavolta will join MPI-SP as a tenure-track faculty in fall 2020. He is broadly interested in the theory of cryptography and its connections with quantum computation, concurrent systems, cryptocurrencies, and game theory. His recent work focuses on constructing cryptographic schemes with advanced functionalities and finding new applications to real-life systems.

Giulio is currently a postdoc with a joint appointment at UC Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University. In fall 2019, he was a research fellow at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. He completed his Ph.D. in 2019 at Friedrich-Alexander University.

Christof Paar

Founding Director

Christof Paar is a scientific director at the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy, Bochum, Germany, and affiliated professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research lies in the area of embedded security. His group is currently working on hardware Trojans, technical and cognitive aspects of (hardware) reverse engineering, physical layer security and the security of cyber-physical systems. He is one of the spokespersons of the Excellence Cluster CASA - Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries.

Prior to joining the MPI, Christof was with the Ruhr University Bochum (2001-2019) and WPI in Massachusetts (1995-2001). He spent the academic years 2008/09 and 2014 - 2016 as a research professor at UMass Amherst. He received a Ph.D. in engineering from the Institute for Experimental Mathematics at the University of Essen in 1994.


Tenure-Track Faculty Positions

Our institute has a call for tenure-track faculty positions each fall, together with the other Computer Science MPIs. To receive full consideration, applications should be received by mid-December.

Junior Research Group Leader positions

Our Junior Research Group program offers starting scientists the opportunity to develop their own independent research program. We welcome applicants whose work covers aspects of security and privacy irrespective of field. The vision of MPI-SP is to grow into an interdisciplinary institute contributing to the broader landscape of Computer Science research at the Max Planck Society, while also being a home to academics working at the intersection with social science, economics, law, humanities, and more. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, foundations, cryptography, software and hardware security, AI safety and adversarial machine learning, as well as various interdisciplinary aspects of security and privacy (such as usable security and privacy, psychology and economics of security and privacy, societal impact of information technology, AI fairness and ethics, public policy, legal compliance, etc).

The positions are funded for 5 years. We offer a competitive salary, base funding for your new research group (covering 1 Ph.D. student position, several M.Sc. students, travel, and other operating costs), as well as administrative and technical support. The positions come with no teaching obligations, although teaching opportunities exist. As an employee in Germany you will enjoy great working conditions, including 30 paid vacation days per year and considerable family support.

Applicants must have completed a doctoral degree in any field or area broadly relevant to security and privacy and must have demonstrated outstanding research vision, and potential to successfully lead a research group. Successful candidates are expected to build a highly visible research agenda, to mentor Ph.D. students, and to participate in collaborative projects.

The Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy is located in Bochum, Germany. We maintain an open, international, and diverse work environment and seek applications from outstanding researchers regardless of national origin. Our working language is English. We collaborate with several major research institutions worldwide and have high international visibility.

The Max Planck Society wishes to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented. Women are therefore explicitly encouraged to apply. The Max Planck Society is also committed to increasing the number of employees with severe disabilities in its workforce. Applications from persons with severe disabilities are expressly desired. We also encourage applications from members of any other underrepresented group.

Please apply at To receive full consideration, applications should be received by 14 June 2020.

You need to upload your CV, a research statement, an optional teaching statement, and 3-5 references. Reviewing of applications will start immediately and will continue until the positions are filled. The expected starting date for the positions is Fall 2020, open to negotiations. Important questions can be addressed to