Two PhD positions in blockchain technologies available with the group of Networks and Distributed systems at UiO

The group of Networks and Distributed systems at the Informatics Department, University of Oslo has two PhD positions in blockchain technologies. The positions are in the context of the newly funded project called SmartMed: Secure and accountable sharing of medical records using smart contracts and blockchain.

The deadline for applications is April 1, 2019.

The research will be done in collaboration with Cornell University, which is one of leading research centers in the world in the area of blockchain.

As part of strategic security research, blockchain engineering is a prioritized topic at the Department of Informatics. In particular, blockchain research is supported by the ConSeRNS initiative, which targets absolutely essential research challenges in security and robustness of ICT infrastructures. ConSeRNS is part of a national Center for Resilient Networks and Applications (CRNA), which spans Simula Research Laboratory, the University of Bergen as well as the University of Oslo.

SmartMed project summary

Increasing amounts of health data are recorded in health registries, with the strategic initiatives of data sharing and fusion across different registries in Norway. This forms an excellent opportunity for world-class medical research as few countries have such a high-quality infrastructure. However, it also constitutes a very high privacy risk should a security breach occur.

Publicized incidents of leaked medical records pose a major challenge for the digital trust in eHealth where storing, accessing and exchanging sensitive patient-related data must comply with several regulations, while remaining accessible to authorized health practitioners. Governmental legislations regarding data privacy, such as the EU's GDPR, present an additional source of concern for healthcare registries which are now faced with severe legal and financial consequences in case data confidentiality is breached.

Our principal approach is to facilitate solutions for health registries by using Smart Contracts and the emerging Blockchain Paradigm. From the data safety, authenticity, and nonrepudiation standpoint, blockchain is a perfect fit for sharing medical records since it provides an easily accessible, immutable, and transparent history of all contract-related data, adequate for building applications with trust and accountability. Use of smart contracts brings a number of additional advantages for sharing medical data by healthcare registries: consent management, fine-grain privacy control, transparency, and reduced bureaucracy and expenses.

SmartMed is proposed in cooperation with the Cancer Registry of Norway (CRN), which will validate technological advances. CRN presently contains health information on over 1,4 million cancer patients. Managing and using the data for medical research in a secure way as to minimize any privacy concerns is paramount. Improving privacy control and transparency will bolster public's trust in the use of CRN data for vital research on preventive medicine.

The first position is in distributed ledger technologies (DLT) while the second position is in application of smart contracts for health registries. We are seeking students who are interested in designing, developing, and evaluating techniques related to the above.

What we offer in a nutshell

Suitable Background and Requirements

Details about Employment

A PhD position is a regular job with social benefits and with a salary of 440.000-450.000 NOK per year.

The position is for three years with a possibility to apply for extending the time period to 4 years. A 4 year position means that 25% of the time will be for duties beyond the normal research and project work, such as teaching and supervision of master students.

Host Institution and Environment

The University of Oslo is Norway's largest and oldest institution of higher education. Founded in 1811, today the University of Oslo has approx. 30,000 students and 4,600 employees. Four Nobel Prize winners indicate the quality of the research at the University. The Department of Informatics has been a home to a number of world-renown scientists, such as Turing Award recipients Prof. Dahl and Prof. Nygaard.

The group of Networks and Distributed Systems offers a work environment that is well equipped with the newest hardware and software technology. The research group has tight bonds with Simula Research Laboratory. Furthermore, we have well established links to national and international research institutions. We conduct collaborative research projects that are funded by Norwegian research funds, and the European Community.

The country, also known for its unique scenic beauty, has been ranked by the UN as having the highest standard of living in the world. Oslo is considered one of the sunniest places in Northern Europe, with summer temperatures averaging 21 degrees Celsius.

Futher information can be found on this page.

How to Apply

The applications should be submitted through the application portal.

A full application should include

  1. Your cover letter listing
    • specific research interests
    • the position that you are interested in
    • reference number for the position you are applying to
  2. Certificates for all university-level degrees.
  3. A curriculum vitae including
    • Your name (given, family), data of birth, nationality, current address, phone number, and email address.
    • Your highest degree's name, educational institution, department, and the year of completion.
    • List of your higher education including the type of education, place, duration, and degree if applicable.
    • List of your employments including company/institution name and duration of the employment.
    • Your publication list.
  4. Official grade sheets for all the courses taken at the university level. For applicants with any university-level education outside Norway: official description of the grading system.
  5. Names and contact details of your references. To speed up processing, applicants themselves may ask their references to mail recommendation letters to the same email address.
  6. Copies of relevant work, e.g., dissertations, theses, or articles that you have authored or co-authored.
  7. Documentation of English proficiency, unless you are exempt.

Contact

Inquiries for additional information should be sent to Professor Roman Vitenberg, romanviSPAMFILTER@ifi.uio.no.