Research Associate: Software/Systems Engineering for Privacy

University of Bristol
Bristol, United Kingdom
£34,304 - £38,587
Closing date
May 22, 2022

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Science, Computer Science and IT, Computer Science
Full Time
Organization Type
University and College
Jobseeker Type
Academic (e.g. 'Lecturer')
The role

REPHRAIN (National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online), is looking for a research associate to join its core team to develop a privacy testbed. The testbed aims to support a range of use cases, including users, data workers and Data Protection Officers.

The testbed will be a living platform used to evaluate the privacy assurances of software products and organisational business processes against a set of reference scenarios.

REPHRAIN, the UK's world-leading interdisciplinary community focusses on the protection of citizens online. UKRI-funded, REPHRAIN has a starting critical mass of over 50 internationally-leading experts at Bristol (lead), UCL, Edinburgh, King's and Bath and 23 founding industry, non-profit, government, law, regulation and international research centre partners. REPHRAIN will address the current tensions and imbalances between the substantial benefits to be gained by full participation in the digital economy, and the potential for harm through loss of privacy, insecurity, disinformation and a myriad of other online harms.

You will be part of a collective of highly-skilled interdisciplinary researchers. Staff associated with REPHRAIN will take part in all Centre-wide activities including project specific meetings, quarterly All-Hands meetings, masterclasses, Knowledge Exchange events and REPHRAIN showcases.

What will you be doing?

You will be conducting in-depth research into a testbed that supports users, data workers and data protection stakeholders to proactively evaluate privacy risks. You will have the chance to learn about and leverage existing networking capabilities within the Bristol Cyber Security testbed. The role will include:

Building an API for effective sensitive data discovery in apps, business processes, design/code artefacts etc.

Using AI techniques for privacy risk mapping.

Evaluating the effectiveness of privacy tooling and governance programs.

Investigating how the testbed can support the conduct of effective privacy reviews.

You will play a key-role in different industry engagements to validate the testbed particularly how the testbed supports better understanding of how business operations and privacy are connected. You will be involved in incorporating features to link up other experimental facilities within the REPHRAIN centre partners or funded projects.

The successful candidate will be a promising post-doctoral researcher (or close to finishing a PhD on a relevant topic) with expertise in software/systems engineering privacy. The candidate should demonstrate a willingness and capacity to develop knowledge on PETs. Hands-on experience with developing systems is essential.

You should apply if
  • are passionate about research into privacy and its engineering in non-trivial systems;
  • have knowledge of or a demonstrable desire to learn about privacy engineering;
  • understand the implications of privacy harms on the daily lives of citizens;
  • have strong research project management skills;
  • can build strong, effective relationships with a range of people from different sectors and levels of seniority;
  • have excellent communication skills and can clearly articulate verbally and in writing;
  • are someone who can get up to speed quickly, thrives on digesting lots of information, is mindful of competing priorities, and can drive activity forward in a sustainable manner

We welcome applications from all members of our community and are particularly encouraging those from diverse groups, such as members of the LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.

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