PhD position Big Data Forensics: Large-scale crime analysis and prevention

University of Groningen

Faculty of Law

This position is one of 15 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) Fellowships funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), under the European Commission’s H2020 Work Programme. The selected ESRs will conduct doctoral research on a unique research topic as part of the project “Evolving Security SciencE through Networked Technologies, Information policy And Law (ESSENTIAL)”. ESSENTIAL seeks to: a) train interdisciplinary security experts and professionals to tackle security threats in a systematic manner and b) increase societal resilience and security by addressing in an interdisciplinary manner 15 research topics associated with long-standing problems in the field of security science. This ESR is jointly supervised by the University of Groningen and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), The Netherlands.

This position is hosted by the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen. The Faculty of Law is a modern, internationally oriented institution with a four-hundred-year-long tradition. The Faculty of Law has over 3700 students and almost 350 staff members and is thus one of the largest faculties of the University of Groningen. The selected candidate will work with other colleagues in the Security, Technology and e-Privacy Research Group (STeP) organised within the Department of European and Economic Law. STeP consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers collaborating with other departments in the faculty and/or funded by externally raised funds and international guests-researchers. The team covers many areas of information policy & technology law including privacy, data protection, security sciences, surveillance, cybercrime, self-regulation and health informatics. The STeP Research Group currently co-ordinates and participates in a number of European funded projects researching themes similar to this call.

Job description
This research project (ESR03) will research: Big Data Forensics: Large-scale crime analysis and prevention.

Objectives: Criminal analysis in the modern digital society is becoming increasingly data intensive and widely distributed. It is common practice to seize data carriers that are believed to contain relevant evidence material. This project will contribute to the analysis of crime by using advanced computational methods and architectures, interacting closely with the evidence and media-content analysis ESR topics.

Expected outcomes: Research will enhance the ability to effectively acquire and analyse data, events, processes and sensor-fused evidence and contextual information with a high degree of automation. Expected results comprise: (i) Automating workflows for evidence acquisition, analysis, and presentation, (ii) Designing large-scale, distributed case management and information systems, and (iii) Prototyping and testing of software modules based on state of the art forensic research.

Main supervisor: Prof. Katrin Franke (NTNU).
Co-supervisors: Prof. Zeno Geradts (NFI), The Netherlands and Prof.
Jeanne Pia Mifsud Bonnici, University of Groningen (RUG), Netherlands.
Planned secondments: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway, Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), The Netherlands and Økokrim, Norway.

Eligibility for admission will be determined by considering the combination of the candidate’s academic qualifications and relevant professional experience according to the table which you will find on:

Candidates who have completed their master degree in an institution where English is not the language of instruction must present one of the following Secure English Language Test (SELT) results as follows:
• TOEFL Internet-Based (iBT) – minimum 95 with a writing score of at least 24
• Academic IELTS – minimum 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each element
• Advanced Cambridge Certificate at grade C or better.
• The test results must not be older than 24 months on the date of the application deadline.

Selection criteria:
• quality of the candidate assessed through the candidate’s academic merit and relevant professional experience
• candidates with a proven track record in the fields of evidence law, digital forensics, or computer science/IT will be given preference
• it would be an advantage if the candidate has had work experience in the fields of digital forensics, criminal investigation, automated data processing, pattern matching, data aggregation
• the candidate should also possess a sound working knowledge of quantitative & qualitative research methods, experimental design, statistical methods and mastery of relevant statistical software.

Personal attributes:
• excellent oral and written communication skills and an ability to communicate effectively across different stakeholder groups
• flexibility and ability to take direction and accommodate feedback from diverse stakeholders
• ability to work both individually and in a (virtual) team environment
• leadership skills
• ability to meet deadlines and produce work of a consistently high standard.

Please note there are strict eligibility requirements that apply to all Marie Skłodowska-Curie Researchers:
• the candidate must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment under the project (short stays such as holidays are not counted)
• at the time of recruitment, the candidate must not have been awarded a doctorate degree and must be in the first 4 years of her/his research career
• the candidate must work exclusively for the project during the employment contract
• the candidate must fulfil the conditions to be admitted in the PhD programme indicated in the Job Vacancy.

Researchers can be of any nationality. They are required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment. Nationality is therefore not a criterion. Rather the location of the researcher's residence or main activity during the 3 years prior to their recruitment is determining.

For further information on Marie Skłodowska-Curie schemes and eligibility please visit

Conditions of employment
Contract length: 36 months.
The position offered is for three years (36 months) at fulltime employment. Each successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another two years. Prolongation of the appointment is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the appointment period is to be expected. In accordance with Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), the salary will consist of € 38,924.76 per year. Note that this rate includes the employer's costs i.e. national insurance contribution and government bonus. Mobility Allowance is € 7,200 per year per researcher. Family Allowance (where applicable at the time of recruitment) is € 6,000 per year per researcher (all amounts stated are before taxation). The starting date is 1 June 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter. Application You may apply for this position until 4 Jnauary 23.59h / before 5 January 2017 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below the advertisement on the university website). Applications should include: • motivation letter (500 words) • curriculum vitae including a list of publication and the names and contact information of 2 references • copies of academic certificates and transcripts • a brief research proposal addressing the topic of the research project (500-1000 words) • English proficiency results if applicable. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 9 January 2017. Interviews are planned for the week starting 16 January 2017. Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information
For additional information, please contact:
Prof. Jeanne Pia Mifsud Bonnici (for an informal discussion regarding this position)

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 216320
Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

ESSENTIAL project and the 15 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) Fellowships

Digital application form