Privacy & Us

The Privacy & Usability (Privacy & Us) EU Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (project 675730) will fund 13 PhD studentships with a duration of 36 months, starting August 2016.

Application Deadline:    20th March 2016 (Extended for some positions, please see below)
Starting Date: 1st August 2016

Project Synopsis

With the rapid accumulation and processing of personal data by numerous organizations, it is of paramount importance to protect people from adverse uses of their data, while allowing them to enjoy the benefits the use of these data can possibly provide. This is the question of protecting citizens' privacy, while enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their actions with privacy implications.

The Privacy & Us innovative training network will train thirteen creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early stage researchers (ESRs) to be able to reason, design and develop novel solutions to questions related to the protection of citizens' privacy, considering the multidisciplinary and intersectoral aspects of the issue. ESRs will be trained to face both current and future challenges in the area of privacy and usability. Privacy & Us offers a combination of research-related and transferable competence skills that will enhance the career perspectives of the ESRs in both the academic and non-academic sectors.

The ESRs will receive comprehensive training and engage in intersectoral and multidisciplinary collaboration. Through this collaborative effort, the project will make a significant contribution and impact to the ESRs future careers. It will also contribute to shaping future privacy policies and practices in Europe and will significantly advance the state of the art in privacy and usability research.

Funding Scheme


Karlstads Universitet (KAU, Sweden)
Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt
(GUF, Germany)
Tel Aviv University
(TAU, Israel)
Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz
(ULD, Germany)
Uniscon Universal Identity Control GmbH
(UNI, Germany)
University College London
(UCL, United Kingdom)

USECON Usability Consultants GmbH
(USE, Austria)
(VA, United Kingdom)
Vienna University of Economics and Business
(WU, Austria)



Studentships are not restricted to EU citizens, however, applicants cannot have resided for more than 12 months over the past 3 years in the country of the host organization by August 2016. For example: if you have studied in Sweden for the past 12 months, you cannot apply to the positions announced by KAU (but you are eligible to all others); if by August 2016 you have been living in the UK only for the last 9 months, you are eligible to positions available at UCL.

Studentships are restricted to Early Stage Researcher (ESR), defined as candidates that are at the time of recruitment in the first four years of their research careers, which is measured from the date when they have obtained their degrees, which entitle them to enroll for a PhD program.

Candidates should demonstrate high ability to understand and express themselves very well in both written and spoken English in order to derive the full benefit from the network training.


All ESR positions also involve secondments (i.e., internships) of 8-10 months to other academic and non-academic Privacy & Us host organizations or partners to broaden the students' training and enrich their skills and experiences.

Salary & Benefits

Students will receive an attractive monthly salary (with the specific amount depending on the hosting organization) and competitive financial support including monthly living and mobility allowance, plus 500 EUR/month family allowance (when applicable) and the coverage of expenses related to the participation in the secondments, research and training activities.  


Applications will be collected and processed by each institution. Look for Application links next to each studentship description for deadlines and details. Each student will have to start on 1 August 2016, so prospective applicants should plan ahead of time if they want to apply.

Application deadlines are on 20th March 2016 (extended for some positions, please see below)

The 13 Positions

Position 1: Privacy Indicators in Smartphone Ecosystems

Short Description: Investigate methods to support informed decision-making, by helping users to understand benefits and potential privacy consequences of smartphones apps using data flows and crowd-source comments.

Host Institution: Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt (GUF)

Supervisors: Kai Rannenberg, Jetzabel Serna

Application Link:

Secondments: TAU, UNI, STR

Position 2: Usable Transparency

Short Description: Research and explore HCI techniques for designing usable user interfaces that enhance transparency and help users to control the personal big data traces that they leave online.

Host Institution: Karlstad University (KAU)

Supervisors: Simone Fischer-Hübner, Melanie Volkamer

Secondments: USE, WU, ULD

Application Link:

Position 3: Measuring and Manipulating Privacy-related Attitudes and Behaviors

Short Description: Further the understanding of users' privacy-related decision-making process with the overreaching goal to minimize the current attitude-behavioral gap for privacy-related behaviors.

Host Institution: Karlstad University (KAU)

Supervisors: Leonardo Martucci, Erik Wästlund

Secondments: TAU, USE, WU

Application Link:

Position 4: Modeling Responses to Privacy-related Indications (Deadline extended to 15th April)

Short Description: Develop models of user responses to privacy-related indications from systems or other information sources and validate these models with empirical research to generate effective privacy notifications and information.

Host Institution: Tel Aviv University (TAU)

Supervisor: Joachim Meyer

Secondments: GUF, STR, KAU

Application Link:

Position 5: Informed Consent in Privacy: Functionality, Usability, and Legality (Deadline extended to 15th April)

Short Description: Analyze legal and technological paradigms of consent in privacy, develop new models of consent that can be effectively applied to contemporary information systems, and assess how users respond and make use of these new models.

Host Institution: Tel Aviv University (TAU)

Supervisors: Eran Toch, Michael Birnhack

Secondments: UCL, LDA, UNI

Application Link:

Position 6: Usable Privacy in the Internet of Things and Smart Spaces (Deadline extended to 10th April)

Short Description: Research and explore the legal setting as well as usable mechanisms that support privacy protection goals such as unlinkability, transparency, and intervenability. Guiding principles are "privacy by design" and "privacy by default".

Host Institution: Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz (ULD)

Supervisor: Delphine Reinhardt (neé Christin)

Secondments: UNI, KAU, USE

Application Link:

Position 7: User Acceptance of the Sealed Cloud Concept (Deadline extended to 3rd April)

Short Description: Investigate and improve the usability and user acceptance of the privacy applications, such as anonymous web surfing and secure file storage and sharing, that are based on the Sealed Cloud concept, a novel tamper-proof execution environment for cloud computing.

Host Institution: Uniscon (UNI)

Supervisors: Felix Freiling, Zinaida Benenson

Secondments: KAU, WU, USE

Application Link:

Position 8: Adaptive Data Privacy for Smart Environments (Deadline extended to 3rd April)

Short Description: Critically appraise current privacy preserving solutions for smart homes and other smart indoor environments, and develop new privacy enhancing software components that are compatible with the emerging commercial solutions for smart spaces and enable semi-automatic adjustment of users' privacy preferences.

Host Institution: Uniscon (UNI)

Supervisor: Felix Freiling, Claudio Bettini

Secondments: TAU, GUF, USE

Application Link:

Position 9: Privacy-Preserving Personal Genomic Testing (Deadline extended until position filled)

Short Description: Investigate how to securely and efficiently store genomic data, design and implementing privacy-preserving genomic testing, as well as support user-centered design of secure personal genomic applications.

Host Institution: University College London (UCL)

Supervisor: Emiliano De Cristofaro

Secondments: LDA, UBO, UNI

Application Link:!/?project=155

Position 10: Privacy of Personal Health Data (Deadline extended until position filled)

Short Description: Better understand and support individuals' decision-making around healthcare data disclosure, weighing up personal and societal costs and benefits of disclosure.

Host Institution: University College London (UCL)

Supervisors: Ann Blandford and M. Angela Sasse

Secondments: UNI, TAU, KAU

Application Link:!/?project=155

Position 11: Privacy and Security in Commercial Transactions and Interactions

Short Description: Investigate and evaluate novel designs and develop scalable and robust interfaces for establishing trust in commercial transactions using a combination of human computer interaction techniques, security and privacy.

Host Institution: USECON (USE)

Supervisors: Manfred Tscheligi, Michael Bechinie

Secondments: GUF, UCL, VA

Application Link:

Position 12: Privacy-preserving Transaction Authentication for Mobile Devices (Deadline extended until position filled)

Short Description: Explore techniques for privacy-preserving authentication, then extend these to develop and evaluate innovative solutions for secure and usable authentication that respects user privacy.

Host Institution: Vasco (VA)

Supervisors: Steven Murdoch, Emiliano De Cristofaro

Secondments: USE, GUF, FAU

Application Link:!/?project=155

Position 13: Psychological Ownership of Personal Data

Short Description: Explore how ownership perceptions for personal data can be developed as means to strengthen privacy behavior

Host Institution: Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU)

Supervisors: Sarah Spiekermann, Sabrina Kirrane

Secondments: DSB, KAU, ULD

Application Link:


Privacy & Us project kicks off, UCL press release

New EU Innovative Training Network project “Privacy & Us”, Bentham's Gaze blog post

– Follow us on Twitter @privacyus_itn

Restricted Area