Research Assistant / Research Associate in Secure Electronic Systems 2024

DEADLINE 23rd April 2024
Newcastle upon Tyne
£31,396 - £32,982

This is a new opportunity to join the School of Computing as a Research Assistant/Associate on the Chameleon: Dynamic Device-Unique Confidentiality and Fingerprinting Project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Chameleon is building the first environmentally-bound platform that preserves code and data confidentiality by design by linking program execution to a platform’s ambient environment. To this end, Chameleon is employing a novel combination of instruction set randomisation (ISR), contextual key generation, and channel creation from shared telecommunication features.

This project is in collaboration with the Universities of Manchester and Essex.

About the role

You will join be responsible for the design, implementation and evaluation of the first generation of Chameleon processors. You will work on a soft-core environmentally-aware CPU design built around the RISC-V instruction set architecture. The platform will initially focus on microcontroller-style targets, e.g. single instruction pipelines, as a proof-of-concept implementation. You will be responsible for addressing the research and development challenges in building such a system.

We are seeking a motivated individual who is consistently meticulous in their approach to research and adept at problem solving. You should be co-operative and capable of producing high-quality research outputs as part of a diverse and interdisciplinary team. You should have excellent interpersonal skills and an aptitude for fostering close working relationships with internal and external stakeholders. You will possess good FPGA development skills (e.g. in Verilog) and microcontroller development experience. A strong grasp of computer architecture concepts and information security will be highly advantageous.

The appointment of successful candidate is subject to security checks conducted by the UK National Security Technology and Innovation Exchange (NSTIx).

For all informal enquiries, please contact Dr Carlton Shepherd

This position is available on a full time (37 hours per week), fixed term basis, to start immediately until 31st March 2026.

To apply, please complete an online application and upload a plain text copy of your CV and covering letter only. In your covering letter, you should evidence how you meet or exceed the essential and desirable requirements for the role. Please note, any other ‘Additional Document’ you upload may not be received by the reviewing panel.

As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles. These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.

Key accountabilities

  • Conduct internationally leading research in line with the aims and objectives of the project
  • Work with project colleagues in a cross-institutional team to deliver creative technical solutions culminating in the publication of world-leading research
  • Present outputs from the project in written and oral form to technical and non-technical stakeholders
  • Contribute to the culture and success of the Secure and Resilient Systems (SRS) group and the School of Computing at large

The person

Knowledge, skills and experience

  • Development experience using FPGAs and microcontrollers, e.g. commercial, open-source or student projects. Candidates may be requested to provide evidence (e.g. certifications, links to open-source repositories)
  • Skilled in low-level programming, e.g. C/C++, Rust, Assembly. Candidates may be requested to provide evidence
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of applied cryptography
  • Knowledge of CPU design principles
  • Experience of writing and publishing internationally leading research

Attributes and behaviour

  • Ability to assess/evaluate new concepts and develop original solutions from conception to dissemination
  • Demonstrable interpersonal skills with the ability to liaise with project stakeholders (e.g. other academic institutions, government, and industry) on behalf of the School
  • Professional approach with a commitment to inclusion, ethics, and a strong sense of good scientific conduct
  • An ability to communicate complex scientific information clearly and adapt communication styles to suit the intended audience
  • The ability to work within a diverse team spanning multiple disciplines
  • Willingness to travel locally and internationally, and a readiness to work flexibly by mutual agreement


  • PhD (or close to completion) in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, Computer Engineering or equivalent professional experience for the position of Research Associate
  • A BSc/BEng/MEng/MSc in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, Computer Engineering or a related discipline for the position of Research Assistant
DEADLINE 23rd April 2024