Barbara FILA (Kordy)


PhD position starting autumn 2020

We haven an open PhD position in Design and Formal Analysis of Ceremonies for Socio-technical Systems. This is a fully-funded three year position organized as a cotutelle between INSA Rennes, IRISA (France) and Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh, Scotland). After a successful defence, the candidate will obtain the PhD degree from both universities.

Project description

Security ceremonies specify the communication and interaction between agents in a socio-technical system with the aim of achieving a security goal. Agents can be humans, robots, devices, or any other relevant entity or object. Security ceremonies are an extension of security protocols which concern only the messages exchanged in a communication. As security ceremonies capture a much larger set of behaviours than security protocols, existing formal verification approaches are insufficient for the analysis of security ceremonies.

The objective of this project is to develop the techniques and tools necessary to analyse security ceremonies. Building on the state of the art in security protocol verification, the doctoral work will contribute to

  • the design of a formal specification language to model socio-technical systems,
  • tools for the automated formal verification of security ceremonies, and
  • real-world case studies.

Candidate's profile

The successful candidate is expected to have
  • (or about to obtain) a Master's degree or equivalent in computer science or mathematics,
  • a background in formal methods or mathematical logic,
  • advanced skills in written and spoken English.
French language skills are not required.


Applications should be sent as a single pdf document and include the following information:
  • academic CV,
  • 500-1000 word description of research interests pertinent to the topic of this project,
  • grade transcript of all university-level courses taken,
  • copy of the Master's diploma or equivalent,
  • contact information for one or two referees.
Applications should be sent by e-mail to
  • Barbara Fila (barbara.fila AT AND
  • Saša Radomirović (sasa.radomirovic AT

The deadline for applications is Friday, May 15, 2020, but applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Supervision and hosting institutes

The student will be supervised jointly by Dr. Barbara Fila (INSA Rennes, IRISA) and Dr. Saša Radomirović (Heriot-Watt University).

Barbara Fila is an assistant professor (maître de conférences) at INSA Rennes and a researcher at the IRISA institute. Her research focuses on formal models for security and risk assessment and quantitative analysis of security. She is also strongly interested in specification and verification of communication protocols.

Saša Radomirović is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. His recent research has focused on formal verification of cryptographic protocols, threat modeling, and formal modeling and analysis of human factors in security-critical systems.

Contact information

For all inquiries please contact
  • Barbara Fila (barbara.fila AT
  • Saša Radomirović (sasa.radomirovic AT