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PhD position: Cyber-physical smart grid intrusion detection

Develop a highly accurate intrusion detection system in a cyber-physical environment to detect cyber attacks on smart grids and increase the power grid cyber security, as part of a European Innovative Training Network.

3 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


InnoCyPES, a European Innovative Training Networks (ITN), funded under H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), is recruiting talented, enthusiastic, and ambitious candidates to perform excellent research and achieve breakthroughs in the field of cyber-physical energy systems. InnoCyPES targets the bottlenecks of digital transformation of the current energy system, where the ESRs are expected to study and improve various facets of digitalized and interconnected energy systems. 15 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) will enroll in PhD programmes in the InnoCyPES network, consisting of 7 academic and 4 industrial beneficiaries, together with 10 partner organizations. (more info: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/956433)

Within the InnoCyPES network, Delft University of Technology is hiring a doctoral candidate on the subject “Cyber-physical smart grid intrusion detection.” This vacancy is only suitable for early-stage researchers that have not lived in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the previous 3 years (see requirements).

Keeping a smart grid stable, robust, and secure, requires secure data flows. Although the complexity of cyber-physical systems can be challenging to manage, their cross-domain nature provides advantages for devising advanced intrusion detection schemes. An intrusion can be detected and classified, based on physical- and on cyber-patterns. Most physical phenomena cannot be easily bluffed, and modern data acquisition systems can be upgraded with contextual Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). The project is to extend on state-of-the-art to develop highly accurate integrated Cyber-Physical Smart Grid (CPSG) IDS. Both analytical and numerical methods will be used to develop and validate the CPSG IDS. A co-simulation setup, that includes Modbus, IEC 61850 and IEEE C37.118 will help to simulate various types of cyber attacks on CPSG and to validate the implemented detection algorithm.

The project objectives are to:

  • Define threat models and cyber-physical attack scenarios based on state-of-the-art research;
  • Setup the CPSG co-simulation environment, define test cases, and specify the requirements of the CPSG intrusion detection system;
  • Classify patterns, cluster attack signatures, and design the CPSG intrusion detection system;
  • Implementat the CPSG intrusion detection system and test cases;
  • Validate the CPSG intrusion detection system against the test cases and conduct a sensitivity study against model/system parameters.

The position includes three scheduled secondments:

  1. EDF, France (4 months)
  2. CSIRO, Australia (3 months)
  3. University of New South Wales, Australia (3 months)

This is a four-year doctoral appointment. You will be jointly supervised by Dr. Alex Stefanov (assistant professor, daily supervisor) and Prof. Peter Palensky (head of group), with industrial co-supervision from Dr. Shiping Chen (CSIRO). You will be a member of the section Intelligent Electrical Power Grids in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at TU Delft, The Netherlands. You will join a larger team of researchers and students working on cyber security and resilience of power grids.

All InnoCyPES ESRs will benefit from extensive training in technical and transferrable skills, and from interdisciplinary, international and intersectoral secondment experience. You will be expected to assist in teaching activities (student supervision, labs) related to your subject area. The anticipated start date is between 1 September 2021 and 1 November 2021.


As a condition of the grant, applicants must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Early-stage researchers: Applicants must be early-stage researchers, which means at the date of start, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Mobility Rule: researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host institute for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account. For international European interest organisations, international organisations, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) or an 'entity created under Union law', recruited researchers must not have spent more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date at the same appointing organisation.

Essential job requirements:

  • Demonstrable interest in interdisciplinary and intersectoral research, and specifically the interface between energy systems, computer science and control.
  • Completed a Master's and Bachelor’s degree in a highly quantitative and analytical discipline (applied mathematics, computer science, and/or electrical engineering with an emphasis on electrical power systems).
  • Excellent academic record (grades of B or higher) and good command of English (minimum C1 or equivalent).
  • Strong knowledge of control theory and mathematics including differential algebraic equations, discrete systems, and probability theory and statistics.
  • Ability to read and critically analyse computer science/mathematics papers.
  • Demonstrable experience with computer modelling and simulation.
  • You enjoy performing research. You are independent, self-motivated, and eager to learn.
  • You enjoy programming and hold your code to a high standard.


  • Knowledge of operation and control of electrical power systems.
  • Experience with Python and machine learning libraries.
  • Experience with collaborative software development (e.g. open source).


TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Alex Stefanov, assistant professor, email: A.I.Stefanov@tudelft.nl, tel: +31(0)15-27 81528.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Carla Jager, Secretary, IEPG group, email: c.p.jager@tudelft.nl.