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National PhD Program in Cybersecurity

National PhD Program in Cybersecurity

Coordinator: Rocco De Nicola

Leading institution: IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca

Partner universities and research institutions: National Research Council, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Politecnico di Torino, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Ca’ Foscari University, University of Bari Aldo Moro, University of Sannio, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, University of Camerino, University of Catania, University of Florence, University of Naples Federico II, University of Palermo, University of Salerno, University of Siena University of Calabria, University of Pisa, University of Udine, Università Politecnica delle Marche, University of Genoa, University of Trento, Polytechnic University of Bari, University of Bologna, University of Milan, University of Rome Tor Vergata.

For further information, please visit cysec2022.imtlucca.it

General Overview

Protecting the hybrid environments many organizations have transitioned to from cyberattacks has become increasingly difficult. The adoption of the cloud, remote working, and mobility are putting a strain on the defence capabilities of companies and public administrations worldwide. To face increasingly sophisticated attacks, like zero-days and new malware, one needs a mix of technology and best practices. But, most of all, people with excellent technical, legal, and organizational knowledge are required to shorten the gap between the necessary skills and those available in cybersecurity. Even though the cybersecurity field has expanded exponentially during the past decade, it is now evident that the workforce in the area has not grown adequately. The number of skilled and qualified workers is not sufficient to meet demand, and national labour markets are disrupted worldwide, including Europe, as a result.

The National PhD Program in Cybersecurity (Ph.D.-CySec) prepares you to analyze and solve a broad spectrum of cybersecurity-related problems with high institutional, social, and industrial interest, with the primary objective of identifying, from time to time, the most effective solutions according to the goal and domain of application. The opportunities are, therefore, in the academic field, in multiple disciplines (engineering, computer science, economics, legal, and management), the public sector, including the National Cybersecurity Agency, research laboratories, both study centres and centres of expertise, and the private sectors for services, industrial safety, and professional consulting.

The main goal of the National PhD Program in Cybersecurity Ph.D.-CySec is to train a new generation of scholars, and future leaders, who can support and increase the resilience to cyberattacks of public institutions, businesses, and citizens by developing and properly implementing more secure and reliable digital processes, systems, and infrastructures.

Academic Goals

During the PhD program, students will learn to approach cybersecurity problems from different perspectives, within an inter- and multidisciplinary team of experts from other fields. They will have the opportunity to tackle real case studies proposed by actors and stakeholders from the private and public sectors. At the end of their PhD studies, students will be able to face the growing complexity of cyber-attacks, thanks to a holistic approach embracing technological, economic, human, social, and legal aspects. Career opportunities include, in addition to academic careers, managerial roles in the private sector and public administration, government bodies, as well as diverse types of research organizations that require professionals, experts, and executives with solid scientific skills, technological and methodological backgrounds in cybersecurity.

To achieve these objectives, the CySec PhD proposes a solid multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach by providing a broad-base basic education and focusing on specific areas of specialization. Students with different educational backgrounds, from computer scientists, information engineers, mathematicians, and physicists to legal experts, economists, and social scientists, will be admistted to the doctorate. Thanks to the large number and cultural diversity of the teaching staff, the teaching plan will provide specialized courses tailored to the incoming skills that will aim to offer a holistic vision of cyber security while specializing in a few critical areas through the four different curricula described below.

  • The track in Foundational Aspects in Cybersecurity provides a scientific background to advance cybersecurity research, including cryptography, artificial intelligence, secure programming, distributed computing, formal methods and languages, and further innovative contributions to IT security research. At the end of the doctoral program, students will be able to collaborate with research groups in the academic world and private or public research centres.
  • The track in Software, System, and Infrastructure Security aims to provide the scientific, technological, and methodological knowledge required to address, appropriately and proactively, the main problems posed by the security of systems and infrastructures of various nature and complexity, including software, hardware, and communication systems, characterized by different security and resilience requirements, depending on their specific field of application. At the end of the doctoral program, students will be able to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to address the various security aspects of systems and infrastructures, including critical ones, from both a technological and operational point of view.
  • The track in Data Governance & Protection addresses issues related to the need to store and process data effectively and efficiently, to rely on scalable, efficient, and reliable processing platforms, and other matters related to data and processing confidentiality and integrity. At the end of the doctoral program, students will master methods and technologies for controlling data access and usage regulation, minimizing the impact on the end-user, and ensuring data confidentiality, integrity, and availability during their entire life cycle, from the production to processing, transmission, and storage.
  • The track in Human, Economic, and Legal Aspects in Cybersecurity is primarily intended for candidates with a non-STEM background. It provides a solid understanding of the technical aspects of cybersecurity to address potential or existing cybersecurity risks and master the strategies to reduce them and protect sensitive information. PhD graduates will possess the necessary knowledge and technical skills in information technologies. They will understand the general socio-legal framework in which they operate and design operational processes in line with the standards of protection of fundamental rights, regulatory obligations, international policies, and economic implications.

Professional outlets include, in addition to academic careers, managerial roles in the private sector and public administration, government agencies, as well as employment in other research organisations that require professionals, experts, and managers with solid scientific expertise and technological and methodological backgrounds in cybersecurity.

​Research Projects

The descriptions of projects and research themes candidates can choose are available here. The Selection Committee will identify the research themes that best suit the skills and interests of the admitted candidates.

Scientific Board

  • Prof. Rocco De Nicola (Full professor of Computer Science, IMT School)
  • Prof. Annalisa Appice (Associate professor of Information processing systems, University of Bari Aldo Moro)
  • Prof. Alessandro Armando (Full professor of Information processing systems, University of Genoa)
  • Prof. Andrea Averardi (Associate professor of Administrative Law, IMT School)
  • Prof. Marco Baldi (Associate professor of Telecommunications, Università Politecnica delle Marche)
  • Prof. Mauro Barni (Full professor of Telecommunications, University of Siena)
  • Prof. Sebastiano Battiato (Full professor of Computer Science, University of Catania)
  • Dr. Alessandro Biondi (Assistant professor of Information processing systems, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies)
  • Prof. Francesco Antonio Buccafurri (Full professor of Information processing systems, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria)
  • Prof. Danilo Caivano (Full professor of Information processing systems, University of Bari Aldo Moro)
  • Prof. Franco Callegati (Associate professor of Computer Science, University of Bologna)
  • Prof. Gabriele Costa (Associate professor of Computer Science, IMT School)
  • Prof. Domenico Cotroneo (Full professor of Information processing systems, University of Neaples Federico II)
  • Prof. Bruno Crispo (Full professor of Computer Science, University of Trento)
  • Prof. Alessandra De Paola (Associate professor of Information processing systems, University of Palermo)
  • Prof. Alfredo De Santis (Full professor of Computer Science, University of Salerno)
  • Prof. Gianluca Dini (Full professor of Information processing systems, University of Pisa)
  • Prof. Elena Ferrari (Full professor of Computer Science, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria)
  • Prof. Gian-Luigi Ferrari (Full professor of Computer Science, University of Pisa)
  • Prof. Riccardo Focardi (Full professor of Computer Science, Ca' Foscari University)
  • Prof. Gian Luca Foresti (Full professor of omputer science, University of Udine)
  • Prof. Angelo Furfaro (Associate professor of Information processing systems, University of Calabria)
  • Prof. Vincenzo Loia (Full professor of Computer Science, University of Salerno)
  • Prof. Giuseppe Lo Re (Full professor of Information processing systems, University of Palermo)
  • Prof. Michele Loreti (Full rofessor of Computer Science, University of Camerino)
  • Dr. Fabio Martinelli (Research Director, Institute of Informatics and Telematics - National Research Council)
  • Dr. Marco Morana (Assistant professor of Information processing systems, University of Palermo)
  • Prof. Gaetana Morgante (Full professor of Criminal Law, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies)
  • Prof. Patrizio Pelliccione (Full professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering, GSSI)
  • Dr. Marinella Petrocchi (Senior Researcher, Institute of Informatics and Telematics - National Research Council)
  • Prof. Paolo Prinetto (Full professor of Information processing systems, IMT School and Politecnico di Torino)
  • Prof. Andrea Pugliese (Associate professor of Information processing systems, University of Calabria)
  • Prof. Rosario Pugliese (Full professor of Informatics, University of Florence)
  • Prof. Luigi Romano (Full professor of Computer Science, Parthenope University of Naples)
  • Prof. Michele Ruta (Full professor of Information processing systems, Polytechnic University of Bari)
  • Prof. Pierangela Samarati (Full professor of Computer Science, University of Milan)
  • Dr. Alessandro Savino (Assistant professor of Information processing systems, Politecnico di Torino)
  • Prof. Caterina Sganga (Associate professor of Comparative private law, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies)
  • Prof. Andrea Simoncini (Full professor of Constitutional law, University of Florence)
  • Dott. Maurizio Tesconi (Senior Researcher, Institute of Informatics and Telematics - National Research Council)
  • Prof. Emilio Tuosto (Associate professor of Computer Science, GSSI)
  • Dr. Luca Verderame (Assistant professor of Information processing systems, Università di Genova)
  • Prof. Aaron Visaggio (Associate professor of Information processing systems, University of Sannio)