PhD Position in Trustworthy Federated Learning for Distributed AI Applications

Research / Academic

Federated Learning (FL) and Distributed Computation allow AI models to be trained across multiple decentralized servers holding local data samples without explicitly sharing the data. It's a game-changer for data privacy and security but introduces unique challenges regarding trustworthiness, fairness, and robustness.
This Ph.D. project centers on creating a secure and trustworthy framework for distributed computation (e.g., FL) within often untrustworthy peers. The goal is to develop a comprehensive system leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology and smart contracts that improves the efficiency of federated learning and enhances the transparency, explainable AI, and accountability of the data processing during data modeling.
Beyond the technical aspects, you will also delve into the real-world applications and business implications in the captivating aviation sector. You'll unravel the complexities of conflicts of interest within aviation, working to find innovative solutions. Your role will involve understanding the needs of different stakeholders, designing new ways of collaboration through distributed governance models, and crafting a novel business approach.
For this, you will utilize the readily existing links to KLM-AirFrance and Independent Data Consortium for Aviation (IDCA) to develop the foundation for sharing data in a way that promotes cooperation rather than competition. This framework isn't just about data – it's about reshaping how data and knowledge are shared, all while leaving a positive footprint on both the environment and society in multiple use cases.
As a Ph.D. researcher in this position, you will work closely with Dr. ir. Marcela Tuler de Oliveira, dr. Dr. ir. Mark de Reuver and Dr. Aaron Ding. There are opportunities to teach and supervise students in collaboration with your supervisors.
This position will be filled within the Engineering Systems and Services section Information and Communication Technology department at the Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.


  • MSc degree in Computer Science, Telecommunications Engineering, Computer Engineering, Informatics, or a related field.
  • Interest or experience in Distributed Ledger Technology, Federated Learning, and AI.
  • Affinity with programming, computer networks, and multi-actor systems.
  • Interest or experience with research collaboration with other researchers and external stakeholders as a team player.
  • High motivation and a curious and critical mindset.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Salary Benefits:

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.
For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Work Hours:

36 - 40 hours per week


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