So, you are a bright student interested in working with me and you are about to send me an email.
Very well, but before you do that, please read VERY CAREFULLY this page.
I am always looking for good students, but I really dont like wasting time reading long emails that tell me how awesome is my research and how motivated you are to work in my group.

First of all, keep in mind that this is a system security group. I'm not interested in sensor networks, formal methods, applied crypto, distributed algorithms or underwater microwave programming. Read my publication page and be sure you understand very well in which areas I work on.

Eurecom does not have a precise schedule or any particular deadline to apply as a PhD student. You basically need to convince a professor to hire you, and then you can start at any time of the year. However, for a number of reasons, it makes slightly more sense to start between September and January. A good time to apply is between three and six months before you plan to start.


Requirements

There are some basic skills and requirements you should carefully consider before applying for a PhD position under my supervision.
Here is some advice:

  • learn how to use svn and git
  • learn how to write in Latex
  • learn how to use the command line and how to configure/maintain a Linux server
  • watch "Naturally obsessed: the making of a scientist"
  • learn how to program, preferably in some scripting and low level languages.
    C, C++, Python, Ruby, Assembler, PHP, and Javascript are useful. Visual Basic, C#, and Java not so much.
  • read at least a couple of scientific papers in your fields of interest
  • be comfortable speaking and writing in English
  • solve some security challenges (either web, forensics, binaries, or network related). The more the better.
If you are already a Eurecom master student you also need to get some seriously good grades in my classes and in Aurelien's security course. Also, you may want to consider doing your final internship in our group (see below).

Finally, in addition to your technical and scientific skills, it is also very important that you get along well with me and with the other students in the lab (most of which have a desk in a common open space). You dont need to be a showman, but some basic social skills are welcome.


How to Contact Me

If you meet the previous requirements, send me an email and make sure to follow these basic rules:

  • Write in English. I understand Italian and French as well - but it would be a very bad way to start.
  • Stick to plain text. I hate HTML messages.
  • Write to me. General messages that are obviously sent to several professors in parallel waste my time and do not even deserve an answer.
  • Be short. You should be able to convince me in ~1 page of plaintext
  • Attach your CV. If in your country you have a country-wide University admission exam, make sure you include your ranking in the CV
  • If you have a letter of recommendation, you can attach it.
  • If you want to apply for an internship or a PhD position, start the email subject with [APPLICATION] so that I can easily identify the message and I know you read this page.
After you send me the email, be patient.
If you match the previous criteria, I will read and eventually answer your message. But I'm often traveling and my mailbox tends to fill up at warp speed - so you may have to wait a couple of weeks for an answer.


How to Increase your Chances to be Accepted

If you are not a Eurecom student and I do not know you already, you basically have three ways to improve your chances of being accepted:

  • you have an impressive CV with already a couple of decent publications or contribution to challenging system or security-related projects
  • you have a good recommendation letter from some known professor in the system security area
  • you first convince me to hire you for a semester project (your master thesis for example) so that I can get to know you better

Internships and Short-term Projects

If you are already affiliated to another university, you may be interested in getting a Syssec scholarship to spend some time in our group.

In general I only accept 1-3 internships per year. So, try to write well in advance or I may not have any slot left. Also, I receive quite a lot of applications, so if you want to do your thesis with me try to find a way to distinguish yourself from the others.

If you are doing your master thesis in our group, you will receive a salary (it wont make you rich, but it should be enough to pay the rent and barely survive in the French Riviera).


Recommendation Letters

Finally, if you are a Eurecom student and you need a recommendation letter for a job position or for an application to another university, I will be happy to help you IF AND ONLY IF:

  • You toke one of my courses and you were at least in the Top 10% of the students according to the final grade.
    Feel free to ask me, but this typically mean you got 18 or more.
  • You did your semester project or you internship with me and you got a final grade of 17 or higher.
If not, it would be a waste of time for me to write you a letter and it will probably look bad for you if the person you chose to recommend you does not even say you were one of his/her top students.