PhD position in scaling distributed ledgers and blockchains

Job description

The Software Systems (SWYSTEMS) group at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) in Lugano, Switzerland, has an open PhD position to work on the scalability of distributed ledgers and blockchains. Transversal approaches that combine multiple techniques and/or tackle multiple aspects of ledgers are of particular interest.

Candidates are expected to have a strong background and interest in distributed systems and/or applied security. Candidates wishing to focus on practical system research should have solid implementation skills while candidates wishing to pursue theoretical research should have a deep understanding of distributed computing and/or cryptography.

Demonstrated experience with the inner workings of existing distributed ledgers and blockchains, including their incentive mechanisms, is an advantage. Candidates with such experience, whether practical or theoretical, are strongly encouraged to highlight it in their application.


The SWYSTEMS group led by Prof. Patrick Eugster is part of the novel Systems Institute recently established at USI. The group conducts research in the fields of networked distributed systems and programming languages and in particular at the intersection of the two. The group received a highly competitive Distributed Systems research award by Facebook in 2020, enjoys competitive funding (e.g., European Research Council, Swiss National Science Foundation) as well as strong collaborations in academia (e.g., TU Darmstadt, Purdue University) and industry (e.g., Cisco Systems).

The Faculty of Informatics of USI is one of the top computer science departments in Switzerland with over 50 professors and lecturers. The Faculty offers highly competitive salaries (47k-50k CHF yearly gross for PhD students) and opportunities to participate in the educational mission of the Faculty.

The Faculty is located in Lugano within a 10-minute walk from the city center and lake. Lugano is the largest city in the italian-speaking canton of Ticino and is very well connected: by car/train Milan is 1 hour away and Zürich 2 hours away, along with their respective international airports.

Application instructions

Candidates should have a Master’s degree, strong analytical abilities, good communication skills (including proficiency in spoken and written English), and a passion for academic research.

Candidates are requested to submit their applications via email to Prof. Patrick Eugster ( and Dr. Pierre-Louis Roman ( using the subject “Application to PhD in distributed ledgers”. Applications must include a CV, the names and contact information of 3 references, and a 1-page motivation letter that should include what the applicant can uniquely bring to this position and what he/she expects to learn from this PhD. Screening will start immediately and continue until the position is filled. Informal questions on the position are welcome (