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Nano Security: From Nano-Electronics to Secure Systems
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
In March 2019, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme "Nano Security: From Nano-Electronics to Secure Systems" (SPP 2253). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second (and last) three-year funding period.
Successful proposals within the SPP 2253 should aim at understanding the implications of emerging nano-electronics to system security. They can investigate positive or negative implications of novel hardware technologies: possible security threats and vulnerabilities stemming from hardware components and architectures, as well as innovative approaches for system security based on nano-electronics. The programme aims at establishing an interdisciplinary collaboration across the abstraction stack of electronic systems, from devices and circuits to protocols and architectures. To this end, the programme is following a matrix structure with three research areas for horizontal (disciplinary) integration and three Interdisciplinary Groups (IG) for vertical integration. This structure shall be retained during the second funding period, and new accepted projects shall be positioned within the matrix.
- Area 1 "Nano-electronics for Security" will focus on developing and analysing nano-electronic security primitives, such as physical unclonable functions, random number generators, cryptographic blocks, reconfigurable nano-fabrics, or obfuscation/camouflaging structures. We expect that successful applicants for projects in this area will contribute their competencies in nano-electronics and/or circuit design.
- Area 2 "Hardware Security and Cryptography" will assess and systematically improve the security (i.e., resilience to various attacks) of hardware primitives from Area 1 and architectures, protocols and design methods from Area 3; it will serve as an intermediary between the other two areas. This area bundles researchers with security and cryptography backgrounds and provides this knowledge to other areas.
- Area 3 "Secure Composition and Integration" will deal with the integration of secure primitives into larger systems and architectures. It specifically aims at answering the question under which circumstances the security guarantees defined and validated for lower-level primitives translate in higher-order, system- and architecture-level security properties. Work in this area will require background in computer architecture, embedded systems, design methodologies, and/or information theory.
The three Interdisciplinary Groups (IG) within the programme focus on three broad security objectives: IG1 on hardware-based secret generation; IG2 on secure processing via hardware-supported data separation and isolation; and IG3 on resilience against physical attacks. The programme aims at considering the topic of each IG from the angles of different scientific disciplines from all three areas defined above. For this reason, every project is expected to contribute to at least one IG.
This call is open to both: renewal proposals by applicants who are already members of the Priority Programme and new proposals. Successful proposals should address security-related scientific problems (e.g., establishing a better understanding of a specific security threat, devising better countermeasures, providing generic security solutions) where emerging hardware technologies or architectures play a decisive role. It is expected that successful applicants will bring in competencies from both fields: security and hardware. To this end, "tandem projects" by two partners from different areas are strongly encouraged. All projects (new applications and renewals) are expected to belong to at least one of the three above-mentioned areas and to at least one of the three Interdisciplinary Groups IG1, IG2 and IG3. Proposals are requested to explicitly indicate their position in the programme's matrix structure spanned by the horizontal disciplinary areas and the vertical Interdisciplinary Groups.
Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 4 July 2023.
Further Information: