Excellence in Research

Information technology has become an indispensable aspect of our daily lives. Rapid progress in this area has created countless opportunities, but at the same time has also brought risks with it, from online fraud to attacks on smart factories or the hacking of driverless cars. The HGI aims to keep one step ahead of cybercriminals. We are setting standards for world-class research that combines an interdisciplinary approach with knowledge transfer for practical applications.

The exceptional quality of the institute’s work is also apparent in the number of renowned scientific awards and external funding grants that have been secured by our researchers. The HGI is the sole research institution in the field of IT security to have been awarded three grants from the European Research Council (ERC Grants).

The HGI is a full research department at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), one that recognises that walls between faculties will need to come down if we are to produce truly cross-disciplinary research. Additionally, we are a founding member of ECRYPT, the European Network of Excellence in the field of cryptography, and collaborate with some 150 scientific partners from around the world on joint research projects.

Professorial chairs
Doctoral students and postdocs
Student researchers
Publications from the most prominent IT security and cryptography conferences
Awards of external funding (public and private funding agencies)

Publications and Awards

With over 200 publications from the most prominent IT security and cryptography conferences and 15 Best Paper Awards over the last years, the HGI is one of the world’s most successful research institutions and the leading institute of its type in Europe. The excellent quality of the institute’s work is reflected, too, in the impressive number of well-regarded scientific prizes and research funding awards our researchers have secured. The HGI is the sole research institute in the field of IT security to have been awarded three European Research Council Grants.

Some of our most significant honours include:

ERC Advanced Grant, 2015 DFG Heisenberg Professor, 2015 DFG Emmy-Noether Programme, 2010
ERC Starting Grant, 2014 DFG Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, 2011 Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2010
ERC Consolidator Grant, 2013 DFG Emmy-Noether Programme, 2015 Fellow of the International Association of Cryptological Research, 2016

The Research Department IT Security currently hosts some 200 scientists, who conduct research in electrical engineering and information technology, mathematics and computer science as well as the humanities and social sciences.

This interdisciplinary environment covers nearly all aspects of IT security, from basic research in cryptography to internet security, security for the Internet of Things, usability and data protection.

Further information about the different research groups and members are listed below:



The challenges we currently face in IT security are multifaceted, which is why they must be met with an approach that is accordingly comprehensive and integrative. To that end, the HGI brings together a broad and diverse group of researchers from a variety of disciplines.

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Whitepaper: 5G – for sure

Everyone is talking about 5G - in our whitepaper you can find out what the "fifth generation" of the mobile phone standard means for IT security and what challenges it poses.

The whitepaper is available for download here (in german only).

Cluster of Excellence CASA - Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

Many IT attacks today come from large-scale adversaries. The goal of the CASA Cluster of Excellence is to develop measures against these most powerful opponents. The researchers pursue an interdisciplinary approach in which leading scientists with a technical orientation cooperate with researchers from the field of psychology. This constellation is unique in Europe.

The cluster was launched in 2019 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the Excellence Strategy with approximately 35 million euros for an initial period of 7 years.

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Supporting Early Stage Researchers

The HGI places particular emphasis on training the next generation of top researchers. Since the institute’s founding, we have supervised around 90 young researchers through to the successful completion of their doctoral degrees.
Our doctoral researchers are closely involved in cutting-edge research right from the start and have full access to a leading international research network. They may avail themselves of the resources provided by the RUB Research School and the Research School Plus in acquiring the key skills and qualifications that are emphasised by the Excellence Initiative.

Our three graduate schools are a key component of the support we provide to early stage researchers. They are distinguished by their close links to world-class research and scientific practice:

ECRYPT-NET (European Integrated Research Training Network on Advanced Cryptographic Technologies) is a collaborative graduate research training programme involving six leading European universities and dedicated to the field of cryptography and cyber-security. The network aims to develop new cryptographic technologies for the Internet of Things and cloud computing and to provide technical implementations of these technologies that run efficiently and securely on a number of diverse systems.


SecHuman (Security for People in Cyberspace) is a graduate research training programme, organised jointly with the TU Dortmund University and the Fachhochschule Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts, that focuses on six key topics in IT security: security and privacy post-Snowden; the private sphere as a human right; strategies for speech impersonation and disguise; what social networks and sensors reveal about us; learning processes in IT security; and digital forgetting. Each of these topics is investigated by a team of two doctoral researchers, one from the humanities and one from a technical field. These tandems are advised by industry partners to ensure that the team’s work is applicable to society more broadly.


NERD (Human-Centered Systems Security) is a doctoral training network across several universities in North Rhine-Westphalia that places the human being at the centre of thinking about vulnerabilities in IT systems. The primary research question is how one can design security mechanisms at all levels of the value chain – from the software developer through to the end user – such that these mechanisms are useable in practice by all of the relevant groups. The pioneering tandem model for doctoral studies with advising from industry partners is also an integral aspect of this training network.



The next generation of academic researchers trained at the HGI stand out prominently in international comparison: 18 of our former doctoral students and postdocs are now professors in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Great Britain, the United Arab Emirates and the US. A number of our alumni have moved into leading roles in industry and public institutions worldwide.

Rules of Procedure RD ITS

The HGI is located as the Research Department IT Security (RD ITS) at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB). The rules of procedure of the RD ITS are available here (in German only).

Rules of Procedure RD ITS