Hi there, thank you so much for your interest! Below, I have described some most likely avenues for joining my group.

Note for reaching out in general: I receive many emails a day and may not be able to respond to all. Please do not take it personally, as this reflects my limited bandwidth and does not say anything about your strengths and merits — but I promise to read your email. If this is the first time that you email me, I encourage you to send a lot of information. The more I know about you and your interests, the more likely it is that I will find your idea so fully awesome that I must write back.

Note (December 2023): I am no longer accepting Ph.D. or internship applications for the 2024 cycle. Please check this page again in Fall 2024 for possible open positions.

Prospective postdocs/Ph.D. students

Being a postdoc or Ph.D. student in Germany, at least in computer science and adjacent fields, comes with many perks. If you are interested in getting such positions in my group, prior experience working with me (e.g., via a funded internship or external collaboration for at least six months) is not required but is strongly preferred. In this way, we get to know each other and decide whether there is a mutual fit before committing to a long-term work relationship.

For Ph.D. positions, you can also apply through official programs that MPI-SP is affiliated with, such as the CS@Max Planck doctoral program and the Maryland Max Planck Ph.D. Program. Because admissions are usually administered by a central committee and I may not serve on these committees every year, please make sure to mention my name in your research statement to increase the chance that your application will reach me eventually, and email me a short note after you submit your application.

Prospective research interns/visiting scholars (funded positions)

The best way is to apply through the CS@Max Planck internship program, which is open to Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral students as well as individuals from industry interested in gaining academic research experience. In this way, your application may also be considered by other research group leaders conducting computer science research at the Max Planck Society. The application deadline for summer internships (i.e., those starting between May and August) is November 1 of the previous year.

If you miss the summer application deadline or would like to work with me starting at other times of the year, please email me with the following information:

  • Your CV and transcript(s)
  • A statement of purpose describing your relevant experience and research interests (e.g., you could state what you find interesting in one of my publications and how you would like to extend the work; alternatively, you could describe a particular research question you are set on exploring, your thoughts of why that question is important and how you think we could work together)
  • [Optional] Any demonstration of your past projects, such as a thesis or a publication (workshop/work-in-progress papers and posters also count)
  • Your preferred timeline for the internship or visiting position
  • Name and contact information of two references, who can provide letters of recommendation upon request

External collaboration/advising without funding commitment

If you already have your funding sources and would like to collaborate on a project with me, please tell me upfront what you expect from me. What is the project for? What are the goals? Is there a timeline? What part of my expertise do you need? The more I know, the better I can judge whether I can help. The same rules of thumb also apply if you would like to explore the possibility of me serving on your Ph.D. committee.

Alternatively, if you are broadly interested in topics related to human-computer interaction/privacy/security, it is possible that I can find some existing projects in my group for you to join. Please email me if that is the case; my students and I will then pitch some projects to you.

Informal chats

If you simply want some advice or informal chats, please send me an email with your detailed question(s). I am happy to answer via email or set up a quick meeting. I also offer public office hours (time permitting) – schedule via Calendly.


I write this page with inspirations taken from many senior colleagues and peers, including Asia Biega, Bart Knijnenburg, Blase Ur, Haojian Jin, and Pardis Emami-Naeini. Big thanks to you all :)