Ruhr University » SecHuman

Welcome to SecHuman

SecHuman is a doctoral program focusing on Security for Humans in Cyberspace from an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. 13 PhD students with technical as well as backgrounds in humanities explore issues in IT security. Companies as well as partners from politics serve as advisors, making sure that the questions in focus are of relevance for society. Besides the technical disciplines, researchers from various fields including education, journalism, linguistics, media science, peace research, as well as social science serve as principal investigators in the project. The PhD school is part of the Horst Görtz Institute, one of the leading institute in IT security. The PhD program SecHuman is funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Culture and Science (MKW). Besides the Ruhr University also the FH Dortmund as well as the TU Dortmund are partners in this project.

Coming up next

"Cyber Security and International Law" Wednesday, 16 January 2019, 16:00–17:30

Professor Dr. Robin Geiß, LL.M. (NYU)

Host Institution and Venue:
Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV)
4th Floor, Room 4.46
Massenbergstr. 9B
44787 Bochum

The lecture will be held in German.
Informal registration via email is appreciated (

3rd SecHuman Summer School 2019

further information will follow soon.

SecHuman Kolloquium (weekly Kolloquium)
In our interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary Kolloquium, we meet to share our latest research. Besides talks organized by our PhD students, we also invite scientists from outside to share they research on IT security.

SecHuman Kolloquium:
fixed dates on Thursday, 10-12 pm in IC 03/444-414


[13.04.2018] Why Is It Often So Hard to Understand IT Specialists?

Linguist Steffen Hessler analyses how the communication between IT experts and end users could be improved.

It’s such a relief once the professional arrives when the computer refuses to cooperate. But then it gets complicated when he or she explains which measures you could take when something isn’t working next time. There’s a reason why the brain shuts down the moment IT experts start explaining things. Steffen Hessler, who is doing his PhD at the SecHuman Graduate School, researches them. He’s also investigating ways to improve communication.
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[19.03.2018] How Hackers Learn

Many an idea has been stolen due to electronic components being counterfeited. Insights into the methodologies applied by hackers might help render chips more secure.

Enterprises often invest a lot of time and money into the development of sophisticated electronic components. Sometimes, competitors who employ means that are not entirely legal benefit from such developments, once they manage to copy the inventions by analysing the finished hardware products. Due to so-called hardware reverse engineering, idea theft occurs on a regular basis. Conducting a tandem PhD project, psychology PhD student Carina Wiesen from the Educational Psychology Research Group (Prof Dr Nikol Rummel) and IT security researcher Steffen Becker from the Chair for Embedded Security (Prof Dr Christof Paar) are analysing the methods applied in such cases. Their collaboration is carried out under the umbrella of the NRW Graduate School “Sec-Human”, which focuses on the human factor in IT security.

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How to get in touch with the Forschungskolleg SecHuman

Coordinator Susanne Kersten
Susanne.Kersten (AT)