Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 11 | 10. Februar 2023

Priority Programme “Nano Security: From Nano-Electronics to Secure Systems” (SPP 2253)

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. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system. Applicants must have an active account in elan in order to submit a proposal to the DFG.

If you have not yet registered in elan, please note that you must do so by 20 June 2023 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and, later, the submission process.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes. Then start the submission and select “SPP 2253” from the list of current calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01) in their currently valid version. These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. Note, in particular, the changes which were announced in “Information for Researchers No. 61” on 1 September 2022, notably with respect to the compulsory use of the DFG’s template for CVs. As usual, the documents to be uploaded as pdf files can be prepared using LaTeX, provided the document’s structure is retained.

The review colloquium will take place in Bonn between 18 and 29 September 2023. Applicants (first and renewal proposals) are expected to present their plans during a two-hour poster session on-site in Bonn. As soon as the date and the place are fixed, both will be communicated on the pages of the SPP 2253.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Ilia Polian
    Universität Stuttgart
    Institut für Technische Informatik (ITI)
    Abteilung Hardware-orientierte Informatik
    Pfaffenwaldring 47
    70569 Stuttgart
    phone +49 711 685 60764

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:

Programme contact:

Administrative contact: