Professor Dr. Sebastian Faust, TU Darmstadt, and Professor Dr. Stefan Dziembowski, University of Warsaw, have been selected to receive the 2020 Copernicus Award from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP, Fundacja na rzecz Nauki Polskiej) for their services to German-Polish research collaboration. The jury appointed by the DFG and the FNP chose the two researchers for their outstanding cooperation in theoretical cryptography and IT security. Their joint research on the mathematical foundations of encryption techniques has significantly contributed towards making the use of information technologies and the associated data transfer process more secure against attack and more efficient at the same time. The vital contribution of their work, in the jury's view, lies in the way they bring different security models together.
Faust and Dziembowski have been collaborating for approximately ten years, since they first met at a specialist conference. This long-standing partnership has resulted in a large number of publications. One key area of their joint research is the development and analysis of countermeasures to protect against side-channel attacks, which use the power consumption of a smart card, for example, to attack IT security systems. In 2014, the pair received the Best Paper Award from the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) at the international conference EUROCRYPT for their work on harmonising theoretical and practical security models for side-channel attacks. Another focus of their joint research is blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. Their collaborative work on proof-of-work mechanisms has also attracted a lot of attention, potentially contributing to making virtual currencies like Bitcoin much more energy-efficient. Their research work, in which they often incorporate early career researchers, has met with considerable resonance in the scientific community and has influenced professional practice in the use of information technologies. Sebastian Faust and Stefan Dziembowski intend to continue their collaboration in the years ahead.