Core Team

Melanie Knieps

PhD, Project Lead


Melanie Knieps currently researches trust in cybersecurity settings and the darknet. Since 2021, she is a postdoc at the Digital Society Initiative at the University of Zurich. As part of a multidisciplinary research team, she works in the project “Promoting trust in cybersecurity through ethics and law” which aims to provide data, insights, and recommendations on non-technical aspects of cybersecurity.

Nico Ebert

Prof. Dr., Project Lead


Nico Ebert has a background in information systems and is a senior researcher/lecturer in the Cybersecurity and Process Management group at the Institute for Business Information Systems at ZHAW. His research interest is human factors in data protection and information security. He is a fan of applied and interdisciplinary research that combines expertise from computer science, information systems, psychology, and other areas. Nico holds a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of St. Gallen and is on the Swiss Association for Corporate Data Protection (VUD) advisory board.

Leyla Ciragan

PhD, Lead Education


benjamin Ambühl

PhD, Postdoc


I am a postdoctoral researcher at the ZHAW and UZH, working on behavioural and organizational aspects of cybersecurity. Previously I worked at Eawag, leading a research project in WaSH of an international consortium. Having completed studies in Social Psychology, Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology and holding a PhD in Health Psychology of the University of Bern, my research focuses on the behaviour of individuals and organizations. I am particularly interested in behaviour change processes concerning sustainable use, greater acceptance, and increased stewardship behaviour towards shared resources and technologies. For this, I conduct research on the concept of psychological ownership and systematic behaviour change frameworks on individual and organizational level, using interdisciplinary approaches and qualitative and quantitative methods.

Marc Rennhard

Prof. Dr.


Marc Rennhard is the Director of the Department Information Technology, Electrical Engineering and Mechatronics at ZHAW School of Engineering. Before, he led the Institute of Computer Science (InIT) at ZHAW School of Engineering and the Information Security Research Group at InIT. His main research and teaching interests lie in information security, with a specific focus on software security, automated security testing, and security engineering. He has led about 20 applied research projects, most of them funded by CTI/Innosuisse and in cooperation with industry partners. Marc holds a PhD from ETH Zurich on anonymous Internet communication and an MSc degree in Electrical Engineering, also from ETH Zurich.

Thierry Schaltegger

PhD Candidate


Thierry Schaltegger is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Zurich. His background is in Psychology and Economics and his doctoral research is focused on the role of the human factor in cybersecurity. The main interests of his research are decision making under uncertainty, risk and behavioral economics. He is a team member of the DSI-Project “CYREN ZH” which aims to bridge the gap between research and practice to increase the cyber resilience of the canton of Zurich.

Regula Sprecher

Outreach & Events