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Research Scientist, Consensus Protocol

Contribute to the design and evolution of Ethereum’s consensus protocol

type of job


updated at

18 months ago

job details

role overview

This is a great role for someone who is fascinated by the idea of contributing to the design and evolution of Ethereum’s consensus protocol. The thought of unexplored distributed systems research with real-world impact should be exciting to you.

You will be able to collaborate with leading academics in their fields through existing grants. You will also have the opportunity to initiate new grants and thus shape research directions.

Research Goals

  1. One major goal is to have a consensus protocol which is capable of finalizing, but that is also dynamically available – not halting when participation is below a certain threshold unlike classical consensus protocols like PBFT, Tendermint etc.
  2. Another goal for the protocol is to have very strong reorg-resilience properties, meaning that honest proposals are not reorganized out of the chain.
  3. Finally, the Ethereum protocol aims to always support home validation, which means that the consensus protocol must allow for a very large validator set without increasing the hardware and bandwidth requirements beyond what’s reasonable for a home staker.


There are two main facets to the role (however, for the right candidate, the role can be adapted to an appropriate combination of the two):

  • Improving the current protocol to strengthen its security properties. This involves theoretical research, for example on the right way for an available chain and a finality gadget to interact (in our case, LMD-GHOST and Casper-FFG), but can also involve working closely with the Ethereum consensus specifications and with implementers, depending on the candidate’s interest and skills.
  • Fundamental redesigns of the consensus protocol with a focus on simplicity. This work is much like academic research: we expect to produce papers to share this research. The objective is an eventual contribution to the Ethereum protocol to satisfy (and shape) the long-term goals.


  • You are fascinated by what is possible with the Ethereum protocol and love the values it represents. Bonus points if you have notifications enabled for the consensus-specs repo.
  • You have experience in analysis of consensus protocols (correctness, security, and performance) and are able to design secure constructions yourself. Preferably, you have relevant past publications on permissionless BFT consensus protocols. Bonus points if you have a PhD (or other formal training) in a relevant domain.
  • You’re independently minded and self-motivated. You’re able to work without much oversight, going deep on a topic until you’ve built a sufficient understanding.
  • You’re a clear writer & communicator. You’re able to share what you’ve learned with others, increasing the leverage of your work by striving to help others not only understand but even extend your work.
  • You care about the Ethereum ecosystem and are aligned with its long-term success. You don’t want to take shortcuts today at the expense of the network’s security or decentralization properties tomorrow.

about us

The Ethereum Foundation (EF) is a global non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Ethereum and related technologies. Our mission is to do what is best for Ethereum’s long-term success. Our role is to allocate resources to critical projects, to be a valued voice within the Ethereum ecosystem, and to advocate for Ethereum to the outside world.


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Ethereum Foundation
Ethereum Foundation
Is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Ethereum.