Dr Najwa Aaraj

Chief Researcher
Cryptography Research Centre

Dr Najwa Aaraj is the Chief Researcher at the Cryptography Research Centre at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII). Dr Aaraj leads the research and development of cryptographic and quantum communication technologies, including post-quantum cryptography (PQC) software libraries and hardware implementations, lightweight cryptographic libraries for embedded and RF systems, cryptanalysis, quantum key distribution, quantum random number generation, and applied machine learning for cryptographic technologies. She is also Acting Chief Researcher at TII’s Autonomous Robotics Research Centre (ARRC), which is dedicated to breakthrough developments in robotics and autonomy.

Dr Aaraj earned a PhD with Highest Distinction in Applied Cryptography and Embedded Systems Security from Princeton University (USA). She has extensive expertise in applied cryptography, trusted platforms, security architecture for embedded systems, software exploit detection and prevention systems, and biometrics. She has over 15 years of experience with global firms, working in multiple geographies from Australia to the United States.

Before joining TII, Dr Aaraj was Senior Vice President of Product & Cryptography Development at DarkMatter, a cyber-security leader based in the UAE. She was formerly at Booz & Company, where she led consulting engagements in the communication and technology industry for clients globally. She also held a Research Fellow position with the Embedded Systems Security Group at IBM T.J. Watson Security Research in New York State, and with the Intel Security Research Group in Portland, Oregon, where she worked on Trusted Platform Modules and contributed to an early prototype of a TPM 2.0 based firmware. She also was a Research Staff Member at NEC Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey.

Dr Aaraj has written multiple conference papers, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) journal papers and book chapters, and received patents on applied cryptography, embedded system security, and machine learning-based protection of Internet of Things (IoT) systems.

Dr Aaraj is on the advisory board of New York-based NeuTigers, a leading-edge startup revolutionising the next generation of energy/latency-efficient artificial intelligence (AI). She is also a Board Member and adviser to multiple security and Machine Learning startups including Okinawa Graduate Institute of Science and Technology.