About the Doctoral Training Programme
Quantum technologies involve the control and manipulation of quantum states to achieve results not possible with classical matter; they promise a transformation of measurement, communication and computation.
The highly-skilled researchers who will be the future leaders in this field must be equipped to function in a complex research and engineering landscape where quantum physics meets cryptography, complexity and information theory, devices, materials, software and hardware engineering. UCL’s Doctoral Programme in Delivering Quantum Technologies brings together a team of almost forty academic experts with key players from commerce and government and a network of international partner institutes to train those research leaders.
As breakthroughs in quantum technologies move out of the lab and into industrial applications, graduates from our programme will be uniquely placed to benefit, with training and collaboration with industry partners (from quantum tech startups to large multi-nationals) throughout the programme, and doctoral-student-focussed entrepreneurship training. All students receive training in outreach and scientific communication, to enable them to become confident ambassadors of this new field. Guidance and support is provided by a team of PhD supervisors from across UCL's Quantum Science and Technology Institute (UCLQ), over 40 academics from 4 university departments, including Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the London Centre for Nanotechnology and Physics and Astronomy. The CDT's cohort structure provides a positive and supportive environment for our students throughout their studies and into their careers.
We have partnered with over 20 companies and institutes to deliver the CDT. Our partners include companies and institutes developing quantum computing, quantum sensing and metrology, and quantum cryptography technologies, those aiming to apply those technologies in their core business. Our partners also include experts in particular training aspects. We believe that a thorough understanding of intellectual property and skills scientific writing will be essential for future quantum technologists, and that those skills are best learned from the experts.
- What will my path through the centre look like?
The first year will be spent in high-level professional and technical training, covering the research skills needed for future quantum technologies from fundamental physics to information sciences and device engineering. It also includes a group project and a longer individual project performed in one of the centre’s research groups. This training year leads to the award of the Master of Research (MRes) degree. Students who are successful in the MRes will then move on to a three-year research project (often in collaboration with one of the CDT's partners) with one of the centre’s research groups, leading to the award of a PhD.
- What are the advantages of research training in the centre?
The training year provides a broad background in all the disciplines relevant for quantum technologies. We find that very few students emerge from their undergraduate study with this background, and those entering the field of quantum technologies often have to shop around to assemble the research skills they need; the MRes year is designed to provide all of these up-front.
Finally, because you will be trained as part of a cohort of students you will have a supportive network of colleagues around you to help you through the highs and lows of starting out in your research career.
- How big is the centre?
We aim to admit around 10-12 students per year. There is a pool of around forty potential supervisors at UCL, with additional supervisors in the partner laboratories.
- What funding is available?
The CDT offers fully funded studentships covering tuitions fees and a stipend at the standard UCL PhD rate (currently £16,777 per annum) to cover living costs. Students also receive generous support for training, research expenses and travel during their studies.
Funding is initially offered for one year and will be extended for a further three years (i.e. to a total of four years) for students who progress to the research component of the programme.
A limited number of funded places are available for non-EU candidates which will additionally cover the higher fees charged for those students.
We can also consider applications to join the CDT from students who already have funding from other sources, e.g. from external graduate scholarships.
- Who will be directing the centre?
Prof. Dan Browne, (Physics and Astronomy) is the director of the CDT. He is assisted by the Centre Manager, Lopa Murgai, and co-directors, Prof. Sougato Bose (Physics and Astronomy), Dr. Mark Buitelaar (LCN), Prof. John Morton (LCN / Electrical Engineering), Prof. Marzena Szymanska (Physics and Astronomy) and Prof. Paul Warburton (LCN / Electrical Engineering).
- Who are the partner organisations and what are their roles?
CDT partners collaborate with the centre on training and research. They include companies engaged in quantum technologies development and those who will apply quantum technologies to their business. The CDT has also partnered with some experts in areas such as scientific publishing and intellectual property law.
- Can international students apply?
Yes! Our CDT has admitted students from all over the globe. We have funding for international students in each cohort and welcome their application. Please follow this link for further information on funding for international students and language and visa requirements.
- Who should I contact if I have a question?
If you have a general question about the CDT, please contact Centre Manager Ms Lopa Murgai (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the first instance. If your question is regarding CDT admissions, please contact Admissions Tutor Dr Mark Buitelaar (email@example.com).
Research and Training
- What kind of transferable skills will I learn?
Things that will stand you in good stead for a life in research: things like time management, how to write and present well for a range of audiences, programming and good lab practice. Everyone – even those who think of themselves as theorists – will be conducting some basic experiments. You will also benefit from a bespoke training by the UCL public engagement unit and the opportunity to perform in public events such as UCL’s renowned ‘Bright Club’ stand-up series, which regularly sells out venues in the Bloomsbury area.
- What research topics will be available?
This will depend on what the supervisors suggest in a given year, and also on the particular interests expressed by the students. The topics can be expected to span the full range of interests of the UCL quantum community. If you think you know already that you are interested in the work of a particular group or a particular supervisor, feel free to contact them to find out what project areas they might be willing to supervise.
- What is the range of potential research supervisors?
The primary supervisor could be any of the academic staff within the broad UCL quantum community or CDT partners. See the UCLQ People page to learn about the research supervisors in the Centre.
- Do I need to choose a potential supervisor when I apply?
No. Research projects and supervisors are selected only after the initial training year. Your initial application is for a place on the MRes programme, not to work with a particular research supervisor.
There is one exception to this. Every year, we offer Advanced Project Choice studentships for specific projects, often co-funded by a partner. These studentships are advertised separately, and have their own application deadline. They are aimed at students who want to choose their project before they start their path through the Centre.