EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Delivering Quantum Technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University College London


Quantum technologies promise a transformation of measurement, communication and computation by using ideas originating from quantum physics. The UK was the birthplace of many of the seminal ideas and techniques; the technologies are now ready to translate from the laboratory into industrial applications. Since international companies are already moving in this area, there is a critical need across the UK for highly-skilled researchers who will be the future leaders in quantum technology.

Our proposal is driven by the need to train this new generation of leaders. They will need to 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.

We propose to train a cohort of leaders to meet these challenges within the highly interdisciplinary research environment provided by UCL, its commercial and governmental laboratory partners. In their first year the students will obtain a background in devices, information and computational sciences through three concentrated modules organized around current research issues. They will complete a team project and a longer individual research project, preparing them for their choice of main research doctoral topic at the end of the year. Cross-cohort training in communication skills, technology transfer, enterprise, teamwork and career planning will continue throughout the four years. Peer to peer learning will be continually facilitated not only by organized cross-cohort activities, but also by the day to day social interaction among the members of the cohort thanks to their co-location at UCL.

Planned Impact

The impact of the centre will come through the people it trains, and will have several forms.

First, most importantly, impact will come from their research. Through their training, the students will have not only skills to control and exploit quantum physics in new ways, but also the background in device engineering and information science to bring these ideas to implementation. As rounded scientists they will be ready to think out of the box in an industrial environment, or to make mature choices of research problem in an academic one. Our commercial and governmental partners tell us how important these skills are in the growing number of people they are hiring in the field of quantum technologies; in the longer term we expect our graduates to be prominent in the development of new technologies and their application to communication, information processing, and measurement science in leading university and government laboratories as well as in commercial research and development. In the shorter term we expect them to be involved in doctoral research of the highest international impact.

Second, impact will come from the students' communication and outreach skills. We aim to create a generation of researchers who fully appreciate the importance of communicating their work. Through the training in scientific writing offered by our project partners Nature Publishing Group and the opportunities for public engagement offered by UCL's central London location and work of its Public Engagement Unit we will equip our graduates to communicate both to their professional peers and to the broader public. We hope they will play their part in making quantum concepts part of the common currency of ideas in the twenty-first century.

Finally, impact will flow from the students' approach to enterprise and technology transfer. From the outset they will be encouraged to think about the value of intellectual property, the opportunity it provides and the fundraising needed to support research and development. This approach will be reinforced by the bespoke training offered by project partners DFJ Esprit Venture Capital. As students with this mindset come to play a prominent part in university and commercial laboratories their common background will help to break down the traditional barriers between these sectors and deliver the promise of quantum technologies for the benefit of the UK and world economies.


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