Topological Design PhD Integrated Masters and research

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Topological Design draws on expert researchers from across the Sciences and Engineering, who use topological principles to make new discoveries and design new materials and devices with unusual mechanical, optical, electronic and magnetic properties.

Topological Design is concerned with the functionality of an object or device derived from its shape rather than the material it is made from. Topology is the branch of mathematics that describes properties of objects which are preserved under continuous deformations (such as stretching, bending, twisting and crumpling).

Our programme, 1 year taught + 3 years research, includes:

  • 1st year taught courses covering all aspects of Topological Science (including Condensed
  • Matter Physics, Electromagnetic and Microwave Engineering and Materials Science);
  • 1st year mini-projects in theoretical and experimental groups, and an industrial internship;
  • A 3-year cutting-edge research project in specialist research teams with world-leading research profiles and facilities, with themes in quantum physics and technology, mechanical and vibration engineering, electromagnetism and photonics, manufacturing and 3D printing, soft matter and chemistry, health and life sciences and many more.

Why study this course

Topological Design is concerned with the functionality of an object or device derived from its shape rather than the material it is made from. Topology is the branch of mathematics that describes properties of objects which are preserved under continuous deformations (such as stretching, bending, twisting and crumpling).

In the last few years, topological concepts have reshaped our understanding of Condensed Matter, Optics and Photonics, Ultra-cold atoms and the Mechanics of Materials, and exploiting topological properties has the potential to revolutionise technology.

The University of Birmingham has been at the forefront of Topological Science. Historically, the worlds of Topology and Physics merged with the seminal work of Profs Tony Skyrme, David Thouless and Michael Kosterlitz at Birmingham, the latter two received the Physics Nobel prize in 2016 for opening “the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states”.

Fees and funding

We have a number of fully-funded 4-year PhD studentships available to UK nationals and EU citizens resident in the UK for the past 3 years, and some studentships are available for all EU citizens. Candidates with possession of their own funding (e.g. via a non-EU government scholarship) are also welcome to apply for a place of study.

International students are not eligible for funded studentships, but if they secure external funding to cover their tuition fees and living expenses, we would be happy to consider them for a place in the CDT. Contact us to discuss fees.

Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact us directly or email financialsupport@bham.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

Required subjects and grades:
First Class Honours or equivalent

We require candidates to secure at least a 2.1 or equivalent in their undergraduate studies. We consider applicants with a background in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineering or Material Sciences, but we also consider other subject areas.

How to apply

We are now recruiting for the 2019 cohort of the CDT in Topological Design. We have a number of fully-funded 4-year PhD studentships to start in October 2019, available to UK nationals and EU citizens resident in the UK for the past 3 years, and some studentships are available for all EU citizens.

Candidates with possession of their own funding (e.g. via a non-EU government scholarship) are also welcome to apply for a place of study.

Candidates should have an undergraduate degree in Physics, Materials, Electrical Engineering or other related disciplines (preferably with First class honours or equivalent), with an interest in interdisciplinary science and engineering, demonstrated mathematical ability, and an enthusiasm for communication. No prior knowledge of Topological Physics required.

Apply via the application portal

Application guidance

Under section "Research Details"

Screenshot of postgraduate applications portal research details section

  • Choose "Advertised research area"
  • Code or title of project: "Topological Design CDT"
  • Name(s) of proposed supervisor(s): "Topological Design CDT"

Under section "Funding"

Screenshot of postgraduate applications portal funding section

  • Choose "Other"
  • Other details: Topological Design CDT

include 'Topological Design CDT' for "Project Tile" and “Supervisor(s) name”.

Finally, forward the confirmation of your application to td-admissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

There is no formal deadline by which applications must be submitted, but applicants should note applications can only be considered once all supporting documentation has been received (including references) and available funding and places to study are limited. Therefore early submission of your application to study is strongly encouraged.

For any information about the application process, or other general enquiries about the CDT, please email: td-admissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Research interests of staff

We are focused on understanding and exploiting the topological properties of structures to achieve specific combinations of desirable and exotic physical properties in new materials and devices.  Such structured materials, which possess properties not occurring in the natural world, are called topological metamaterials.

We explore material topology in real space, and how it can lead to strong, lightweight materials, and also material topology in reciprocal space, leading to topologically protected modes and channels.

Visit the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Topological Design to learn more.

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