PhD Translational Quantum Technology AQ

Quantum technology has been selected by the UK Government as a key area of innovation, moving science into real-world applications. The first phase of the UK National Quantum Technology initiative has received £350 million of government funding to create a flourishing industry in this area in the UK. Four Quantum Technology Hubs have been established as flagship projects in this program.

This postgraduate training programme is aligned with the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, an £80 million collaborative effort led by the University of Birmingham in partnership with the Universities of Glasgow, Nottingham, Southampton, Strathclyde and Sussex, the National Physical Laboratory and over 70 companies.

For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

The PhD programme offers a unique opportunity for students to undertake a research in a multi-disciplinary environment between science, engineering and industry. Students benefit from participating in both the technology translation and applied research activities carried out within the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, and from the educational programmes offered by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. The MRes part of the programme comprises classroom taught quantum physics-oriented modules for students with engineering backgrounds; technology-orientated modules for students with physics backgrounds; and an independent research project that is documented in a substantial thesis. The research project consists of a team element; all students will organise themselves to present a technical demonstration at a national or international conference. There is also an individual research element, which takes place in industry or in relation to a participating company.

The PhD programme will consist of the 1 year MRes carried out at the University of Birmingham and a 3 year PhD project in one of the partner Universities of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology. PhD placements in the National Physics Laboratory (NPL) and industry partners will be supported. Students decide on the PhD project at the beginning of the programme and MRes activities will be tailored to build up specific technical knowledge needed for the PhD.

Year One - MRes

The MRes will include 70 credits of classroom taught modules and a research project worth 110 credits, consisting of team and individual elements.

The team element of the research project teaches technical, team working, project management, communication and presentation skills with an emphasis on responsible research and innovation. The individual element of the research project focuses on problems relevant to industry and will be carried out in close collaboration with industry partners.

Years Two-Four – PhD

This will be a three-year long research project at one of the Hub’s partner universities. Secondments to industry or the National Physics Laboratory (NPL) can also be supported.

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Why study this course

This course is aimed at students who want to put the engineering or physics skills acquired in their undergraduate study, or their work experience in industry, into practice. Working in a multi-disciplinary environment with close industry interactions, the course will provide a unique ‘lab-to-market’ experience within the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

The UK is leading globally in this field; this is an opportunity to translate quantum science into real-world impact, relevant to economy and society whilst learning from world-leading experts. 


Year One - MRes:

Taught modules can be selected from any m-level module offered by the College of Engineering and Physics Sciences. Selection and timetabling will be discussed with the supervisor and tutor at the beginning of the programme and tailored to the individual needs of the student.

The research project consists of team and individual elements, and will be assessed by a substantial thesis.

Years Two-Four – PhD

Students will enter into an established 3-year PhD programme at one of the partner universities of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees 2019/20 academic year:

  • £4,320 UK/EU students, full-time
  • £2,160 UK/EU students, part-time
  • £21,420 International students, full-time

Learn more about fees and funding.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD. You will be able to apply for funding for the 2018 to 2019 academic year in summer 2018.

Follow the video link below to find out more
Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

Further information is available at the student finance zone.

Entry requirements

First or 2:1 Honors degree in a physics or engineering subject or equivalent qualification.

International students

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries.
For non-native English speakers: IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.5 in reading and writing, and at least 6.0 in listening and speaking. Learn more about entry requirements

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology staff covers a wide range of research and development interests. These can be found on the Hub’s website and on individual staff member’s web pages.

Learning and Teaching

The Birmingham led UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology is a cross-disciplinary centre, involving staff from the Schools of Physics, Civil, Electrical and Materials Engineering, as well as staff from a number of other Schools across the University. It will translate fundamental science and applied research in quantum sensors and metrology based on atomic probe particles, providing high level educational opportunities in these fields.

The Hub’s research activities include research in the development of sensors for gravity, magnetic fields, rotation, electromagnetic fields and time. It also researches their applications in a diverse range of sectors including aviation, communication, construction, defense, energy, finance, healthcare, oil and mineral exploration, transport and space.

The Translational Quantum Technology programme aims at preparing students for the challenges in translating quantum sensors and metrology devices based on atoms as probe particles into real-world applications. After the programme, students should understand the underpinning science and technology; the needs of end-user applicants; and the impact of these quantum technology devices on society. They should be able to move seamlessly between academia and industry, and translate scientific outcomes into technology.

The programme will create a strongly networked cohort of students with practical experience in academia and industry. It aims:

  • to develop students' research and technological skills, and their knowledge of research methods applicable to the specific issues arising in quantum technology-related research;
  • to ensure that students are aware of state-of-the-art developments in quantum technology in specific technical and operational topic areas;
  • to allow students to develop the understanding necessary to identify new and emerging research needs in the emerging quantum technology industry;
  • to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills required to independently undertake a significant research project of relevance to the quantum technology industry including users of quantum technology.

This programme is a unique opportunity to acquire translational skills, including specific skills of relevance to the emerging quantum technology industry. The UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors is actively engaged with a growing number of industry partners, currently standing at 70 companies from various sectors of the economy. Industry secondments to our partners will foster career prospects.