About Us

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.

What is Topological Design?

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”.

Similarly, the worlds of Topology and Chemistry merged with pioneering work done by Prof Fraser Stoddart at Birmingham on mechanically interlocked molecules. He received the Chemistry Nobel Prize in 2016 for helping to realise the advent of molecular machines.

Studying at the CDT Topological Design

Each year the CDT Topological Design recruits students from a wide variety of STEM backgrounds to join us, working on exciting and varied research projects with colleagues across the University.  If you are interested in applying for a place at the CDT, please visit our applications page to find out more information and click the link to apply online.

Working with the CDT Topological Design

The CDT works with colleagues from across the University researching areas related to topology and topological design.  We maintain a supervisor network and mailing list to promote the activities of the CDT and support research into related areas.  Information of the research areas we support can be found on our research themes pages.  If you would like to find out more about joining our network or submitting a research proposal to us, please visit our supervisors' information page to find out more.

In common with other CDTs in the UK, we work with a variety of industrial and non-commercial partners who support our activities and co-fund research.  We are always interested in developing new links with partners and exploring applied research opportunities.  To find out more information about becoming a partner to the CDT and join our mailing list, please visit our partnership area.

Contact Us

If you would like more information on the CDT Topological Design, please email the Operations Team.

You can also contact and follow us on Twitter @CdtTopDes.  Join our LinkedIn group - EPSRC CDT in Topological Design.