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.

Our programme (1 year masters + 3 years PhD) 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.

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.

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”.