Information for Prospective Research Supervisors

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Topological Design offers fully funded studentships in a wide range of research themes related to topology.     

The CDT Topological Design offers an ambitious 4-year PhD programme with integrated study, recruiting up to 10 students a year to research a variety of interdisciplinary areas of topological design.  While based in the School of Physics and Astronomy, the CDT supports research projects in Schools across the University.  We welcome the submission of research projects from colleagues from working in topology and related areas, linked to one of the Centre's research themes.

Joining the CDT Topological Design Research Network

The CDT Topological Design supports a wider research network of colleagues interested in our work and research.  Through this network we promote events and news about the CDT, keep colleagues informed about submission of new research projects and offer useful support on the development of interdisciplinary research and relationships with commercial partners.

If you would like to join our network and stay in touch with the CDT, please complete our web form and we will add you to our mailing list.

Working with the CDT Topological Design as a Research Supervisor

The CDT provides a unique opportunity to supervise excellent postgraduate research students from a diverse range of academic backgrounds from across the physical sciences and engineering.  The Centre provides fully-funded studentships in a broad range of research projects in a multidisciplinary environment with a common theme of applied topology (including topological materials, topology optimisation, topological data analysis, cell complexes, etc) from fundamental physical science and mathematics to translational engineering and technology. 

Students in the CDT are funded for 4 years, including a first-year training programme in research and professional skills, before students join their supervisors' research groups in years 2-4.

Supervisors play an important role in the CDT's academic community, providing all the students with a research context in their own field, contributing to the educational development of the training programme and engaging with external partners.

We encourage research projects with named industrial or research partners, and can provide advice and support to help potential supervisors develop links with relevant commercial organisations.  We have existing partnerships with a variety of companies in a wide range of industrial sectors.  Please find out more about the organisations we work with on our industrial partner pages.

Developing a research project with the CDT Topological Design

Proposed projects should be multidisciplinary, with first and second supervisors ideally from different research groups.  Project proposals should include an overview accessible to our incoming students and other researchers in EPS, including an explanation of the link with topological science and engineering, and a summary of short, exploratory mini-projects that would take place in the first year.

Each project proposal will be assessed by the CDT management board, looking at the following criteria:

  • Excellence in research.
  • New research fields or interdisciplinary collaborations between different research groups.
  • Partnerships with external organisations including industry.  Priority will be given to proposed projects which bring 50% of co-funding from non-UKRI sources, from a partner organisation or other sources.
  • Research in topological science and engineering at the University of Birmingham.

Please note, academics who are already primary supervisors of a current student in the CDT cannot be a first supervisor in a proposal in the subsequent academic year, although they can be second supervisors.  Academics may submit more than one proposal as first supervisor, but will be assigned no more than one student.  Currently, we are accepting research projects for allocation of students in the 2021-22 intake.

We are happy to provide advice and suggestions for proposed drafts.  In the first instance, please contact the CDT Director, Mark Dennis.

To submit a research project for consideration by the CDT team, please download and complete a copy of our research proposal information pack (word, 118KB ) and upload it on our web form

Opportunities for co-funded CDT studentships

As well co-funding PhD studentships through direct contracts with partner companies, the CDT also offers the opportunity for UoB PIs with existing research funding in the field of topological design, to use this funding to support a studentship with us.  The criteria for using grant funding to support a studentship are:

  • Must be research related to topological design conducted at the University of Birmingham.
  • Funds can come from industrial partner subject to the company agreeing to this arrangement.
  • Funds can come from a non-commercial partner organisation or research body which are not derived from UKRI.
  • Up to £40,000 can be allocated to receive a fully-funded 3-year PhD studentship.

If you would like to discuss how the CDT can work with you on a co-funded basis with your existing research grant, please contact the Head of Operations and Development, Hannah Roberts.