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Training and Research in our CDT


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What will the first year of the training be like?

We are expecting applicants with a range of backgrounds relevant to quantum technologies, so you will not all be experts in the same things.  The first two weeks will be spent getting everyone to a level in physics, information sciences and device principles where they can all benefit from the rest of the course.

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After that the course will be built around three intensive eight-week blocks: the first on the physics and foundations of quantum information, the second on engineering materials and devices, and the third on applications to communications and computation.  Each block will include an experimental component illustrating a particular aspect of quantum technologies, alongside lectures and workshops, and will culminate in a research case study assessing the state of a particular aspect of the field.

Slotted in between these blocks there will be regular residential schools for the whole cohort, a visit to our CDT partners at D-Wave Systems, and a tailored programme of transferable skills.

Following this there will be a short group research project and a longer individual research project in one of our research groups; together, these constitute half the credit for the MRes.


What kind of transferable skills will I learn?

Things that will stand you in good stead for a life in research: things like time management, how to write and present well for a range of audiences, programming and good lab practice.  Everyone – even those who think of themselves as theorists – will be conducting some basic experiments.  You will also benefit from a bespoke training by the UCL public engagement unit and the opportunity to perform in public events such as UCL’s renowned ‘Bright Club’ stand-up series, which regularly sells out venues in the Bloomsbury area.


What will I need to do to progress to the research part of the training?

You will need to pass the MRes degree, and also convince us that you have produced a viable PhD research proposal in collaboration with your chosen supervisor.


How will research projects be chosen?

It will be up to you to propose your own research project to the CDT.  Towards the end of the training year potential supervisors from UCL and the partner organizations will pitch possible research topics to you.  It will be up to you to select a supervisor and with him/her work up a research proposal, which you will need to present to us in order to convince us that the project is sound, viable and within the remit of the Centre.  If we think there are problems with your proposal we will work with you to improve it, and if necessary help you to identify a different topic.


What research topics will be available?

This will depend on what the supervisors suggest in a given year, and also on the particular interests expressed by the students.  The topics can be expected to span the full range of interests of the UCL quantum community.  Some examples of topics we would pitch to you if the exercise were going on now can be found here; please bear in mind that these are just a few examples, and don’t reflect the full range of work in the consortium.  If you think you know already that you are interested in the work of a particular group or a particular supervisor, feel free to contact them to find out what topics they might pitch.


What is the range of potential research supervisors?

The primary supervisor could be any of the academic staff in the broad UCL quantum community.  Many projects will be co-supervised by staff from the CDT partner laboratories, or by collaborators from other universities.


Do I need to choose a supervisor when I apply?

No.   Research projects and supervisors are selected only after the initial training year.  Your initial application is for a place on the CDT MRes programme, not to work with a particular research supervisor.