Research

Bath receives investment in doctoral training and quantum technologies

Cross-section of optical fibre

Light transmission through an optical fibre preform fabricated at the University of Bath

The University of Bath will receive more than £4.5 million funding towards supporting doctoral training and quantum technologies research.

The funding was announced this week by Science minister Jo Johnson as part of a £204 million investment in science and engineering research.

Doctoral Training Partnerships

The University of Bath will receive £4.2 million for its programme, which will provide funding for approximately 60 Doctoral students in the Faculties of Science and Engineering & Design with a focus on the areas of low carbon futures, sustainability, advanced materials & devices, healthy living, data & analysis, and digital media & visual technologies.

Bath is one of forty UK universities to share in £167 million that will support doctoral training over a two year period. The funds will come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which has changed how funding is allocated through its Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs).

The DTP funds will support students for the academic years beginning October 2016 and 2017. The changes have been made to give institutions greater certainty and increased time to plan their DTP programmes.

Universities & Science Minister Jo Johnson commented: “We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation, and supporting the vital work of scientists and engineers is key to this. This £4.2 million of funding for the University of Bath will enable them to take on more Doctoral students to support their most promising research, leading to new discoveries and commercial partnerships. It will also give more students the chance to study at PhD level, boosting high level skills in key areas and supporting jobs and growth.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Bath, Professor Jonathan Knight added: “This award will enable Bath to increase our Doctoral training provision in science and engineering, supporting our ambition to be an international leader in graduate education.”

Quantum Technology Hub

In addition, the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials in the University of Bath’s Department of Physics will receive around £500,000 to contribute to the Networked Quantum Information Technologies (NQIT) Quantum Technology Hub through its optical fibre fabrication facility and optics labs.

The NQIT Hub, led by the University of Oxford and involving 29 leading quantum centres and major companies, will explore the properties of quantum mechanics and how they can be harnessed for use in technology.

The NQIT Hub's focus is on quantum information processing, which will enable users to solve problems with which even the most powerful of today's supercomputers struggle. They will accelerate the discovery of new drugs or materials by simulating different molecular designs using programmable software, thus dramatically reducing the laborious trial and error of making each molecule in the laboratory.

Another application is making sense of "big data", the immense torrent of information about economics, climate, and health that can help us make better predictions of future trends.

To enable quantum information processing, the NQIT Hub will build quantum networks: nodes for storing and processing information that are linked together using individual photons (single particles of light). The most convenient way of transmitting these photons is through the same optical fibre as used for telecommunications, however, many of the systems that can function as quantum nodes emit light at wavelengths unsuitable for propagation in fibre.

The team at Bath will use fibres to convert these photons into longer wavelengths that can be transmitted over longer distances, enabling researchers to link nodes in remote locations which will provide long distance secure communications.

The minister made the announcements during a visit to the University of Oxford where he met academics working in the Networked Quantum Information Technologies (NQIT) Quantum Technology Hub, which is led by Professor Ian Walmsley, one of four that form part of the £270 UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

Jo Johnson added:  “We are investing in training and providing capital for research to ensure that the National Quantum Technologies Programme can make the most of the country’s research talents.

“These strategic investments will help science push at the boundaries and make discoveries that are taken through into innovations.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Bath, Professor Jonathan Knight commented: “This award will enable the world-leading novel optical fibre technologies taking place within the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials to be exploited within the field of quantum information. It will further develop links between our own community and the national quantum technologies initiatives.”

For media enquiries:

Vicky Just
University Press Office
44 (0) 1225 386883
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