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Studentship opportunities with the UK National Quantum Technology Hubs

May 17th 2017

As a result of significant investment into a UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, a creative, adaptable, diverse and networked workforce is needed with the right balance of skills to ensure long-term benefit from new opportunities in this area. The UK National Network of Quantum Technology Hubs, led by the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York, are offering fully funded PhD studentships in the areas of sensing and metrology, enhanced imaging, quantum computing and secure communications, to help deliver the next generation of skilled quantum scientists.

The programmes are multidisciplinary in nature, aimed at developing both academic excellence and adaptable, system-based engineering skills through close collaboration with industry. Successful candidates will be part of an emergent quantum ecosystem working with many stakeholders to exploit the potential of the new emerging technologies to simulate a quantum economy. Studentships are based at multiple partner institutions across the network, including at industrial partner sites.

To find out more about the research areas of the National Quantum Technology Hubs, the studentship opportunities available and entry requirements, the Hubs have organised a webinar in collaboration with the Institute of Physics. The webinar has been scheduled for Thursday 25 May at 15:00 and will be presented by the Hub Directors: Professor Kai Bongs, Director, UK Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology; Professor Miles Padgett, Principal Investigator, QuantIC; Professor Ian Walmsley, Director, NQIT; Professor Tim Spiller, Director, Quantum Communications Hub.

To attend this free webinar, register here.

A list of all currently available studentships with our Hub is provided below.

- Quantum Communication Networks: beyond simple point to point networks                                                                                                                         Offered by the University of York, based at Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.

- High-Rate Quantum Communications Networks
Offered by the University of Leeds

- Quantum Communications and Wavelength Division Multiplexing
Offered by the University of York, based at ID Quantique, Adastral Park

- Experimental PhD project in quantum digital signatures and quantum amplifiers
Offered by Heriot Watt University

- Theoretical PhD project on quantum communication and quantum information
Offered by Heriot Watt University

- Quantum Technologies focusing on the generation of random numbers
Offered by the University of York

- Photonic systems metrology for quantum communications hardware
Offered by the University of York, based at NPL

- Quantum technologies with an ideal source of indistinguishable single photons
Offered by Heriot Watt University

- Integrated Quantum Key Distribution
Offered by the University of Bristol

Projects are expected to start in October 2017 though earlier start dates will be considered. Particular details for the projects on offer can be found through the links above, which also provide information on how to apply.

For any additional queries, please contact us at

Establishing the boundaries of quantum secure communications

Apr 26th 2017

[Reposted from the University of York website on 26 April 2017]

Scientists at the University of York’s Centre for Quantum Technologies have made an important breakthrough in the theory of quantum secure communications.


Today's classical communications, such as email or phone, are potentially vulnerable to eavesdroppers as conventional data encryption is based on the factorisation of large integers, an operation which is computationally hard on a classical computer but easily solvable on a quantum computer.

Recently, Google said that large quantum computers are only five years from commercial exploitability, therefore setting a deadline to current classical methods for private communication. Scientists say the solution comes from the field of quantum key distribution (QKD).

QKD uses particles, such as photons, to enable two remote parties to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt confidential messages. The security is not computational but based on a fundamental law of nature, the uncertainty principle.

Maximum rates

Based on this idea, secure quantum networks are being built on a large scale in the UK and other countries, with China playing an important role and also leading the exploration of quantum satellite communication.

In such a scenario it is crucial to understand the ultimate limits of QKD, in terms of maximum rates, or capacities, at which two parties can distribute secret keys in a point-to-point connection.

In a paper published in Nature Communications scientists have established these capacities through the most important communication lines, including optical fibres.


Professor Stefano Pirandola of the University’s Department of Computer Science said: “This is a breakthrough result because it establishes the ultimate performance that any point-to-point protocol of QKD cannot surpass.

“Setting these limits is extremely important for both theoreticians and experimentalists, because they provide benchmarking for new theoretical protocols and actual experimental implementations.“

The study was funded by the EPSRC via the UK quantum communications hub. 

Fundamental limits of repeaterless quantum communications is published in Nature Communications. To read, visit:

Quantum Technologies POSTnote

Apr 24th 2017

24 April 2017

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has published a briefing document today focusing on quantum technologies. POSTnotes are reports designed to provide balanced and impartial advice to MPs and Peers, and today's briefing includes information on quantum technologies from stakeholders from across the spectrum of academia, industry, government and the third sector. The result is a report providing an overview of quantum technologies, their expected impact and timescales to commercialisation, as well as current initiatives to promote their development.

With input provided by, amongst others, the Hub's Director, Professor Tim Spiller, and Quantum Networks Lead, Dr Andrew Shields, the report covers five technology areas - communications, timekeeping, sensing, imaging and computing - as well as specific applications such as secure data transmissions, timing of networks, quantum navigation systems etc. Reference is also made to the societal implications of the new technologies, for example with regard to issues of privacy and access to the new technologies.

The POSTnote 552 into Quantum Technologies is available to download here.

More PhD studentships in quantum communications and post-post quantum cryptography projects!

Feb 10th 2017

The Quantum Communications Hub is providing financial support for a further three PhD studentships, two based at partner Heriot Watt University and one based at partner Royal Holloway, University of London.

Experimental PhD project in quantum digital signatures and quantum amplifiers, Heriot Watt University

The first available award is to work on an experimental project under the supervision of Professor Gerald Buller, based at Heriot-Watt’s quantum communications experimental group ( The PhD will involve experiments on quantum digital signatures, a new quantum communications protocol pioneered by Heriot-Watt in recent years. The group has conducted quantum digital signature experiments over significant lengths of optical fibre in both laboratory and installed settings and is now examining the possibility of applications using satellite communication systems. Consequently, some knowledge of free-space and/or optical fibre photonics would be beneficial. There are also opportunities to conduct additional work in related areas, such as coherent state amplifiers and 100 GHz optical code scrambling seeded using quantum encryption keys. The student will be involved in a wide range of research activities associated with the Quantum Communications Hub and gain invaluable experience and training in the fast-growing area of highly secure communications. The work will be primarily experimental, including operation of both the data-handling and quantum-optical aspects of major trials and demonstrations.

For more information, and to apply, please check this link.

Theoretical PhD project on quantum communication and quantum information, Heriot Watt University

This studentship is offered under the supervision of Professor Erika Andersson, who leads Heriot-Watt’s quantum information theory group. The PhD will involve work on quantum signatures, quantum measurements, and other topics in quantum communication. Previously, the group has introduced various practical ways of realising quantum signatures, and examined the security of these protocols. They have also worked e.g. on measurement-device independent quantum signatures, on quantum oblivious transfer, and on the use of different types of quantum amplifiers and quantum measurements for quantum communication. Experiments related to quantum signatures and quantum communication are also performed at Heriot-Watt, and there are excellent opportunities to work with experimentalists at Heriot-Watt and elsewhere. The student will be involved in a wide range of research activities associated with the Quantum Communications Hub and gain experience and training in the fast-growing area of highly secure communications. The work will be primarily theoretical, but opportunities to contribute to experimental work may exist, depending on the ability and interests of the successful applicant.

For more information and to apply, please see this link.

PhD/Doctoral Studentship - Post-post Quantum Cryptography, Royal Holloway, University of London

A further fully funded PhD/Doctoral studentship (with partial support from the Hub) is available at the Information Security Group of Royal Holloway (University of London) in the area of post-post quantum cryptography, under the supervision of Professor Ruediger Schack.

The ongoing development of quantum-computing technology poses a threat to the security of some widely used cryptographic schemes. Post-quantum cryptography responds to this threat by designing and analyzing schemes that are immune to attacks by an adversary assumed to be in possession of a quantum computer. The more recent field of post-post quantum cryptography assumes in addition that the adversary has full access to a quantum implementation of the encryption and/or decryption device, which implies that the adversary would be able to carry out a quantum superposition attack. This project will address some of the many open questions in post-post quantum cryptography. Possible directions for research include the development of formal security models and the cryptanalysis of a variety of cryptographic schemes under quantum superposition attacks. Another potential direction is the analysis of an in-between scenario where the adversary has full quantum-computing capabilities but only limited quantum access to the device, which is gaining importance with the increasing miniaturization of components.

For more information and to apply, please see this link.

New EPSRC-funded PhD studentship in Quantum Communication Networks!

Jan 13th 2017

Hub partners University of York and Toshiba Research Europe Ltd (TREL) Laboratories, based at Cambridge, are offering a fully funded EPSRC PhD studentship for research into quantum communication networks. The project will research the technology and applications for quantum communications that go beyond simple point to point networks. It will investigate methods for distributing quantum keys between arbitrary locations in different types of multi-nodal network, as well as develop applications exploiting network based key distribution.

Most work to date on quantum communications has focused on key distribution. Digital signatures are another very important cryptographic primitive used to protect electronic data from forgery. This project will develop GHz quantum communication hardware to implement new protocols for digital signatures, the security of which is based on the laws of nature. These are based upon sharing quantum correlations between three parties: Alice, Bob and Charlie. The quantum correlations can then be used by Alice to sign messages sent to Bob, the authenticity of which can be verified by Charlie and cannot be tampered with. The technology developed in the project will be implemented in the UK Quantum Network (UKQN) being set up by the Quantum Communications Hub. The UKQN comprises metropolitan quantum networks in Cambridge and Bristol that are connected by a backbone quantum link via London.

For more information on the project and guidance on how to apply, please visit here.

We are hiring!

Jan 5th 2017

The Quantum Communications Hub is seeking to employ a postdoctoral research associate to work  in experiment and technology. The post is offered by the University of York and based at the National Physical Laboratory, at Teddington. The successful candidate will establish the measurement infrastructure for characterising optical hardware developed within the Hub consortium. In this role, existing NPL measurement capability will be applied to fibre-based systems and extended to chip-scale components and hardware for short-range, free-space applications. This requires interfacing NPL measurement facilities with Hub-developed devices. Importantly, the role holder will establish a quantum communications node at NPL for participation in demonstrations over the UK Quantum Network being established by the Hub.

The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic scientist or engineer who will contribute across this technology development spectrum.

Informal enquiries regarding this post based at the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington, UK, may be made to: Dr Alastair Sinclair ( Informal enquiries regarding the Quantum Communications Hub may be made to: Professor Tim Spiller (, +44(0)1904 322254).

For more information and to apply, please visit this link

IDQ opens UK office to support UK Quantum Technologies Programme

Nov 30th 2016

  IDQ announces a prestigious collaboration with the UK Quantum Communications Hub partnership – including BT and the Universities of York, Cambridge and Bristol – in the development of quantum communications for real world application.

GENEVA — November, 2016. ID Quantique SA (IDQ), the world leader in commercially available quantum-safe crypto solutions, has expanded to the United Kingdom with the opening of a new office.   IDQ’s UK presence will make the company’s best-of-breed technology available to a new market. It will also allow IDQ to provide research and development expertise in support of the Quantum Communications Hub (QComm Hub), part of the UK’s  National Quantum Technologies Programme. IDQ will collaborate with the QComm Hub, supporting R&D and building networks.

The UK’s Quantum Technologies Programme (UKNQTP) is a £300m 5-year initiative, built around four Hubs – one of which is the QComm Hub: a partnership of eight UK universities, the private sector (including BT) and the public sector, e.g. the National Physical Laboratory (the UK’s National Measurement Institute) and the National Dark Fibre Infrastructure Service.

IDQ has already provided Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) equipment for use in Bristol as part of a network being built there by the QComm Hub. It has also recently won the contract to provide a quantum-secure link between the BT labs at Adastral Park and Cambridge. Here, IDQ will be collaborating closely with BT, Cambridge and York Universities within the QComm Hub. Quantum Cryptography – or QKD – in combination with conventional encryption solutions, provide secure, quantum-safe encryption which is not vulnerable to threats from future quantum computers.

“Quantum communication has, up to now, struggled to overcome the challenges of real life long-distance environments with multiplexed data,” said Grégoire Ribordy, CEO of IDQ. “Opening a new office and working with the QComm Hub allows IDQ to bring our technology into a new working environment. Working in the UK gives us the chance to collaborate with world-class researchers on new uses and applications for this technology.”

Tim Spiller, Professor of Quantum Information Technologies at the University of York, and Director of the QComm Hub said, “Working closely with IDQ enables us to collaborate with the company that has unique experience in the development, sale and support of QKD systems to clients across the public and private sectors, from governments to corporates.  This experience is invaluable as we push to extend the reach of quantum secure communications across sectors and markets, within – and beyond – the UK.”

The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme aims to ensure the successful transition of quantum technologies from laboratory to industry. The programme is delivered by EPSRC, Innovate UK, BIS, NPL, GCHQ, DSTL and the KTN.

Dr. Richard Murray, Lead Technologist of Emerging Technologies and Industries at Innovate UK, said: “As the country’s innovation agency, Innovate UK’s mission includes bringing forward-looking technology to our companies, markets and people. IDQ’s decision to establish a presence in the UK is an example of the impact that the UK’s investment in quantum technologies is having on the market: attracting dynamic companies that wish to work with our world class research and industrial leadership in quantum communications.”

The opening of the UK office comes in conjunction with expansion to additional countries worldwide and CEO Gregoire Ribordy’s recent election to European Commission Quantum Flagship Project.  IDQ’s new office, Ribordy’s appointment, and the company’s participation in QComm Hub reflects IDQ’s long-standing commitment to and leadership in the supply of commercial quantum communications systems for the real world, and its ambitions to play a leading role in strategic developments globally.

About ID Quantique

Founded in 2001 as a spin-off of the Group of Applied Physics of the University of Geneva, ID Quantique is the world leader in quantum-safe crypto solutions, designed to protect data for the future. The company provides quantum-safe network encryption, secure quantum key generation and Quantum Key Distribution solutions and services to the financial industry, enterprises and government organizations globally.  IDQ’s Quantum Random Number Generator has been validated according to global standards and independent agencies, and is the reference in highly regulated and mission critical industries – such as security, encryption and online gaming – where trust is paramount.

IDQ’s products are used by government, enterprise and academic customers in more than 60 countries and on every continent. As a privately held Swiss company focused on sustainable growth, IDQ is proud of its independence and neutrality, and believes in establishing long-term and trusted relationships with its customers and partners. For more information, please visit

About the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme (UKNQTP)


About the UKNQTP’s  Quantum Communications Hub,


About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its mission is to boost productivity, increase exports and help the UK economy grow head and shoulders above other nations. For further information, see

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.  BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit

The Quantum Communications Hub is hiring!

Nov 29th 2016

We are currently looking to recruit two research positions. If you are interested in our work and would like to join the team, please have a look at the posts advertised:

  • Research Fellow in Quantum Communications (University of Leeds). For more information and to apply, check this link
  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Quantum Communications Networks (Experiment and Technology Development - University of York). For more information and to apply, check this link