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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S02297X/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Topological Design
Principal Investigator: Dennis, Professor MR
Other Investigators:
Attallah, Professor MM Wilkin, Professor N Zhang, Professor S
Demetriadou, Dr A Constantinou, Professor CC
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
6Bit Solutions Ltd BAE Systems Carl Zeiss Ltd (UK)
Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL DYNA-LYTICS Ltd Forresters
Gate One Ltd Johnson Matthey Magnetic Shields Limited
Maplesoft National Physical Laboratory NPL NIHR Trauma Management HTC
Nikon Oxford Instruments Plc Roke Manor Research Ltd
The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd University of Colorado at Boulder University of Heidelberg
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 July 2019 Ends: 31 December 2027 Value (£): 5,913,773
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Condensed Matter Physics Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Electronics Healthcare
Information Technologies Technical Consultancy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel H – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Topology is a particular study of the spatial structure of objects, based on counting discrete properties, such as the number of holes and bridges in a sponge. Whichever way the sponge is stretched or squeezed, these numbers stay the same. In fact, the elastic properties of the sponge depend on this structure. It turns out that topological properties like this play a role in the physical properties of certain materials, such as the way they conduct electricity or how light propagates through them. This has led to an explosion of research and development into new kinds of materials with unprecedented properties, designed using fundamental physical and mathematical principles which can be fabricated and, in the future, manufactured on a large scale.

We will train the first cohort of doctoral topological scientists, who will have a broad expertise in topological science and design, focused towards the development of new topological materials that address the needs of industry. Drawn from mathematically-informed backgrounds including physics, engineering and materials science, they will develop a broad technical appreciation of topological design within all of these disciplines, and gain research experience in mini-projects in theoretical and experimental groups. Their main PhD research project can be with supervisors drawn from all academic Schools in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, in partnership with our wide range of partners from industry. This technical education will be entwined with a programme of transferable skills developing the critical skills of innovation, entrepreneurship and responsible innovation.

The academic leadership of this CDT has co-created the training programme in collaboration with a range of industrial partners who will contribute to the directions of the research projects, provide internships and help the students and academic supervisors focus on the needs of end users in their research. These partners will not only be drawn from relevant industries, such as communications, manufacturing and defence sectors, but more widely from knowledge industries including software developers and commercialisation lawyers.

The resulting CDT will be a beacon for cross-disciplinary research across the physical sciences and spearheading academic-industrial partnership over the coming decades as topological design becomes a crucial principle for the development of future technologies, underpinning the future prosperity of the UK.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk