Pre-announcement: quantum technology career development fellowships

Apply for funding to develop your quantum technology career and work towards becoming an independent researcher.

You must be hosted by an eligible UK research organisation.

You must have one of the following:

  • a PhD
  • at least four years’ experience in a relevant field.

Your proposal must be at least 50% within EPSRC’s remit. It can cover any aspect of quantum technology research.

A small number of fellowships will be sponsored by the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC).

There is no limit on how much funding you can request. Funding is available for between three to five years.

Who can apply

This award is to enable those in postdoctoral positions to transition towards leading an independent research group.

Applicants should hold a postdoctoral position (or have equivalent experience if not currently in an academic setting) and be working in the quantum technology sector.

If you have already been in receipt of significant funding or have been leading in an area of technical development, you may wish to apply for an EPSRC Open Fellowship.

Significant funding is usually defined as awards including postdoctoral research assistant (PDRA) time, capital equipment or in excess of £100,000 full economic cost.

You must have either:

  • a PhD
  • at least four years’ experience in a relevant field by the start of your fellowship.

Applicants should be able to show how they will develop an independent career based on their own original research ideas and vision.

Applicants must be able to hold their fellowship at one of the following:

  • a higher education institution
  • a research institute
  • an independent research organisation accredited by UKRI
  • an eligible public sector research establishment.

A host organisation letter of support will be required as part of the application.

There are no eligibility rules regarding number of years of postdoctoral experience or requirement for applicants to hold a permanent academic position.

We encourage applicants who have taken a non-standard career path after their first degree. We also welcome applications from candidates who want to move back into research after a career break or any other type of break from active research.

Please contact the quantum technologies team if you wish to discuss eligibility prior to application.

Email: quantumtechnologies@epsrc.ukri.org

We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI.

Submissions to this call will count towards the EPSRC Repeatedly Unsuccessful Applicants policy.

What we're looking for

This fellowship award is designed to support talented postdoctoral researchers, or those with equivalent experience, looking to:

  • lead their own research programme
  • transition from postdoctoral researcher to independent investigator
  • develop their research profile within the quantum technology sector.

The award provides the opportunity to carry out an ambitious programme of research and accelerate personal and professional career development.

Read more about EPSRC’s quantum technology portfolio.

Additionally, in order to support research in quantum computing, several of the fellowship awards will be supported by the National Quantum Computing Centre through this opportunity. These should focus on aspects of quantum computing, such as:

  • algorithm development
  • standards
  • benchmarking
  • simulation.

To support these positions access to prototype hardware will be available through the NQCC. Other areas of underpinning technology such as control systems and theory, materials for quantum computing platforms and device development are also encouraged.

Your proposal could include:

  • theoretical or experimental research
  • training and development activities to enable you to expand or enhance your role and career
  • collaboration with other research bodies, both in the UK and abroad, industry or other users.

Read trusted research guidance from CPNI on building international collaborations.

Research organisations should show their commitment to applicants by providing additional support and resources as evidenced in the host organisation statement. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • opportunity to supervise doctoral students
  • mentoring and career development support
  • leadership opportunities.

How to apply

When the opportunity is launched, proposals should be prepared and submitted using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

Full information will be given on this page when the opportunity is launched.

Contact details

For further information about applying for the quantum technologies career development fellowship.

Email: quantumtechnologies@epsrc.ukri.org

Additional info

Quantum technologies are set to transform the global society and economy with significant efforts being put into developing quantum technologies around the world.

The National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP) was established in 2014 to make the UK a global leader in the development and commercialisation of these technologies. This focus has set the UK apart from the international competition but the UK needs to continue moving forward as technological developments gather pace.

The NQTP strategic intent sets out the programme’s ambitions for the next 10 years and aims to make the UK:

  • a global centre of excellence in quantum science and technology development
  • the go-to place for quantum companies or global companies to locate their quantum activities
  • the preferred location for investors and global talent.

None of this can be achieved without a “quantum ready” workforce and the NQTP strategic intent makes a commitment to “attract, grow and retain talent” within the UK.

The transition of quantum technologies into commercial products requires a new generation of quantum physicists, engineers and mathematicians who:

  • are fluent in multidisciplinary and systems-based approaches
  • possess the right entrepreneurial and business skills
  • can adapt to new roles in industry.

People and know-how are the most important elements of the emerging quantum technologies ecosystem.

During the first phase of the National Quantum Technologies Programme (2014 to 2019), EPSRC funded a national network of quantum technology hubs through a £120 million investment in four hubs over five years. These were to harness the UK’s strengths in quantum science by turning this into strength in quantum technologies.

As part of their investments in the second phase of the National Programme, EPSRC has refreshed the Quantum Technology Hubs with a £94 million investment in four hubs over five years. This to maintain the technological research leadership that the UK has established in quantum technologies through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

During the first phase of the NQTP, the first round of quantum technologies fellowships aimed to support both the individuals and their teams to help realise some of the country’s potential.

The fellowships were aimed at early and established career stage academics whose research focused on the direct exploitation of quantum phenomena. For example, superposition or entanglement, to address the challenges of translation of quantum science through technology to eventual application.

The aim of the fellowships was to develop potentially transformative research in areas that contribute to the development of novel quantum technologies. These have now, or will shortly, come to an end and it is timely to revisit the need for fellowships in the quantum technology field.

EPSRC and NQCC are both key partners within the National Quantum Technology Programme (NQTP) and share the ambition to maintain the UK’s reputation as an excellent place to do research. As an NQTP partner, EPSRC are committed to growing, retaining and supporting talented people to lead within the quantum technology arena.

The NQCC is dedicated to placing the UK at the forefront of quantum computing on the international stage. Excellent research leaders will form the backbone of the UK’s quantum enabled economy and this opportunity is one aspect of a broader strategy to ensure that the UK has the future scientific leaders it needs.

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