PhD studentships in quantum computing


Quantum Software Lab, School of Informatics, Edinburgh

  • Locations: Informatics Forum, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB, GB
  • Apply before: 31/03/2024, 23:59
  • Number of positions: 7

At least seven fully funded PhD positions are available at the University of Edinburgh specifically within the theme of Quantum Computing. You will be based in the School of Informatics, with supervision from one or more of 40+ expert academics from the School of Informatics, the School of Mathematics, the School of Physics and Astronomy, the School of Engineering, or EPCC.

As part of an interdisciplinary cohort, you will develop a deep understanding of foundational quantum computing principles, quantum information, quantum software development, and mathematical modelling of different problems tailored to quantum sciences, receiving integrated studies in Quantum Informatics, including a bespoke residential programme at the National Quantum Computing Centre. Your project can focus on applications in different domains, ranging from particle physics to quantum computer architecture engineering, from mathematical fundamentals to interfacing with high-performance computing. Topics may include but are not limited to quantum algorithms, quantum programming, quantum machine learning, quantum cryptography, quantum error correction, quantum architecture, and topological quantum computing. For more information, please contact a potential supervisor.

Candidate’s profile

  • You have a strong interest in quantum informatics, broadly construed. In your first year, you will receive taught courses in Quantum Computing; background experience in the topic is desirable but not strictly necessary
  • You have a strong Bachelor’s Hons degree at 2.1 classification or above (or international equivalent) and/or Master’s degree in a relevant subject (computer science, mathematics, physics, engineering, economics, or related subject)
  • You are proficient in English (both oral and written)

Studentship and eligibility

The studentships will fully fund each doctoral student through their PhD study and will include:

  • Full time PhD tuition fees for a student with a home fee status (£4,768 per annum) or overseas fee status (£31,500 per annum)
  • A tax-free stipend of £19,237 per year for 4 years
  • A Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) of £9,000 (total) to be used to cover the costs of specialist research equipment, conference registrations, travel and subsistence

Funded studentships are open to UK, EU and international students; funding will be allocated in accordance with the funder’s eligibility requirements.

Studentships also include 8 weeks of paid annual leave, plus funding for sick leave and parental leave.

Application Information

The programme start date is 01 September 2024.

Applicants must apply via the University’s admissions portal (EUCLID) and apply for the LFCS PhD full time programme with a start date of September 2024.

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons and actively encourage applications from students from diverse backgrounds and/or with protected characteristics.

You should state “Quantum Informatics” and Dr. Chris Heunen in the proposed supervisor section, even if you envision working with a different supervisor.

Complete applications must be submitted by 31 March 2024 in order to be given full consideration. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in an online interview with a selection panel. All appointments will be made on merit.

Applicants must submit:

  • All degree transcripts and certificates (and certified translations if applicable)
  • Evidence of English Language capability (where applicable)
  • A statement of intent describing your experience and motivation to research Quantum Computing, which can take the form of a research proposal but doesn’t need to (max 2 pages)
  • A full CV and cover letter describing your background, suitability for the PhD, and research interests (max 2 pages)
  • Two references (note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure reference letters are received in a timely manner and preferably before the deadline)

Only complete applications (i.e., those that are not missing the above documentation) will progress forward to Academic Selectors for further consideration.


The University of Edinburgh is constantly ranked among the world’s top universities and is a highly international environment with several Centres of excellence. The School of Informatics is one of the largest in Europe and currently the top Informatics institute in the UK for research power, with 40% of its research outputs considered world-leading (top grade), and almost 50% considered top grade for societal impact. EPCC is the UK’s leading Centre of Supercomputing and Data Science expertise, for example hosting the national supercomputer Archer2.

The School of Informatics is exceptionally strong in the area of Theoretical Computer Science. Its Quantum Software Lab, in collaboration with the National Quantum Computing Centre, is the largest of its kind in the UK, and its 60+ members identify, develop and validate real world use cases for quantum computing.

Successful applicants will be part of the Quantum Software Lab and will have the opportunity to interact with the other members of the group, and more widely within the Schools of Informatics, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, and EPCC.

The School of Mathematics is one of the world’s leading mathematical sciences departments. The School of Physics and Astronomy has a strong track record in fundamental physics at all energy scales, ranked 4th in the UK and 1st in Scotland in the Research Excellence Framework 2021 for the quality and scale of its research. The School of Engineering addresses diverse complex challenges across the entire field of engineering, at the micro- and macro/global scales, ranked 3rd in the UK and 1st in Scotland for quality and breadth of research, and has produced more than 50 technology spin-outs.