PhD scholarship: Space-Based Quantum Communications Platforms using Continuous Variables


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $28,597 per annum (2021 rate), indexed annually. A top-up of $10,000 per annum for up to 4 years is also available.
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions
Opening date 18 May 2021
Closing date 5 July 2021


Supervisor – Professor Timothy Ralph

This work proposes to investigate a new space-borne platform capable of quantum communications with a terrestrial ground station. Different from existing space-borne quantum communication platforms, our new platform will be based on CV (Continuous Variable) technology and will integrate the ability to seamlessly switch to classical Free-Space Optical communications when channel conditions deem quantum communications are too difficult. Currently no quantum satellite built on CV technology exists. Our research will produce a significant advance in an emerging technology space, and will allow Australia to take scientific leadership in an important aspect of ultra-secure communications from satellites. The research involves a major international aerospace company as a partner and is in collaboration with UNSW.

The successful student will be a member of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UQ and work within an internationally competitive research environment. The research project is funded by an ARC linkage project involving UQ, UNSW and Northrop Grumman, a major US aerospace company. A generous top-up and travel funds for attending international conferences and visiting collaborators are available. The principal supervisor will be Prof Timothy Ralph at UQ. The associate supervisor will be Prof Robert Malaney at UNSW. Note funding is currently subject to the grant being fully executed.

A working knowledge of quantum mechanics and optics would be of benefit to someone working on this project.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘QUANTUM-RALPH’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of physics and particularly quantum mechanics and/or optics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of quantum optics or quantum communication is highly desirable.


Professor Timothy Ralph
+61 7 3346 9693

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.