The future is interdisciplinary. Already now, the borders between different disciplines vanish, resulting in a continuing increase of interdisciplinary collaborations in research and development. Especially in physics and engineering, merging of the professions even beyond close collaborations is substantial to transfer fundamental concepts and ideas from physics to stable and reliable systems usable for real-life applications. One prime example is the development of quantum technologies. This development demands for a new type of professional trained at exactly the interface between both disciplines, bridging not only the gap between the two, but uniting their core skills: The Photonic Quantum Engineer.
It is the goal of our Research Training Group to exactly train and thus to establish the profession of such Photonic Quantum Engineers. Our training and qualification concept is build around training through research in highly topical research projects within quantum sensing, quantum light sources, and enabling technologies. Combining the core skills of both disciplines in fabrication thechniques, materials science, electronics, data analysis, as well as theory and simulation will allow the Photonic Quantum Engineers to bring experiments in quantum physics closer to real-world technologies.
Consequently, the training and qualification of doctoral researchers in the Research Training Group is built around the interdisciplinary nature of our research. All doctoral researchers will be supervised by two PIs, one from each discipline. Moreover, they will be working and reporting in the research groups of both PIs.
A major aspect of the science-and-technology training pillar will be training through research. Each doctoral researcher will work on a highly topical research project in a highly active research area within the field of quantum engineering and related enabling technologies. Due to the nature of our Research Training Group, these projects will involve interdisciplinary research combining physical and engineering approaches. The doctoral researchers will be trained in the typical workflow in labs of both disciplines. Depending on the project, this will involve different experimental and theoretical methods. The unique union of institutes from physics and engineering enables the access to a broad range of facilities and know-how. All doctoral researchers of the Research Training Group, independent of their affiliation, will be able to use all infrastructures that are helpful for their research project. Examples are nanostructuring facilities (electron- and ion-beam lithography, direct-laser writing, metal-organic vapor-phase epitaxy, …), tools for characterization and measurement (optical and electron microscopy, optical spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, …), as well as design and simulation software including dedicated workstations for scientific computing.
The second training pillar of our Research Training Group is to provide transferrable-skills training. This includes language and presentation-skills training as well as training on communication, networking, leadership, team work, and organization. Additional possibilities are training for job applications or social media and outreach training. These skills will be imparted in talks, seminars, and workshops.
The third training pillar will be entrepreneurial training. While the general focus of the Research Training Group is on physics (on the more fundamental side) and engineering (on the more application-oriented side), this pillar is designed to bridge the gap between academia and industry and to change mindsets to the benefit of the foundation of startups.