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QuNEST Doctoral candidate (DC2) on Development of modulation and shaping for QKD

QuNEST Doctoral candidate (DC2) on Development of modulation and shaping for QKD

Irène Curie Fellowship
Electrical Engineering


The Information and Communication Theory Lab (ICT lab) is currently seeking to recruit, starting in February 2024 1 Doctoral candidate/Research Associate (m/f/d) working on Modulation and Error Correcting Codes for quantum key distribution applications within the framework of the European Doctoral Training Network “QuNEST” (QuNEST Doctoral Candidate 2).

Research Programme Description

QuNEST– Quantum Enhanced Optical Communication Network Security Doctoral Training” is hiring 11 Doctorate Candidates to be funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Networks. QuNEST is a highly interdisciplinary and intersectoral Doctoral Network composed of leading academic and industrial partners. The consortium consists of six academic institutions, namely: Eindhoven University of Technology (Coordinator), Technical University of Denmark, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, University of L'Aquila, University of Warsaw and  University of Geneva as well as the companies: ADVA Network Security, Exatel, IDQuantique, Infinera Germany, KEEQuant (SME), NKT Photonics, Nokia Bell Labs France, Telecom Italia Mobile, Quantum Optical Technologies (SME), Quantum Telecommunications Italy and VPIphotonics and involves seven different European countries. The diverse consortium provides a unique and timely opportunity to train students in quantum physics and optical communications.

The driving force for QuNEST - is to provide high-level and highly collaborative training to 11 highly achieving Doctoral Candidates. This Doctoral Network is a highly multi-disciplinary, spanning areas of quantum physics, simulations, photonics, optical transmission, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) protocols, implementation security, error correction algorithms, digital signal processing, networks and control, requiring cross-disciplinary and intersectoral training targeted at creating experts in this emerging multidisciplinary field. The QuNEST Doctoral Candidates will be trained by doing research, in which they will demonstrate the potential of combining quantum and classical optical data signals in a single fiber with the aim to develop ground-breaking and commercially attractive, short-to-medium term solutions targeting European industry leadership in this highly challenging sector. QuNEST will train much-needed future scientists and engineers who will design, build, deploy and operate the next generation quantum secured optical communications infrastructure.

The Doctoral Network program is designed to follow technical, scientific, and transferable skills, enabling the next generation of young researchers/engineers with excellent skills in understanding the challenges of quantum secure optical communications. All Doctoral Candidates will carry out secondments and placements with industrial partners at the earliest possible opportunity. Transferable skills and technical workshops from industrial partners will be central to the training of the Doctoral Candidate.

Host institution

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) is a highly rated technical university located in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. With an annual budget of 500 million euros, TUE has over 3,000 staff members and 13,000 students and is dedicated to groundbreaking research and education in engineering, science, and technology. TUE has created the new Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute for Photonic Integration and Quantum Technology. Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands offers (pre)graduate engineering programmes (BSc and MSc) and post-graduate technological design (MTD), PhD and teacher training programmes (MSc) and post-academic continuing education. The courses are research-driven and design-oriented. TU/e coordinates several prominent Dutch research schools and institutes, such as Institute for Photonic Integration (IPI) and the Center for Quantum Material and Technology (QT/e) have strong position and a role to play within international research networks. The TU/e is hence a natural partner for technology-intensive enterprises. The campus is a fertile breeding ground for new business ventures. The TU/e hosts the Dutch national centre on III-V-semiconductors and optoelectronics. With these facilities, TU/e have one of the world’s best-equipped academic research centres in the field of Photonics and Quantum Communications

The Information and Communication Theory Lab (ICT Lab) at TU/e is a globally recognized research group focusing on information and communication theory, and its applications. At the ICT Lab, we study information processing in a broad sense. We focus on finding fundamental limits but also on the data processing techniques (often codes and digital signal processing algorithms) and architectures that aim at approaching these limits. Main areas of interest are source coding, channel coding, multi-user information theory, security, and machine learning. We typically use information-theoretical frameworks to model the scenarios under investigation. This allows us to find out what the optimal trade-offs are. The scenarios that we study often result from close interaction with industry.

Curious to hear more about research at the ICT Lab? Please view this video.

Job Description

  • Project title: Development and analysis of modulation and shaping schemes for quantum key distribution protocols
  • Host institution: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • PhD enrolment: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Supervisors: Alex Alvarado, Gabriele Liga, (Eindhoven University of Technology), Laurent Schmalen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). Mentor: Antonio Napoli (Infinera).
  • Research Objectives: To design modulation formats and error correction protocols for QKD schemes. The doctoral candidate will jointly design the protocol and the high-order (shaped) modulation format for practical settings. Information-theoretic security of QKD with such finite-cardinality constellations for the specific error correction protocol under consideration will be analysed. The susceptibility of the proposed techniques and constellations to finite-size effects resulting from a finite number of communication attempts will be investigated. The final goals are to increase the state-of-the-art secret key rates and transmission distances in practical QKD settings. The doctoral candidate will tailor the proposed protocol and modulation format to the state-of-the-art error correction codes.
  • Expected Results: Error correction protocol for QKD schemes with shaped modulation formats designed to maximize secret key rates and transmission distances. Experimental assessment of the protocol in conjunction with industrial partner. Extension of the techniques with advanced channel code designs.
  • Secondments: Secondment periods are planned at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Nokia Bell Labs France and University of Aquila. 


  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or a related field.
  • Strong background in digital signal processing, communication theory, and coding theory.
  • Proficiency in programming languages such as MATLAB, Python, or C/C++.
  • Strong motivation to deliver groundbreaking work and ambition to excel.
  • A research-oriented attitude.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • Motivated to develop your teaching skills and coach students.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level).

Please note: Each project requires a different mix of skills and attitude. Please use the TU/e PhD Competence Profile to determine which competences you find most important and want to mention as a job requirement (aside from the aspects mentioned above).


A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • The period of employment is 48 months with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and attractive participation in conferences.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • The successful candidates will receive a gross salary in accordance with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) regulations for Doctoral Candidate researchers. According to the MSCA regulation, if the recruited doctoral candidate has or acquires family obligations during the action duration, a family allowance will be added, in case of eligibility.
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
  • The Doctoral Candidates are expected to travel to network partners under three secondments for a typical duration of 2-6 months. Additionally, the Doctoral Candidates are expected to participate in outreach activities including, but not limited to, YouTube videos, social media updates, participation in public events and campaigns, as well as dissemination to popular press.

Eligibility and mobility criteria (mandatory requirements EU rules)

  • The recruited researchers must be doctoral candidates, i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment.
  • The recruited researchers must be employed full-time, unless the granting authority has approved a part-time employment for personal or family reasons
  • The recruited researchers must be working exclusively for the project
  • Recruited researchers can be of any nationality and must comply with the following mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date - unless as part of a compulsory national service or a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention

Informatie en sollicitatie

Documents requested:

  • Complete CV. The candidates are allowed to pursue a maximum of three positions in the QuNEST programme. If more than one position is pursued, please clearly indicate all the positions that are pursued with priorities on the first page of the CV.
  • Motivation letter (maximum 1 page per position applied) should state why the applicant wishes to pursue the specific research and why the applicant thinks to be an ideal candidate for the position.
  • Scan of certificates showing BSc, MSc and other courses followed, with grades and if it is possible a ranking.
  • Up to three recommendation letters and/or contact e-mail addresses with a brief professional description (title, position, relationship with applicant) of the referring person.
  • Up to two written scientific reports in English (e.g. MSc thesis, traineeship report or scientific paper)
  • Eligibility Statement: for verifying the MSCA requirements, the candidates clearly indicate the country or countries of the main activity (work, studies, etc) and country or countries of residence in the last 5 years with the exact dates.

Selection Process:

The selection process of invited candidates contains two phases:

In the first phase, a wide range of selection practices will be used (including expert assessment, face-to-face interviews, etc.) to evaluate the potential candidates. The selection committee for each doctoral candidate will be composed of three members: the main supervisor from the hosting institution, a QuNEST representative from another beneficiary and the future secondment manager of the doctoral candidate.

In the second phase, the selected candidate will be evaluated by QuNEST’s Recruitment, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The committee addresses gender balance and diversity issues within the entire Doctoral Network and needs to approve the selected candidate.

QuNEST deals with a recruitment process based on the European principles of openness, fairness and transparency that guarantee a selection of candidates in respect of merit and gender balance. All institutions have clear equal opportunities policies ensuring equal and fair recruitment and employment of men and women.

Please note that all submitted applications will be checked against the defined eligibility and mobility criteria. Applications that do not follow these criteria will not be considered. the targeting starting date is 1st of February 2024.