Development of error correcting coding schemes for information reconciliation in QKD (QuNEST Doctoral Candidate 3)

“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.

Position: PhD-student

Irène Curie Fellowship: No

Department(s): Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

FTE: 1,0

Date off: 27/08/2023

Reference number: Link to vacancy text

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, 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 Candidates.

Job description

  • Project title: Development of error correcting coding schemes for information reconciliation in QKD
  • Host institution: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • PhD enrolment: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Supervisors: Schmalen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). Co-supervisor: D. Zibar (Technical University of Denmark) Mentor: Amirhossein Ghazisaeidi (Nokia Bell Labs France)
  • Research Objectives: DC3 will design codes and protocols for reverse reconciliation in CV-QKD systems. This project significantly extends the state-of-the-art by investigating novel error correction methods for reverse reconciliation. DC will design novel methods for error correction, based on a detailed information-theoretic analysis of the channel and the protocol. DC will model the channel and aim for extremely low code rate DC will approach codes beyond traditional designs based on the models provided by the industrial partner. The DC will focus on extremely low complexity of the implementation with a focus on the extremely low SNR region. During secondments DC3 will experimentally verify his codes in an extensive transmission DV/CV-QKD testbed, aiming to achieve record transmission distance and secret key rates.
  • Expected Results: 1) Reverse reconciliation scheme with modern codes, designed to maximize transmission rate and reduce system margins, 2) Experimental assessment of the schemes in conjunction with industrial partner, 3) Extension of technology towards DV- QKD schemes
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at Eindhoven University of Technology, Nokia Bell Labs France, IDQuantique

Job requirements

We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • You are creative, ambitious, hard-working, and persistent.
  • You have an MSc degree in electrical engineering, applied physics, mathematics or any other relevant program.
  • You have theoretical and applied knowledge of Quantum communications or Photonics
  • You have hands-on experimental experience in Quantum communications or Optical Communications lab based setups
  • You have good communicative skills, and the attitude to collaborate successfully in the work of a research team.
  • You have a good command of the English language (Spoken and Written).

Conditions of employment

  • 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.
  • The period of employment is 36-48 months depending on the host institution. 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.
  • 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[1]

[1] 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol.

Application Procedure

Documents requested:

  • Complete CV (Europass formatobligatory): 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.[1] 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol.
  • 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.


For more information about the individual projects, deadline for application, starting date, how to apply, project duration and any informal enquiries, please have a look at the website of the host institutions.

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