About the Centre

XM2 is the doctoral training programme of our Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation at the University of Exeter.

We have a well-established track record of relevant research, spanning a unique mix of interests, from microwave metasurfaces to carbon nanotubes, from the fundamental theory of electromagnetism and quantum mechanics, to new understanding in acoustics, from graphene plasmonics to spintronics, magnonics and magnetic composites, and from terahertz photonics to biomimetics.

In 2014, we started off as a £12 million Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Metamaterials, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC/EP/L015331/1), the University of Exeter and industry.

XM2 now consists of more than 60 active PhD students (Postgraduate Researchers, PGRs) from the UK, the EU and beyond, who are training in a stimulating, challenging yet supportive cohort-based environment. Since 2018, over 30 graduates went into employment in industry (e.g. QinetiQ and Metaboards) and as postdocs in Higher Education Institutions in and outside of the UK.

Cohort-based research

XM2 at Exeter provides an amazing environment for the whole research team to develop ideas and explore new innovative pathways in the areas of functional materials and metamaterials. Unlike traditional “lone scholar” PhDs, our cohorts are embedded in a strong local network of knowledge and experiences, formed by their peers, the academic supervisors and postdocs, who support the PGRs in their research and personal development.

Professional training

One of our unique aspects is that our PGRs undertake research from day 1 whilst taking relevant courses in metamaterial physics, materials engineering, device production and characterisation. At the same time we offer wider professional skills training such as industrial awareness, project management and leadership, alongside an understanding of public engagement.

Our ambition is that our PhD students graduate as highly skilled and talented researchers, with the potential to become future leaders in industry, academia, and beyond.

I am passionate about modernising the PhD programme and providing an outstanding experience for talented, early-career researchers. The conventional 'lone-scholar' approach to PhDs has served the academic community well, but today's PhD graduates are more likely than ever to find careers outside of academia, and the job roles for academics is evolving rapidly as well.  We have built a training programme that provides our graduates with the skills and understanding to become tomorrow's leaders in industry, as well as in our academic institutions.  They will leave Exeter with the ability to design, harness and exploit the potential of functional- and meta-materials, maintaining and furthering the UK's position in this rapidly-developing field. Our current researchers demonstrate fantastic spirit and engagement, resilience and the drive to make a difference.

What our students say

Hear from current PhD students about their projects, working with industry and the public, and being part of our research community at XM2

Watch videos »