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Paul A Smith received a BSc (with honours) from The University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, in 1986, an MSc in microwave engineering from Bradford University, Bradford, UK, in 1989, and a PhD in the microwave properties of high-temperature superconductors (HTS's) from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), Manchester, UK, in 1991.

From 1991 to 1993, he was a Research Fellow with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics with UMIST. In 1993, he was a Research Fellow with the Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in Materials for High Performance Applications, prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK, in 1994, during which time he was involved with communications applications of HTS's. For two years, he was with the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), Malvern, UK, where he was involved with high-performance radar.

In 2001, he returned to The University of Birmingham, taking up a lectureship with the Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering. He has authored or co-authored papers in the field of microwave HTS's and microwave dielectrics. He is currently involved with novel communication components and ferrite materials and devices.

He joined STFC working on Low Tc Superconducting cavities in 2016. Since then he has been working on the European Spallation Source (ESS) project, to characterise High Beta cavities.