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Future of Quantum Technology given significant funding boost

Marianne Knight

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced that the next wave of funding has been committed for the four quantum technology research hubs across the UK, building on the first phase of the National Quantum Technologies Programme.

  • Quantum technologies have the potential to develop new medical devices, sensors that can see underground or around corners and computers that can solve today’s unsolvable problems
  • It has been identified as a key area for economic growth and future potential opportunity for UK businesses within the modern Industrial Strategy

The development of quantum technologies to solve everyday problems such as finding unmapped, buried infrastructure, has today been given a significant boost following confirmation of £80 million funding for research in the next phase of the National Quantum Technologies Programme. This renewed commitment to quantum technology research sits alongside plans for other additional investments in research and innovation in this important area.

The funds will be managed via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), as part of the coordinated National Programme involving a range of partners. Funding will be made following peer review assessment being completed satisfactorily.

Led by Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford, and York, these four hubs have already taken great strides in developing the technology to address many everyday problems.

Some examples include:

  • Developing sensors that could enable the mapping of pipework and cabling under road surfaces reducing disruption of road works where the business costs associated with this is almost £1 billion in London alone
  • Boosting insight of mental health that could lead to a greater understanding of neuro-degenerative diseases including dementia and developmental disorders
  • Imaging sensors that can have the ability to see around corners and through clouded water and fogged air
  • Developing fundamentally new computing technologies that could solve currently intractable data analysis problems

Phase One of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme had an initial investment of £270 million, and leveraging £36 million over five years, the programme established four quantum technology hubs, involving 20 universities and 225 companies across the UK. They are complemented by training and skills hubs to develop the next generation of quantum engineers and entrepreneurs.