Science Minister Chris Skidmore has today announced £94 million of funding for the UK’s Quantum Technologies Research Hubs – including a quantum computing and simulation hub led by Oxford University.
Hubs centred at Oxford, Birmingham, Glasgow and York will revolutionise computing, sensing and timing, imaging, and communications respectively. The collaborations will involve 26 universities, 138 investigators and over 100 partners.
Among the developments in quantum research already taking place in the UK are technologies that will allow fire crews to see through smoke and dust, computers to solve previously unsolvable computational problems, construction projects to image unmapped voids like old mine workings, and cameras that will let vehicles ‘see’ around corners.
The National Quantum Technologies Programme, which began in 2013, has now entered its second phase of funding, part of which will involve the newly announced £94 million investment in four research hubs by the UK government, via UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Through these hubs, the UK’s world-leading quantum technologies research base will continue to drive the development of new technologies through its network of academic and business partnerships.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Harnessing the full potential of emerging technologies is vital as we strive to meet our Industrial Strategy ambition to be the most innovative economy in the world.
“Our world-leading universities are pioneering ways to apply quantum technologies that could have serious commercial benefits for UK businesses. That’s why I am delighted to be announcing further investment in quantum technology hubs that will bring academics and innovators together and make this once futuristic technology applicable to our everyday lives.”
UKRI’s chief executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “The UK is leading the field in developing quantum technologies, and this new investment will help us make the next leap forward in the drive to link discoveries to innovative applications. UKRI is committed to ensuring the best research and researchers are supported in this area.”
Oxford will lead the UKRI EPSRC Hub in Quantum Computing and Simulation, which will enable the UK to be internationally leading in quantum computing and simulation. It will drive progress towards practical quantum computers and usher in the era where they will have revolutionary impact on real-world challenges in a range of multidisciplinary themes, from the discovery of novel drugs and new materials through to quantum-enhanced machine learning, information security and even carbon reduction through optimised resource usage.
The hub will bring together leading quantum research teams across 17 universities into a collaboration with more than 25 national and international commercial, governmental and academic entities. It will address critical research challenges and work with partners to accelerate the development of quantum computing in the UK. Hub research will focus on the hardware and software that will be needed for future quantum computers and simulators.
Professor David Lucas of Oxford’s Department of Physics, principal investigator for the new hub, said: “The quantum computing and simulation hub will drive forward the UK’s progress in developing future quantum computing technology. It will build on the successes of the Oxford-led ‘Phase 1’ NQIT hub, which has delivered world-leading performance in quantum logic and quantum networking, as well as a number of spinout companies to take quantum research out of the lab into the commercial arena.”