Chancellor announces quantum and 5G investments

Chancellor Philip Hammond with Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald. Photo by HM Treasury.

The city of Glasgow is set to receive a share of an £80 million investment in quantum technology research that could save lives, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced today on a visit to the University of Strathclyde.

The funding will be given over five years to four UK development centres - including Glasgow – to create technology that could help save more lives in search-and-rescue missions, hostage situations and help firefighters tackling a blaze.

In future, quantum imaging technology could be used to help emergency services get a more accurate, live and high-quality image before embarking on rescue attempts. The technology could also be used to see through snow storms, around corners and to map hidden underground hazards.

Technological revolution

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, met with Strathclyde researchers in the University’s Technology and Innovation Centre – the cornerstone of the growing Glasgow City Innovation District, and home to some of the researchers who will benefit from the funding.

Mr Hammond said: “The UK is a world leader in Quantum technologies, but others are investing hard to catch up with us.

 “The £80 million in new funding, that I have announced today will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution.

 “Technological leadership boosts our economy and our productivity, meaning higher growth and higher wages.”Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University, said: “Quantum technology opens the door to many new possibilities, from more efficient drug discovery and space applications, to vastly improving communication and safety.

“We were delighted to welcome the Chancellor to Strathclyde to show him first-hand some of the pioneering work being carried out here on campus, in partnership with industry. Today’s funding announcement reflects the potential of the internationally-leading research collaborations in our city bringing together academics, business and industry and government to make a real impact on the world around us.”

While on campus, the Chancellor also announced at least £25 million be made available to UK industry to develop next generation (5G) mobile technology in specific sectors of the economy.

Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre and wider Glasgow City Innovation District are home to growing clusters of collaborative research in areas including 5G and quantum technology.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark said: “Quantum technologies offer endless benefits to people: from sensors locating utilities deep underground without the hassle and disruption of excavating to developing cameras that can visualise dangerous gas leaks.

“We have been clear in our commitment to stretch the boundaries of what is possible in this exciting technology, and that is why we have identified quantum as a key future sector within our modern Industrial Strategy that has the potential to boost productivity, create high value jobs and build on our reputation that UK science and research is a force to be reckoned with.”

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: "Quantum computing promises to transform our lives and solve problems that today's computers are unable to address.

"Thanks to our National Quantum Technology Programme and this new funding from government we are extremely well placed to pioneer this groundbreaking innovation."

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Sir Mark Walport, said: “This new funding for the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme will provide reassurance to the research base and the industries in the field that the UK is serious about being a world leader in the field and is investing long term.”