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Strathclyde quantum technology hubs share in £94 million funding

Quantum computer. Image by Getty Images

A UK-wide quantum technology programme, in which the University of Strathclyde is a major partner, is to receive government funding worth £94 million.

The National Quantum Technologies Programme, which began in 2013, has now entered its second phase of funding, part of which will be the funding via UKRI’s (UK Research and Innovation) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The Programme includes four Quantum Technology Hubs, in: Sensing and Timing; Quantum Enhanced Imaging, Quantum Computing and Simulation and Quantum Communications Technologies. Strathclyde remains the only university which is a partner in all four hubs.

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The hubs will continue the development of technologies that will allow computers to solve previously unsolvable computational problems, communication systems with guaranteed security and new types of magnetic sensors that can dramatically enhance ability to diagnose brain and heart conditions.

Total investment in the programme amounts to more than £1 billion since its inception. The new round of funding follows an announcement earlier in 2019 of £153 million UK Government funding, through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to be matched by more than £200 million of investment from the private sector.

Professor Erling Riis, of Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, who is active in the Sensing and Timing Hub, said: “We are pleased to see this significant investment in the Quantum Hubs and our continued partnership in all four hubs demonstrates the breadth of fundamental research in this field at Strathclyde.

“This programme is accelerating the delivery of quantum technology to industrial settings. There is potential for a vast range of translation and practical applications for this technology.”

UK 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 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.”

Industry leaders have formed an independent Quantum Technology Leadership Group to represent the needs of industry with government and look at the commercial activity and economic impact of quantum technologies. The group is to be co-chaired Dr Graeme Malcolm, Strathclyde alumnus, CEO of photonics company M Squared Lasers and was previously joint Managing Director of Strathclyde spinout Microlase.
Professor Riis is the leader at Strathclyde lead for the Sensing and Timing Hub, along with Dr Jennifer Hastie. The other leaders at Strathclyde are: Quantum Enhanced Imaging - Professor John Jeffers and Professor Martin Dawson; Quantum Computing and Simulation – Professor Andrew Daley; Quantum Communications Technologies – Dr Daniel Oi.