In the Autumn Statement 2013 the UK government announced an investment of £270m over five years into a National Quantum Technologies Programme to accelerate the translation of quantum technologies into the marketplace, to boost British business and make a real difference to our everyday lives.
The vision is to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion-pound new quantum technology markets, and to substantially enhance the value of some of the biggest UK-based industries.
The programme supports investments in research, innovation, skills and technology demonstration to help UK industry to commercialise these new technologies. At first, UK industry will produce devices for niche applications in defence, secure communications, information technology and oil and gas, before evolving into more mainstream, consumer markets. The programme encourages this by funding grants to UK companies to help them identify and develop uses, applications and markets for new technologies which will impact their business.
A national network of Quantum Technology “Hubs” will help accelerate the development of the technology and is closely linked to funding for industry-led projects, providing an easy entry point for companies interested in unlocking the potential of emerging quantum technology markets.
In April 2015, Innovate UK, EPSRC and Dstl successfully conducted the first round of grant funding for industry led projects. These supported projects were either looking to understand more about the market and use for quantum technologies, develop components or bring products, based on quantum technologies to market.
Centres for Doctoral Training in quantum technology will ensure the next generation of researchers in this field are supported and a Quantum Metrology Institute at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will also form part of the programme. In addition, the programme will be enhanced by aligning with other investments such as a Dstl and MOD programme to develop demonstrators of quantum timing, navigation and gravity imaging devices within 3 to 5 years.
The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme is delivered by EPSRC, Innovate UK, BIS, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).