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UKNQT Hubs

During the first phase of the National Quantum Technologies Programme (2014 – 2019), EPSRC funded a national network of Quantum Technology Hubs through a £120 million investment in four hubs over five years.  These were to harness the UK’s strengths in quantum science by turning this into strength in quantum technologies.  As part of their investments in the second phase of the National Programme, EPSRC has refreshed the Quantum Technology Hubs with a £94 million investment in four hubs over five years, to maintain the technological research leadership that the UK has established in quantum technologies through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. 

UK National Quantum Technology Hub

The UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, led by the University of Birmingham, brings together experts from Physics and Engineering from the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Imperial, Nottingham, Southampton, Strathclyde and Sussex, NPL, the British Geological Survey and over 70 industry partners. The Hub has over 100 projects, valued at approximately £100 million, and has 17 patent applications.

It aims to develop a range of quantum sensor and measurement technologies that are ripe for commercialisation by UK businesses, and, alongside this, it is also looking to train people working within the UK quantum technology community.

Quantum sensors have the potential to be cheaper, lighter, smaller, more sensitive and more energy-efficient than existing, classical sensors. Advances in this area have applications across the board, from healthcare to navigation, to archaeology, and everything in between.


Quantic - Quantum Imaging Centre

This hub is led by the University of Glasgow and incorporates the universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Oxford, and Strathclyde.

It is working closely with industry to develop exciting new types of ultra-high sensitivity cameras with capabilities far beyond the current state-of-the-art. This includes improving existing imaging systems through quantum technologies.

Applications of quantum cameras include visualising gas leaks, seeing through smoke, and even looking round corners or underneath our skin.

The hub is working on a dazzling range of quantum imaging techniques that its current industry partners have helped them to identify as being of potential commercial use. These include single-photon visible and infrared cameras, single-pixel cameras, extreme time-resolution imaging, 3D profiling, hyper-spectral, ultra-low flux covert illumination, imaging beyond line-of-sight, and imaging of local gravity fields.

The Glasgow hub has a £4 million ‘Partnership Resource’ which you can bid into if you have a quantum imaging idea that you think could benefit the UK economy. They can potentially support your small-scale proof-of-concept projects, as well as longer projects to develop technology demonstrators and translation to market.

Within this hub you can also apply for access to the £3 million Scottish Funding Council “innovation space” whereby businesses can physically work alongside academic teams to develop demonstrators into prototypes.

There is also a Quantic flyer available for more information.


NQIT

The Quantum Computing & Simulation Hub (QCS Hub) is a collaboration of 17 universities, led by the University of Oxford and supported by over 25 national and international commercial and governmental organisations.

Building on the achievements of the previous NQIT Hub between 2014-19, the QCS Hub aims to tackle key research and technological challenges in order to accelerate progress within quantum computing – thereby helping to realise a whole new quantum information economy in the UK.  Mobilising a diverse range of platforms and disciplines, its research spans across the full stack of hardware and software, from core technologies to potential applications for both near-term and long-term approaches.

Its extensive ecosystem of academic, industrial and governmental partners places it at the cutting edge of building the world’s leading quantum computer demonstrator, which will have the potential to provide answers to a vast array of real-world questions – like how to accelerate the development of new drugs and materials, and how to ensure secure communication between many parties.

The Hub is very keen to hear from UK industry in existing and potential markets, and has a dedicated Partnership Resource Fund for collaboration with new partners.

There is more information available on their website.


Quantum Communications Hub

The EPSRC Quantum Communications Hub is a synergistic partnership of ten UK research-leading universities (Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Kent, Oxford, Queen’s Belfast, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and the lead – York) private sector companies and public sector bodies that have come together in a unique collaboration for research-led development and commercialisation of quantum secure communications. The Hub is funded through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme as part of a national network of four quantum technology hubs consortia. The particular focus of this Hub’s work is on quantum key distribution (QKD) - one of the most mature quantum technologies for the secure distribution of encryption keys, and one which is considered especially promising for early commercialisation.

Major Hub achievements over the first phase of the national programme (2014-2019) include:

  • Building and launching the UK’s first Quantum Network, demonstrating that quantum secure communications can operate in the real world, alongside conventional high speed optical communications, using standard commercial grade optical fibre
  • Advancing miniaturisation of QKD technologies, and demonstrating the world’s first chip-to-chip QKD encrypted transmission
  • Demonstration of free-space QKD between a handheld device and wall mounted terminal, paving the way for wireless short-range QKD with continuous supply of provably secure encryption keys

Significant progress was also made towards real-world realisation of new approaches beyond QKD, such as quantum digital signatures, which were moved beyond laboratory demonstrations over several metres of optical fibre, to 100km distances in metropolitan networks.

The overall vision for the next five years (2019-2024) is to integrate quantum secure communications at all distance scales through the development of a range of relevant applications and services with the potential for integration with existing infrastructure.

Specifically the Hub is aiming to:

  • Extend and evolve the UK Quantum Network - exploring new networking approaches including repeater-enabling quantum technology and entanglement distribution; develop novel reference architectures for the integration of classical and quantum communications; run technology trials and demonstrations over the Hub networks, and use them as testbeds to engage users
  • Advance miniaturisation of QKD technologies onto chips - enabling integration of low-cost, reliable and handheld quantum technologies with current consumer devices and service operations
  • Overcome the current limitations of terrestrial fibre-based QKD -  developing and trialling satellite quantum communications technologies for the secure transfer of information globally

Underpinning all Hub technologies is security – of devices, systems and end-to-end.  This cross-cutting theme embraces work on metrology, calibration and worldwide certification of standards for industry (particularly through partnership with NPL and ETSI); integration of quantum and post-quantum technologies; undertaking cryptographic and security analysis, vulnerability analysis and testing, combined with the development of countermeasures – all from the perspective of providing practical and secure applications and services.