Quantum Computing

UKRI Gives £45 Million to Develop Quantum Technology

PRESS RELEASE — The UK Minister for Science announced new funding to further advance UK quantum technology research and innovation during London Tech Week.

The funding includes:

  • £8 million to fund 12 projects exploring quantum technologies for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT)
  • £6 million for 11 projects working on software enabling quantum computing
  • £6 million for feasibility studies of 19 projects in quantum computing applications
  • £25 million for seven quantum-enabled PNT projects through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)

Speaking at this year’s London Tech Week event, UK Minister for Science, George Freeman, today announced new funding to support universities and businesses working in the UK’s quantum technology sector.

This new investment, through the UK Research Technology and Innovation Mission Fund (UKRI), will build on state investment National Quantum Technology Program which has been going on for almost a decade.

Make use of quantum physics

One of 12 PNT research projects announced today is led by Dr Joseph Cotter from Imperial College London. It aims to leverage quantum physics to develop new types of sensor technology that can be used underwater or underground.

This will explore how quantum sensors can complement the use of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) that many people rely on today.

GNSS enables real-time access to the location of goods for delivery and supports the transportation of goods and services including maritime and land transit. However, it is vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, jamming, and has limited capabilities underwater and underground.

The Imperial team is developing new navigation sensor technology that will provide superior positional accuracy in the network beneath our feet and a more robust and secure alternative to GNSS.

Partnering with Transport for London (TfL), the team will test the new technology on trains. With 45% underground TfL network.

Understanding the position of trains in the rail network to a high degree of accuracy is critical to enabling advances in condition-based maintenance and rail control systems.

The project group is also supported by £400,000 from the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory.

Quantum compiler

Delivered in partnership with the National Quantum Computing Center (NQCC), 11 software-supported quantum computing projects will advance the ability of algorithms to improve the performance of quantum computers.

One project, led by Dr Aleks Kissinger at the University of Oxford, will develop the next generation of quantum compilers.

Quantum compilers are tools that translate code written by humans into something machine can run, increasing the ability to understand and taming many sources of error. This results in efficient software with guaranteed reliable performance that can be checked independently.

Feasibility studies in quantum computing

19 feasibility studies in quantum computing applications will demonstrate the commercial benefits of quantum computing for:

  • investigates the use of quantum computing and quantum machine learning to reduce carbon emissions in aviation
  • developing better methods to detect and mitigate money laundering
  • apply and commercially exploit quantum computing techniques to address operational healthcare use cases (e.g., theater roster patient allocation, triage of emergency care patients, scheduling community nurse visits)
  • create next-generation quantum computing-based approaches for enzyme-targeted drug discovery

Supported through SBRI UKRI, the seven projects will deliver quantum-enabled systems for positioning, navigation and timing.

The goal is to provide quantum-enabled sensors for navigation applications, such as magnetic field or gravity sensors. Project includes:

  • British sovereign supply of high-accuracy atomic clocks applicable to providing timekeeping and navigation in the absence of satellite navigation signals
  • industrial applications such as financial transaction stamps and future telecommunications (5G, 6+G).


Will Drury, Executive Director, Digital and Technology at Innovate UK said: “Our outstanding researchers, businesses and innovators continue to push the boundaries of Quantum Technology development, putting the UK at the cutting edge of this field. Together, through this support and investment, we will work in partnership to realize the potential of this technology for the UK economy and society.”

Developing a quantum computing testbed

It should also be noted that as part of its broader quantum computing mission, the NQCC also invested £30 million to commission the development of a quantum computing testbed (quantum computer prototype) in the UK.

The mission seeks to support the further growth of the UK’s quantum computing sector capable of delivering quantum excellence by 2025.

NQCC partnered with Innovate UK to provide competition. This Opportunities are currently open for expression of interest but closes on June 26, 2023.

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