£70m funding to secure UK position as a world-leader in quantum technology

Science Minister Amanda Solloway has announced 38 new UK projects that will benefit from more than £70m government investment to help mark the start of Quantum Tech Digital Week.

The new projects aim to solve global challenges and address key industrial challenges, from developing batteries for electric vehicles to innovating energy storage systems that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, via the use of advanced quantum technologies.

The technologies that have transformed our lives – the building blocks of modern computers, the mobile phone, the laser, the MRI scanner – are all products of quantum science. This involves harnessing the unique ways that light and matter behave at tiny atomic or subatomic levels.

A new generation of quantum technologies exploit breakthroughs in the way that we are able to precisely manipulate and measure these special properties, to engineer quantum devices – like sensors and computers – with dramatically enhanced functionality and performance.

Today’s significant cash injection will help drive forward quantum technologies and ensure the UK becomes a world-leader in this emerging field.

One project being led by Adaptix, a medical imaging company, in collaboration with the University of Manchester will use enhanced imaging to allow surgeons to effectively differentiate between healthy tissues and tumours in cancer surgery.

In addition, QLM, a start-up from Bristol, in collaboration with BP and the National Grid will use the funds to develop quantum enabled gas sensors that detect industrial leaks, helping to prevent natural gas being lost to the atmosphere and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

The funding forms part of the government’s commitment to increase research and development investment to 2.4% of GDP.

Speaking at the Quantum Tech Digital Congress, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s most advanced quantum technology companies tackling some of the most pressing challenges – from speeding up the diagnosis of cancerous tumours to detecting harmful gas leaks. I am delighted the government is able to provide this thriving sector with the backing it deserves. The projects I have announced today will help to maintain the UK’s status as a world leader in quantum technology.”

The £70m government investment is part of its Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The projects involve over 80 companies and nearly 30 universities and research organisations across the UK including the University of Glasgow, University College London and the National Physical Laboratory.