UK Quantum Industrial Projects Boosted by £50m Funding

“Quantum is no longer a technology of the future but a technology of today."

The nation’s quantum industry has received some help in the form of £50 million funding from the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP).

Announced today (4 November) by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the projects include a wide variety, some of which are relevant to the enterprise technology sector.

Along with the funding news, the UK and the US have signed a joint statement of intent to boost collaboration on quantum technologies.

Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director of UKRI’s Commercialising Quantum Technologies challenge, states: “Quantum is no longer a technology of the future but a technology of today. These projects illustrate how quantum is now making an impact in many areas and will soon influence almost every facet of our lives, from computing and data security, to infrastructure and utilities such as water and energy.”

Science Minister George Freeman adds: “Quantum computing technologies have the potential to revolutionise the power of computing across our economy and society: from speeding up the development of new drugs, to climate change monitoring to the way we send and receive information.”

UKRI explains that quantum computers are faster than conventional technology, and the way they harness the properties of quantum mechanics enables them to solve very complex problems that existing computers cannot.

The funding announced today is part of UKRI’s £170 million Commercialising Quantum Technologies challenge, which has awarded £103 million in grants over the last three years.

There are quite a few companies who have benefited today, but a good example is the QuPharma project, led by SEEQC and a consortium of partners, which uses a quantum computer alongside a classical supercomputer to model the properties of drugs. This will speed up drug development by a factor of 10.

Other use cases include the Altnaharra project, led by Quantum Motion Technologies, which got £4.3 million. The aim is to develop a cryogenic chip for integrated qubit control and readout, manufactured in a standard CMOS foundry.

The autonomous quantum technologies (AutoQT) project, led by River Lane Research, has received £5.3 million to solve the problem of controlling qubits, the basic building blocks quantum computers need to work.

Universal Quantum got £5.6 million and will work in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, Riverlane, and others, to develop a quantum computing platform for the aerospace industry that is more accurate and less reliant on cryogenic cooling.

Riverlane is a notable name in this field. As reported in September, the Cambridge-based entity unveiled a new open-source hardware abstraction layer that will allow quantum computer users to write programs that will be interoperable with multiple kinds of quantum hardware. The firm also announced this week the appointment of ex-White House scientist Jake Taylor as its new Chief Science Officer.

The full list of companies to get funding can be found at UKRI’s site here.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.
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