Bristol awarded 8.4 million to strengthen quantum research programmes

Indium phosphide quantum key distribution transmitter capable of multi-protocol

Indium phosphide quantum key distribution transmitter capable of multi-protocol operation at GHz speeds - Henry Semenenko (University of Bristol) Photo credit: Richard Collins (University of Bristol)

The University of Bristol has been awarded an £8.4 million share of £94 million funding announced yesterday by the Science Minister, Chris Skidmore, for the UK’s Quantum Technologies Research Hubs.

Quantum technology is one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of modern research. Advances in the field promise a new generation of disruptive technologies providing secure communications, supersensitive sensing and imaging and exponential speed up in computation. Experts predict that there is the opportunity to build a 1 billion UK quantum industry in the coming decade.

The University of Bristol is a key partner in three of the four Quantum Technologies Research Hubs which will revolutionise imaging, computing, sensing and timing and communications.

In total, the hubs involve collaborations between 26 universities, 138 investigators and more than 100 partners.

The National Quantum Technologies Programme, which began in 2013, has now entered its second phase of funding, part of which is today’s 94 million investment by the UK government, via UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Bristol is developing a unique ecosystem of quantum information research, training and commercialisation and is home to a number of the founders of the field. Researchers are already exploring new ways to harness quantum effects by combining their experimental and theoretical know-how.

The new award will add to the already impressive portfolio of activity at Bristol in the emerging field of quantum information science and technology. Included in this is one of only two Centres for Doctoral Training in the area in the UK.

Bristol has already received significant investment from government, industry and research funders and the University has a dedicated Specialist Research Institute, the Bristol Quantum Information Institute.

Bristol is a pioneer in innovation for quantum technologies enhanced by its EPSRC funded Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre fed by maturing technologies in our Quantum Engineering Technology Lab. This will be considerably strengthened through the recently opened Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre (QTIC) to be based ultimately in Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus in the heart of the City of Bristol’s buzzing new Enterprise Zone.

The Director of the Bristol Quantum Information Institute, Professor Noah Linden said: “We are very pleased to be playing a central role in the new Quantum Technology Hubs; our involvement will strongly support our drive to be at the forefront of developing new quantum technologies for adoption by industry.”

Highlights from the areas to be funded in Bristol are: experimental quantum simulation of technologically relevant molecules, bringing quantum security from satellites, to 5G networks and consumers, developing quantum enhanced sensors for greenhouse gasses and development of protocols and software for verification of quantum computation, vital for our ability to assess the correct functioning and security of future quantum devices.

Overall this funding will help maintain Bristol’s position as a world leader in quantum information science and technology.

UKRI’s Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “The UK is leading the field in developing Quantum Technologies and this new investment will help us make the next leap forward in the drive to link discoveries to innovative applications. UKRI is committed to ensuring the best research and researchers are supported in this area.”

Science Minister, Chris Skidmore said: “Harnessing the full potential of emerging technologies is vital as we strive to meet our Industrial Strategy ambition to be the most innovative economy in the world.

“Our world-leading universities are pioneering ways to apply quantum technologies that could have serious commercial benefits for UK businesses.

“That’s why I am delighted to be announcing further investment in Quantum Technology Hubs that will bring academics and innovators together and make this once futuristic technology applicable to our everyday lives.”


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