Quantum technologies

An overview of the government’s challenge to industry and research to enable the UK to lead the global development and application of quantum technologies.


Quantum technologies

What is the quantum technologies challenge?

Quantum-enabled devices present a huge market opportunity for the UK. These technologies could transform a range of sectors including automotive, healthcare, infrastructure, telecommunications, cybersecurity and defence.

For the UK to lead the global race, we need to build on the UK National Quantum Technology Programme and focus on the end users of the devices that quantum promises to transform.

Part of this work will involve engaging researchers to turn quantum science into quantum engineering, and manufacturers who can use this to create a whole new set of products.

What’s the investment?

Up to £20 million of 'pioneer' funding has been allocated to help establish how quantum technologies can be used in the products of the future and give the UK a global advantage.

What are the opportunities?

Funding opportunities were available to UK-based researchers and businesses in summer 2018. These opportunities are now closed for applications.

You can get updates about the research and ideas to come out of the funding opportunities on this page or by signing up for updates.

Pioneer fund projects

The challenge is funding the development of 4 prototype quantum-enabled devices that could be used in the next generation of sensors, consumer electronics and digital services.

  • Surveying underground before you start digging: RSK is leading a project with a consortium of businesses and universities to use quantum sensors to detect objects underground. Initially, the technology will be used by road-working companies, but it could also be used in the rail network
  • Precise timing: Manufacturer Teledyne e2V (UK) is leading a project to develop a pre-production prototype of a miniature atomic clock. It will enable services such as energy supply, transport and mobile communications to function in the event of disruption to the current standard timing service, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
  • Secure encryption: Toshiba Research Europe is leading a project to develop the UK supply of low-cost integrated chips, which will enable more secure transmission of data using new encryption technologies
  • Keeping data safe: Encryption project led by ArQit. creating advanced receivers to pick up quantum key signals. These keys are used to keep data safe by using quantum technology to let companies know if the data they are transmitting has been accessed

The past, present and future of the UK's quantum industry

Roger McKinlay, Director of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s quantum technologies challenge, explores the UK quantum industry’s journey towards commercialisation.

Find out more
The UK's journey to quantum readiness

As the sector begins scale up and identify the first potential industrial users, what stage is the UK’s quantum industry currently at?

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2020 quantum prototype will help engineers see underground

Environmental and engineering firm RSK is leading a project to develop a quantum-enabled gravity sensor that will help infrastructure planning and works.

Find out more
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