Securing the next generation of quantum technology researchers

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Fifteen rising stars to tackle key quantum technologies research challenges.

Twelve fellows are supported with an overall investment of £10 million funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

An additional £2.5 million for three fellows has been provided by the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) as part of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP).

It will help 15 researchers at institutions across the UK to develop an independent research career in quantum technology and accelerate their personal and professional career development.

The UK is already a global leader in developing the quantum technology that will in the near future transform our economy as profoundly as:

  • steam
  • electronics
  • radio communications
  • the internet.

Transforming the future

Soon we could see computers work out in seconds what currently would take thousands of years and medical imaging provide unprecedented insights into neurological disorders such as dementia.

They could also provide insights into many other significant developments.

The fellows’ work will address key research challenges within the sector and help take quantum knowledge from the laboratory out into industry and society.

This will include areas such as:

  • algorithm development
  • standards
  • benchmarking and simulation
  • control systems and theory
  • materials for quantum computing platforms
  • device development.

Fellows’ research

Among the 15 new fellows is Dr Anna Kowalczyk from the University of Birmingham.

Dr Kowalczyk aims to develop hybrid quantum sensors that will allow the study of brain connectivity and brain disorders associated with trauma.

Dr Juan Totero Gongora, University of Loughborough, will develop cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) control techniques for the ultra-precise miniaturised lasers required to link quantum technologies with user applications, such as telecommunications.

Meanwhile at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Dr Sebastian De Graaf will develop a tool that addresses the material challenge facing superconducting quantum technologies.

Forefront of the research

Dr Kedar Pandya, Director, Cross-Council programmes at EPSRC said,

Developing national capability in quantum technologies will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the research that will ultimately transform for the better huge areas of our economy and society, from security and finance, to transport, communications, land use and healthcare.

We are delighted to be able to support the efforts of our research community through these fellowships as they work to bring this remarkable future closer for us all.

Next generation of researchers

Dr Simon Plant, Deputy Director, NQCC said:

The NQCC is pleased to be able to support talented postdoctoral researchers, who have the potential to lead their own research programs and develop their research profiles within quantum computing (QC).

By sponsoring a number of awards through the EPSRC’s call on Quantum Technology Career Development Fellowships, we are enabling the next generation of scientists working in the quantum realm, further supporting the delivery of QC capabilities for the UK, and helping to build a resilient quantum economy for the future.

Further information

Meet the fellows

  • Dr Yi, Heriot-Watt University (Next generation quantum detector utilising engineered materials for short-wave infrared applications)
  • Dr Attwood, Imperial College London (Chemically engineered quantum materials: encapsulation for spatially controlled spins as a quantum sensor)
  • Dr Cotter, Imperial College London (Quantum technologies for inertial sensing)
  • Dr de Graaf, NPL (A scanning quantum probe microscopy suite to boost the development of quantum circuits)
  • Dr Leason, Royal Holloway, University of London (Dark matter searches using quantum enhanced superfluid technologies)
  • Dr Kowalczyk, University of Birmingham (Hybridised quantum optical sensors for enhanced magnetoencephalography)
  • Dr Brash, University of Sheffield (Controlling environmental interactions for novel solid-state quantum technologies)
  • Dr Dellantonio, University of Exeter (Simplifying quantum computing: from theory to applications)
  • Dr Srinivas, University of Oxford (Entanglement-enhanced sensing with quantum networks)
  • Dr Inzani, University of Nottingham (Theory-led design of 2D spin qubits)
  • Dr Ouyang, University of Sheffield (Integrating quantum sensors with bespoke quantum error correction)
  • Dr Gongora, University of Loughborough (AI-powered micro-comb lasers: a new approach to transfer portable atomic clock accuracy in integrated photonics)
  • Dr Bakr, University of Oxford (Utilising novel microwave filtering techniques for improved performance in superconducting quantum devices)
  • Dr Shen, Royal Holloway, University of London (The limits of quantum computing: an approach via post-quantum cryptography)
  • Dr Davis, University of Bath (PHOCIS- a photonic crystal integrated squeezer).

NQTP

The NQTP was established in 2014 and represents £1 billion of public and private investment.

It is designed to bring together academia, industry and government to accelerate the translation of quantum technologies into the UK marketplace.

It will also open up opportunities for British businesses to unlock new capabilities that can make a real difference to our everyday lives.

The programme also provides UK companies with important grant funding to help them identify and develop uses and applications for quantum technologies, as well as supporting investment into:

  • research
  • innovation
  • skills
  • technology
  • demonstration.

The NQTP is delivered in partnership by:

  • the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • EPSRC, Innovate UK and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Government Communications Headquarters
  • Knowledge Transfer Network
  • NPL.

NQCC

The NQCC is a new research institution funded through UKRI, which is dedicated to accelerating the development of QC by addressing the challenges of scalability.

Working with partners across industry, government and the research community, the NQCC will create the necessary research and development capabilities through coordination and delivery of a technical programme.

This will be created alongside the commissioning and operation of new facilities.

The NQCC programme is being delivered jointly by the research councils, EPSRC and STFC.

The programme will deliver assured QC capability, enabling the UK to remain internationally competitive.

The centre will be headquartered in a purpose-built facility at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory campus in Oxfordshire, which is due for completion in 2023.

Top image:  Credit: EvgeniyShkolenko, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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