The UK Innovation Strategy sets out the government’s vision to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035. Its fourth pillar, ‘missions and technologies’, establishes a clear strategic aim to stimulate innovation to tackle major challenges faced by the UK and the world and to drive capability in key technologies.
The Innovation Strategy makes clear that these 2 critical elements of the UK innovation landscape are complementary. It outlines that new, emerging technologies can be pivotal in solving major challenges and opportunities, while in turn, missions can:
- help to bring profile and significance to technological innovation
- support diffusion of new technologies
This missions approach sets inspiring and stretching targets which focus the efforts of research, industry, and government stakeholders on complex problems with a coordinated approach for successful delivery.
This model will ensure that each technology mission to be supported has a clear direction and efforts are aligned across the private sector and research community. This is anticipated to create spill over-benefits including the attraction of significant private investment and the creation and retention of additional capacity and expertise within each technology area within the UK.
This funding opportunity is part of the quantum technologies mission and contributes to the wider National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP).
The projects funded through the quantum positioning, navigation, and timing mission will:
- accelerate the development of new products, systems and services
- ensure UK leadership in quantum and alternative positioning, navigation, and timing
- develop and maintain sovereign capabilities in positioning, navigation, and timing, particularly positioning, navigation, and timing in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) denied environments
- establish the UK as a leader in quantum and alternative positioning, navigation, and timing technologies, components and systems
The mission is being delivered through 2 layers of activity, outlined below.
Enabling foundational activity
This opportunity sits within this enabling foundational activity. It ensures the ecosystem can deliver meaningful transition to incorporate new application of these technologies, by funding foundational research that may lead to new scientific discoveries, or by establishing or maintaining strategic advantage through capability in science and technology.
Application centred challenges
This strand focuses on increasing commercialisation readiness of established discoveries or innovations, with a view to broadening their applications or increasing adoption and is not covered by this opportunity.
National Quantum Technologies Programme
The NQTP was established in 2014 to make the UK a global leader in the development and commercialisation of quantum technology, which is set to transform the global society and economy.
The NQTP strategic intent sets out the programme’s ambitions for the next 10 years, including the following overall aims:
- stimulate market growth, unleash innovation and grow a thriving ecosystem
- maintain the UK’s excellence in research and technology
- build a resilient network of national assets and mutually beneficial international relationships
- grow, attract and retain talent
The strategic intent also further sets out the following specific objectives in relation to maintaining the UK’s excellence in research and technology:
- continue to build on existing excellence to strengthen our global position in research, build the skills pipeline and open-up new opportunities for technological convergence, enabling work across disciplines to unlock innovation
- as an enabling technology we will develop new quantum tools and opportunities for wider science applications
You can download the NQTP Strategic Intent from NQTP resources.
EPSRC are a key partner within the NQTP and share the ambition to maintain the UK’s reputation as an excellent place to do research.
EPSRC forms an integral part of the international landscape in quantum technologies.
EPSRC funded a national network of 4 quantum technology hubs through a £120 million investment in phase 1 (2014 to 2019) and a £94 million investment in phase 2 (2019 to 2024) to harness the UK’s strengths in quantum science by turning this into strength in quantum technologies.
The hubs cultivate strong links with international partners and facilitate collaboration across the breadth of the quantum technology landscape.
EPSRC continues to deliver opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration through standard mode, lead agency opportunities and other strategic funding opportunities.
This focus has set the UK apart from the international competition, but the UK needs to continue moving forward as technological developments gather pace.
Building a Secure and Resilient World strategic theme
The UKRI Strategy for 2022 to 2027, Transforming Tomorrow Together, outlines 5 strategic themes which look to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to address major national and global challenges.
Building a Secure and Resilient World is 1 the themes under the auspices of which UKRI will catalyse, convene and conduct research and innovation, through taking a systemic approach that is human-centred, aimed at strengthening societal and economic resilience.
The theme aims to enhance national security across virtual and physical environments, by improving awareness of risks and threats, preparedness, informed decision-making and response, and allowing change to be understood as a force for good.
Building a Secure and Resilient World directly tackles core methodologies for supporting a better and more robust approach to managing crisis from business to government to communities. A core focus of the theme is on supporting systems thinking and decision making to reduce risk and strengthen our security and resilience, and showing how this should support, and be implemented by, communities at every level, from local to international.
We have identified 5 inter-related sub-themes, through which UKRI will deliver a range of activities tailored to enable resilience to different risks in different systems that:
- is built on the strengths of our current economy and society
- helps reduce vulnerability
- prepares for robust and rapid responses and enhances recovery
- encourages approaches which bring positive transformation.
The 5 sub-themes are:
Global order in a time of change
To enable UK to take one of the leading positions in shaping an international order that is secure, resilient and just.
Technologies for resilience, security and defence
To advance capacity of state defence and security, society and economy to reduce vulnerabilities, to respond to and recover from shocks through innovation and technological advancement.
Resilient and secure supply chains
To increase the resilience of supply chains (food, critical materials, manufacturing, complex systems) to a wide variety to potentially interacting shocks.
Behavioural and cultural resilience
To reduce the impact of shocks on individuals and communities through adaptation and embracing change, deployment of resources for personal resilience that is fair and just.
Strengthening resilience in natural and built environment
To mitigate impact of natural and anthropogenic hazards and risks on wider societal processes and operations in rural and urban contexts being responsive to particular requirements of place.
This call speaks directly to the ‘technologies for resilience security and defence’ sub-theme exploring and critically assessing the role of technologies in making systems more robust against external threats.
EPSRC is fully committed to develop and promote responsible innovation. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended consequences, questions, ethical dilemmas and, at times, unexpected social transformations.
We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor and to encourage our research community to do likewise.
Grant additional conditions (PDF, 68KB)
Equality impact assessment (PDF, 85KB)