Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Quantum devices, components and systems

Quantum devices, components and systems involve the creation, control and manipulation of quantum states to design systems with functionality that could not be achieved in a non-quantum world.

Partners involved:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

The quantum devices, components and systems research area encompasses the creation, control and manipulation of quantum states to design systems with functionality that could not be achieved in a non-quantum world. This goes beyond exploiting the behaviour of inherent quantum effects which deliver fundamental device characteristics – for example, as in superconductors and lasers – to deliver non-classical system performance.

Reflecting the ambitions of the National Quantum Technologies Programme’s Strategic Intent, we will maintain a strong portfolio of investments in research, high level skills, capital and academic-industry partnerships to build the UK’s strength and capabilities in these emerging technologies.

We will leverage the strengths and capabilities developed over the last decade to establish the UK as a leading player in the emerging quantum technologies industry.

Research should continue to progress into the development and exploitation of technologies across a range of application areas. A critical mass of research and training capabilities is needed to generate new ideas and concepts to address the long-term challenges associated with developing and deploying quantum technologies for varied applications.

The National Quantum Technologies Programme’s Strategic Intent provides a holistic vision and strategy for quantum technologies in the UK and sets the direction for EPSRC’s activities as one of the programme’s partners.

Why we're doing it

Quantum-engineered systems promise dramatic improvements in the capabilities in measurement, timing, imaging, sensing, simulation, computing and secure communications.

Technologies that are being developed to take advantage of these improvements include:

  • cameras capable of seeing through smoke and around corners
  • gravity sensors for surveying underground structures
  • highly accurate clocks
  • new approaches to secure communication, simulation and computation.

Quantum technologies offer significant and disruptive commercial opportunities in many sectors. Global technology companies, including BT, Google, Toshiba and Hitachi, have located quantum technologies research laboratories in the UK or formed partnerships with UK universities.

The development of quantum technologies has significant potential to generate start-up and spin-out activities as new applications emerge, and spur new fundamental research.

In recognition of the potential of quantum technologies, the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme (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 and open up opportunities for British businesses to unlock new capabilities that can make a real difference to our everyday lives.

The development of quantum technologies relies upon harnessing fundamental quantum physics into engineered components, systems and solutions, where individual atoms, electrons or other particles are manipulated.

Maintaining fragile quantum states for prolonged periods requires the integration of high-performance lasers, optical and vacuum components and electronics. A range of technology platforms are under development to optimise performance at a commercially viable cost, form factor and power consumption.

These requirements draw on, and contribute to, theoretical and experimental advances across EPSRC’s portfolio of research, notably in:

The expected emergence of commercially available components and systems will provide research tools and techniques reducing reliance on bespoke experimental equipment.

As noted in the Government Office for Science’s Quantum Age report, research in this area should be collaborative, placed in the context of alternative approaches and end-users, and use best practice to ensure the principles of trusted research and innovation are implemented.

For example, researchers investigating quantum key distribution should collaborate with those working in the area of post-quantum cryptography, and researchers working in quantum computing and simulation should adopt an approach driven by important societal challenges, such as drug development.

View evidence sources used to inform our research strategies.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships. Find out more about research area connections and funding for Quantum Devices, Components and Systems.

Find previously funded projects on Grants on the Web.

Who to contact

Quantum Technologies team, general enquiries


Last updated: 4 January 2023

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.