University of Glasgow to share in £80m quantum tech funding boost

The University of Glasgow’s world-leading expertise in quantum technology has been given a boost with the announcement that the University-led QuantIC initiative will share in £80m in new funding from the UK Government.

Phillip Hammond MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced during a visit to Glasgow on Thursday 6 September that more than £80 million will be given over five years to four world leading development centres to create technology that could help save more lives in search-and-rescue missions, hostage situations and help firefighters tackling a blaze.

In future quantum imaging technology could be used to help emergency services get a more accurate, live and high-quality image before embarking on rescue attempts. The technology will also be used to see through snow storms, around corners and map hidden underground hazards.

Quantum imaging technology could be used to provide high quality medical images using light instead of x-rays and could also be fitted to cars to help drivers see around corners.

Mr Hammond said: “The UK is a world leader in quantum technologies, but others are investing hard to catch up with us.

“The £80 million in new funding that I have announced today will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution.

“Technological leadership boosts our economy and our productivity, meaning higher growth and higher wages.”

QuantIC, the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging, is one of four UK quantum hubs which were launched in 2014 with the support of £270m in funding from the UK Government’s National Quantum Technology Programme.

The University of Glasgow’s Professor Miles Padgett is QuantIC’s principal investigator. Professor Padgett said: “This announcement reflects the UK Government’s continuing confidence in our country’s expertise in quantum research and development, and we’re proud that the achievements of QuantIC’s academic and industrial partners will continue to be funded at a high level for the next five years.

“Over the last four years, we’ve been working on some really exciting projects such as cameras which can more affordably and effectively image gases for easier detection, use single-pixel sensors to make three-dimensional images, and see around corners. We’re very much looking forward to see how far we can take things with this support of this additional funding.”

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Sir Mark Walport, said: “Quantum Technologies hold great promise for the UK. Researchers at our Hubs are already exploring new methods for more accurate measurement and sensing, expanding the power of computing, and making communications quicker and more secure.”

“This new funding for the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme will provide reassurance to the research base and the industries in the field that the UK is serious about being a world leader in the field and is investing long term.”

Subject to approvals, the funding will give certainty to leading researchers and students, and help attract more investment and jobs to the local area. Science, research and innovation is at the core of our modern Industrial Strategy, and the government has outlined its ambition to raise private and public sector investment in R&D by 2.4% by 2027.

Developing quantum has been identified as a future technology which forms a key part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.

First published: 7 September 2018