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Royal Holloway wins landmark £1m grant to boost quantum technologies in the UK

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Royal Holloway wins landmark £1m grant to boost quantum technologies in the UK

  • Date23 April 2020

Royal Holloway has been granted £1million as part of an award given by Innovate UK to the Oxford Quantum Circuits-led consortium, which the university is part of.

Quantum Nanofabrication scientist at a microscope in the cleanroom Superfab

This is the largest ever government grant (£7M in total) aimed at the commercialisation of superconducting quantum technologies, and positions the UK as a global leader in the field. 

Together, four companies, Royal Holloway and another university will develop foundry and measurement services which will underpin major commercial developments across the economy.

Superconducting hardware is critical for the development of quantum technologies, delivering transformative products for sensing, security and information processing. 

However, fabricating these superconducting circuits, accessing specialist cryogenic equipment and developing state-of-the-art test electronics remain highly technical and expensive undertakings.

The significant up-front investment required, represents a large barrier to entry to most companies in the UK, preventing the country from leading the way on quantum technologies, a market expected to reach nearly £15B by 2024 globally, with £233M for superconducting devices alone.

Now, thanks to the grant, a world-class consortium of experts in nanoscale technology will be able to bring the capability to produce superconducting circuits at commercial scale in the UK. This Innovate UK grant signals the UK’s ambition to lead the international race to commercialise quantum technologies to the benefit of the economy and society.

Together, Oxford Quantum Circuits, SeeQC UK, Oxford Instruments, Kelvin Nanotechnology, Royal Holloway and the University of Glasgow, will industrialise the design, manufacture and test of superconducting quantum devices. This is the first time a concerted effort will bring all relevant partners across industry and academia towards establishing such capability in the UK. Multiple commercial streams are expected through cryogenic measurements as a service, superconducting device foundry as a service, quantum computing as a service and the sale of quantum devices.

Professor Phil Meeson, Director of SuperFab at Royal Holloway, University of London, said “SuperFab, the superconducting electronic nanofabrication facility at the university, is a key underpinning-capability for the project.

“Royal Holloway is very proud to be a member of the consortium that will lead the development of superconducting quantum devices in the UK.”

Dr Ilana Wisby, CEO of Oxford Quantum Circuits said: “With this grant, Innovate UK is sending a strong message: the country has missed opportunities to drive commercial impact from its enviable scientific base in the past, but it won’t miss the quantum revolution.

“Our project is critical to positioning the UK at the forefront of the quantum industry, bringing in jobs and investment, and delivering a domestic supply of a technology of national strategic importance. Our consortium is uniquely positioned to deliver this project successfully”. 

The partners in the consortium have established a strong foundation of IP and know-how with previous government support through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. This project will harness those capabilities for the benefit of the commercial sector.

The project, supported by an international advisory board including commercial customers, will be launched in August 2020, with the first key deliverables expected in 2021. 

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