The objective of this funding opportunity is to bring together the quantum computing and ICT communities, for collaboration at the interface in challenge areas that would be mutually interesting and beneficial, bringing together the expertise to deliver advances in quantum computing.
The aim of this opportunity is to fund core collaborative teams of quantum computing and ICT experts to address the identified challenge areas. These teams will utilise the networking element of the award to co-create a research project that will build a cohesive UK community that, via feasibility and research project funding, will accelerate progress in quantum computing.
Their vision should include the development of the technological research programme and activities to champion cross-disciplinarity and co-creation at the quantum computing and ICT interface.
The awards for this opportunity require a four year networking element: co-creation of a vision followed by a three-year research programme subsequent to successful progression from a stage-gated review at one year. There is also an option for inclusion of feasibility studies in the first year of the award.
Each element of the award would fit into the 48 month project as follows:
Month 0 to month 48
Networking activities at the interface between quantum computing and other ICT areas required for full duration of grant.
Month 0 to month 12
Co-creation of three-year research project, identifying and bringing together the required expertise across the interface to deliver the vision outlined in the proposal.
Feasibility studies (optional): up to 12 month projects, to explore potential research directions for three-year project.
Month 13 to month 48
Three year research project: vision identified at proposal writing stage, project developed during the co-creation stage.
This funding opportunity invites submissions at the interface of quantum computing and ICT that will tackle technological research within the remit of one of the following two challenges. The proposed research needs to be beneficial to the UK and have the potential for impact in the quantum computing field.
Challenge one: delivering quantum computing that is correct, trustworthy and resilient
This challenge is focused on delivering a quantum computing system that is trusted and fit for a range of end user purposes.
There are several topics this challenge could cover. These include error correction, information theoretic modelling, verification and validation, and local communication.
This challenge will require a range of approaches including hardware, software and modelling activities, and may include platform specific or hardware agnostic approaches.
Challenge two: quantum computing interfaces
This challenge is focused on scaling up quantum computing by interfacing it with the ICT ecosystem to deliver hybrid technologies and applications.
This will require consideration of hardware, software and applications and the conflicting system requirements such as the wide range of temperature, clock speed, data modality, representation, and exchange.
Fit to scope
As part of this award, successful applicants should play an advocacy role in championing cross-disciplinarity and co-creation at the interface of quantum computing and ICT research.
Co-creation and collaboration at the interface of quantum computing and ICT are essential elements of the funding opportunity and will be assessed through consideration of the assessment criteria ‘fit to call’ at all stages of the peer review process.
This is a joint quantum technologies and ICT funding opportunity. As such, all research should be focused on making progress in one of the challenge areas identified and must be technology focused.
Proposals must focus on one challenge area and will be assessed on how they address that challenge. However, when the proposal vision includes aspects that would be of relevance to the second challenge, reference to how it will contribute to that challenge should also be included.
The peer review process for this funding opportunity will involve an intention to submit stage and peer review of full proposals through postal peer review and prioritisation panel.
For the purposes of this funding opportunity the following definitions of quantum computing and ICT will apply.
Quantum computing definition
Quantum computers operate in a fundamentally different way to conventional digital computers. Quantum computing is based on the rules of quantum mechanics, harnessing effects that exist at the level of atoms, electrons and photons.
It involves encoding and processing information by controlling quantum states, relying on the uniquely quantum phenomena of superposition and entanglement.
ICT, or information and communications technology, is the infrastructure and components that enable modern computing.
This includes all devices, networking components, applications and systems that when combined allow people and organisations to interact in the digital world.
The funding for this opportunity is £10 million, with the maximum for each award being £3 million. We are aiming to fund a maximum of two awards in each challenge area.
Awards are for 48 months and will include a compulsory requirement for 48 months of networking activity and a 36 months research project, which will commence at month 13 following co-creation during the first 12 months.
There is an option for feasibility study funding to be requested for the first 12 months of the award, where there are areas to explore towards the overall vision that will require both quantum computing and ICT expertise to deliver them.
Equipment over £10,000 in value (including VAT) is not available through this opportunity. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be included under the ‘directly incurred – other costs’ heading.
Funding of up to £500,000 can be requested for networking and feasibility studies and up to £2.5 million can be requested for the three year research project. The maximum value of the research council contribution will be £3 million (80% full economic cost).
Further funding may become available at the 12 month point, subject to independent peer review.
The funding awarded will be for 48 months, however, there will be a review stage at 12 months to evaluate the proposed research project. This is to ensure high quality, co-creation and fit to challenge and it is therefore not anticipated that funding would be removed at this stage.
Revisions to the proposed research project may be required at the recommendation of the review panel before they are approved by EPSRC to commence.