Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Quantum technologies theme

Quantum technologies exploit the unique properties of quantum physics to achieve functionality and performance that cannot be achieved using classical physics. EPSRC funds research and training to tackle the technological challenges in realising a new generation of quantum technologies.

Budget:
The average annual budget for EPSRC's programme is £33 million
Duration:
EPSRC is a partner of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme with activities currently in its second phase (2019-2024)
Partners involved:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), Innovate UK, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), GCHQ, Ministry of Defence (MoD)

The scope and what we're doing

The UK quantum technologies theme tackles the key technological challenges that must be overcome to realise the promise of the new generation of quantum technologies. They offer a major opportunity for the UK, thanks to the global position of our research base and key stakeholder partnerships. The programme builds on a strong base of EPSRC research across a number of research areas.

In addition to funding delivered by this theme, relevant research underpinning quantum science is supported by EPSRC’s physical sciences theme, while applied quantum science and engineering research is supported by EPSRC’s information and communication technologies theme.

Strategy

EPSRC is a strategic and delivery partner for the National Quantum Technology Programme (NQTP). The NQTP represents £1 billion of public and private investment to bring together academia, industry and government to accelerate the translation of quantum technologies into the marketplace, open new opportunities to British businesses, and unlock new capabilities that can make a difference to our everyday lives.

The first phase of the UK NQTP ran from 2014 to 2019. The programme is currently in its second five-year phase.

EPSRC supports the development of quantum technologies in the UK through:

  • a national network of quantum technology hubs, focused on world leading technology research, with high levels of engagement from business, aimed at bringing quantum science through technology to potential application
  • supporting the high level skills required to help support new sectors of the economy in areas demonstrating strong promise
  • coordinating an innovation programme, in partnership with Innovate UK, to support translation of quantum technology research towards potential application.

The NQTP invests in a range of programmes to advance technologies in a wide variety of applications and sectors. The programme supports the exploitation of quantum technologies from academia to applications in research, to strengthening capabilities, to business and towards industrial maturity.

The programme will:

  • secure the UK’s position in quantum technologies
  • stimulate market growth, unleashing innovation, thriving ecosystem
  • maintain and build 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 programme focuses on supporting world-leading research into novel quantum technologies – it supports a diverse, multidisciplinary community of engineers, applied physical scientists and mathematicians focused on the challenge of emerging technology development.

Via our standard funding mechanisms, EPSRC continues to sponsor the UK’s excellent quantum science base, in addition to the technology research supported by the Quantum Technologies Programme. By closely coupling our world-leading scientific capabilities with a dedicated suite of activities focused on emerging technology concepts and applications, the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme aims to maximise the potential benefit of novel quantum technologies for the UK.

Research areas

You can find out more about:

Why we're doing it

Quantum technologies are considered to be those that harness quantum physics to gain a functionality or performance which is otherwise unattainable – the function of quantum technologies are derived from science that cannot be explained by classical physics, such as Newton’s Laws of motion, thermodynamics, or Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism.

Many of our existing technologies – including the microprocessor, solid state imaging devices, and the laser – are derived from quantum physics. These technologies underpinned the emergence of the information age in the same manner that technologies based on classical physics underpinned the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The emerging quantum technologies of the early 21st century rely on a more subtle, less familiar aspect of quantum mechanics. They offer a major opportunity for the UK, thanks to the competitive global position of the UK research base, and the willingness of key partners across the UK to work together. The UK government is investing £1 billion in these novel quantum technologies, aimed at realising their potentially transformative impact across business, government and society.

Our approach

The EPSRC’s investment in quantum technologies via a dedicated theme, builds on long-standing underpinning investment in theoretical and quantum science. These strengths led to the establishment of the UK National Quantum Technologies (NQTP) Programme in 2014. The programme is now in its second phase and the government has invested over £1 billion in NQTP. The NQTP strategic intent document (PDF) sets out the strategy for the programme for the next 10 years.

Our vision

An evolved vision to create a ‘quantum enabled economy’, in which quantum technologies:

  • are an integral part of the UK’s digital backbone and advanced manufacturing base
  • unlock innovation across sectors to drive growth and help build a thriving and resilient economy and society
  • contribute significant value to the UK’s prosperity and security.

To achieve this, we aim to make the UK:

  • a global centre of excellence in quantum science and technology development
  • the ‘go-to’ place for quantum companies or for global companies to locate their quantum activities
  • a preferred location for investors and global talent.

This new era of quantum technologies will transform economies in our maturing digital age and help to address society’s challenges:

  • advancing health care and environmental protection
  • achieving net zero targets and better land use
  • supporting financial services and communications
  • providing defence and security capabilities and computing power.

These technologies will create new global market opportunities and competitive advantage for those able to develop and exploit them, unlocking innovation by integrating them into complex systems.

For this reason, significant efforts are being put into developing quantum technologies globally. The UK is poised to be part of the creation, as well as the application, of quantum technologies and the Strategic Intent document sets out objectives to realise that opportunity and develop a quantum-enabled economy.

View evidence sources used to inform our research strategies.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Funding opportunities

Events

Most funding opportunities within quantum technology will come through dedicated calls which will be advertised on the UKRI funding finder but we also welcome applications relevant to the theme through standard mode.

Standard (sometimes known as ‘responsive’) funding opportunities are open to a wide range of research and approaches within EPSRC’s remit.

Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships. Find out more about research theme connections and funding for quantum technologies.

Events

Follow the latest conferences, events, meetings, workshops, town meetings and training held by EPSRC.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Case studies

Follow the latest examples and outcomes of our sponsored research.

Centres for doctoral training

In 2018, EPSRC funded 75 centres for doctoral training with a total value of over £440 million. Within this group of centres, several awards were made to support doctoral training within the field of quantum technologies, including:

The centres of doctoral training funded in the 2013 Centre for Doctoral Training call have taken in their last student cohort. These included the:

  • Centre for Doctoral Training in Quantum Dynamics (Imperial College)
  • Centre for Doctoral Training in Delivering Quantum Technologies (University College London)
  • Centre for Doctoral Training in Quantum Engineering (University of Bristol).

National network of quantum technology hubs

A national network of quantum technology hubs has been funded to harness the UK’s strengths in quantum science by turning it into strengths in quantum technologies. The hubs bring together experts from universities, national laboratories and industry partners to provide a leading position through the development of technologies, a skilled research and development community, a well-networked community, and an emerging industrial sector including a growing number of start-ups. The hubs have enabled and supported new companies and industry partnerships.

Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships. Find out more about research theme connections and funding for quantum technologies.

Find previously funded projects in the quantum technologies theme on Grants on the Web.

Who to contact

Anke Davis, Joint Head of Quantum Technologies

Email: anke.davis@epsrc.ukri.org

Katharine Dunn, Joint Head of Quantum Technologies

Email: katharine.dunn@epsrc.ukri.org

Helen Hunt, Senior Portfolio Manager

Email: helen.hunt@epsrc.ukri.org

Joseph Westwood, Senior Portfolio Manager

Email: joseph.westwood@epsrc.ukri.org

Liam Boyle, Senior Portfolio Manager

Email: liam.boyle@epsrc.ukri.org

Adam Oliver, Portfolio Manager

Email: adam.oliver@epsrc.ukri.org

Ashleigh Bignell, Portfolio Manager

Email: ashleigh.bignell@epsrc.ukri.org

Dawn Chan, Portfolio Manager

Email: dawn.chan@epsrc.ukri.org

If you’re not sure who to contact, please email the team.

Quantum Technologies team

Email: quantumtechnologies@epsrc.ukri.org

Governance, management and panels

Three groups are established to facilitate the coordination of effort in the National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP). These enable the successful delivery of the programme and development and coordination of a longer term strategy for quantum technologies in the UK.

National Quantum Technologies Programme Board

This board provides an overarching, long term and evolving national quantum technology strategy for the UK. An overarching strategy is essential to enable the National Quantum Technologies Programme to become a long term technology and industry programme, delivering essential capabilities for the prosperity as well as the security of the UK.

The Programme Board includes senior executives from the partner organisations to enable the national quantum technology strategy to tie in to each of the partner’s own strategies.

The Programme Board has representatives from UK Research and Innovation, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Quantum, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Ministry of Defence (MOD), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and National Physical Laboratory.

Quantum Technology Strategic Advisory Board

The Quantum Technology Strategic Advisory Board was set up with the right to challenge the National Quantum Technologies Programme, with appropriate leadership from research, industry and government chief scientific advisers but not delivery partners or direct beneficiaries to ensure robust independent scrutiny.

This group will focus on advising on the strategy for the NQTP, particularly the longer term direction of this area and how those investments and interventions already made are contributing to the delivery of strategy.

The strategic advisory board reports to the NQTP Programme Board with the chair in attendance at programme board.

Find out who is on the NQTP Strategic Advisory Board.

National Quantum Technologies Programme delivery group

The NQTP Delivery Group focuses on the implementation of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, including coordination of efforts by the various government agencies and key organisations concerned with the development of quantum technologies in the UK. It facilitates the effective and efficient delivery of the publicly funded quantum technologies investment in the UK as a whole and identifies scope for collaboration and co-funding research and development and joint calls.

The group contains representation from EPSRC, Innovate UK, STFC, National Physical Laboratory, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Government Communications Headquarters, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Knowledge Transfer Network.

Last updated: 19 October 2022

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help us test new developments.