Innovate UK to back quantum tech projects

Competition involves challenges with strong public service implications

Innovate UK has put up £20 million to develop prototype devices and systems that use quantum technology to deal with challenges in which the public sector has a big stake.

Computer motherboard detailThe national innovation agency has launched a competition, open until 13 June, for project proposals to deal with one of four challenges.

While the competition is aimed at SMEs, they have to include partners that could include public authorities, researchers, charities or businesses. It is aimed at supporting solutions that can do things not possible by non-quantum means.

Quantum technology involves the use of properties in quantum mechanics – itself a field of physics and engineering – into practical applications that include quantum computing. This provides the scope to calculate some algorithms significantly faster than conventional computers.

The competion involves addressing one of four challenges, one of which is to support the secure transfer of peer-to-peer data and information, such as across smart cities.

The others deal with:

  • Increasing productivity in the deployment, improvement or maintenance of buildings and national infrastructure.
  • Improving situational awareness, including ensuring safe transport in hazardous conditions.
  • Improving identification and understanding of states and features that are impossible to see by conventional means, particularly in medical, environmental and security applications.

Innovate UK said it expects total project costs to be between £3 million and £10 million and for projects to last up to 29 months, and that they need to show there is a clear market in the UK.

The funding is being made available from the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.