COLLABORATION

UK to make quantum gains with £4.6m Strathclyde partnership funding

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University of Strathclyde's Technology & Innovation Campus is leading research in quantum technology.


By U2B Staff 

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Researchers from the University of Strathclyde are teaming up with quantum technology and photonics experts M Squared in a major research collaboration to advance the UK’s quantum capabilities.

Working together with fintech, security and defence and aerospace businesses, project partners will develop advanced computing technology to strengthen banking security, enhance traffic management and support aerospace security.

In an announcement last week, University of Strathclyde said the partnership had netted £4.6 million in funding from various sources. Some £2.6 million is Prosperity Partnership funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), while a further £1.7 million comes from M Squared and the university is contributing £300,000.

The Prosperity Partnership grant is given to existing research-based collaborative projects between businesses and universities that actively address the EPSRC’s Prosperity Outcomes.

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Strathclyde’s Dr Jonathan Pritchard said the project offers researchers an opportunity to develop a powerful platform with the potential to be “truly disruptive” in its ability to scale for the future.

“This is a great opportunity, both for Strathclyde and for the UK as a whole, to establish new capability by working directly with global leaders in supplying commercial laser systems to quantum computing activities,” he said.

He noted that developing the platform isn’t currently supported within the EPSRC-funded National Quantum Technologies Programme, which includes four Quantum Technology Hubs that explore the properties of quantum mechanics and how they can be harnessed for use in technology. Strathclyde is the only university partner in all four hubs across Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York.

“We are really excited to have secured significant funding to develop this new experimental platform,” Pritchard said.

Also as part of the project, partners aim to explore future application areas for the technology, including in accelerated drug design for improved healthcare, novel materials for aerospace and manufacturing and the speed-up of optimisation problems including scheduling and logistics for enhanced traffic management or improved efficiency in energy distribution across the National grid.

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Moreover, the technology created will be powerful enough to disrupt mainstream processes and industries that may be rendered obsolete in the very near future.

Experts across the country are expressing optimism on how projects of this nature can contribute to national economic and technological growth.

“By combining expertise from across academia and industry, the Prosperity Partnerships will break new ground in areas of fundamental research that also provide major commercial opportunities.”, said EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Lynd Gladden.

The next big steps in this partnership will be facilitated by M Square’s newly-opened quantum research facility situated in Strathclyde’s Innovo building located in the Glasgow City Innovative District.