With a £153 million funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, UK’s quantum technologies programme has now hit a massive £1 billion investment milestone. Investment from private sector accounts for more than £200 million. What will act as as an impetus, is the fact that close to 80% of that funding has come in via Government. This is a positive sign for the government and boosts innovations in the experimental quantum science field.

The National Quantum Technologies Programme started in 2014 with their vision being “to accelerate the translation of quantum technologies into the marketplace”. Now with a milestone as big, shows the trust that industries are laying upon the UK’s research in the quantum science. The programme which began with an initial government investment of £270 million has grown into a potential research and innovation programme worth £1 billion.

UK plans to invest 2.4% of its GDP in research and development by the year 2027.

“This milestone shows that Quantum is no longer an experimental science for the UK. Investment by government and businesses is paying off, as we become one of the world’s leading nations for quantum science and technologies. Now industry is turning what was once a futuristic pipe-dream into life-changing products,” said Science Minister Chris Skidmore during the London Tech Week, who seems hopeful that they can use the innovations from this research to combat diseases and even detect gas leaks.

Quantum technologies include a very advanced class of innovations which implements various ideas from the field of quantum physics and quantum computing. These technologies, when put to use through different devices will enable us to discover and cure diseases with efficient drug delivery systems. Quantum tech also facilitates the production of a new class of computing devices which will provide more speed and power to crunch huge data. The applications are not limited to medicine and computing, quantum technologies will help development of advance military technology as well as devices to detect gas leaks especially the ones which are odorless and are inflammable.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said, the funding announced today will “ensure that the UK remain at the forefront of this exciting and evolving field.”

While the next phase of the programme will be decided by a new programme board which will work alongside an expert advisory group, Industry leaders have formed an independent Quantum Technology Leadership Group for representing their side to the government for their needs. This independent group will also keep an eye on the commercial activity and the economic impact of the quantum technologies.

This independent group will be headed by Dr Trevor Cross, CTO at Teledyne e2v and Dr Graeme Malcolm, CEO at MSquared Lasers.

The government seeks to work with UK research and Innovation (UKRI) and Tech UK to help improve UKRI’s e-structure and access high performance computing with the advances in quantum technologies.