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UK implementing National Strategy of Quantum Technology to become Global Leader in future Quantum industry

The demand for quantum technologies is being driven by large and significant societal challenges, including the need to build in more inhospitable places, for greater security around information and transactions, for better medicines and therapies, and to counter cyber terrorism. Technologies that will allow fire crews to see through smoke and dust, computers to solve previously unsolvable computational problems, construction projects to image unmapped voids like old mine workings, and cameras that will let vehicles ‘see’ around corners are just some of the developments already taking place in the UK.


“Quantum technologies will lead to major advances in precision timing, sensors and computation, destined to have a major impact on the finance, defence, aerospace, energy, infrastructure and telecommunications sectors.” The Government Office for Science has said that in the long term, quantum technologies could be comparable in size to the consumer electronics sector, currently worth an estimated £240bn a year globally. By 2024, the estimated global market for quantum technologies will reach $10.7 billion, which explains why nations, corporates and startups alike are all jockeying for first position.


National strategy for quantum technologies

In 2015, UK  formulated its National Strategy for Quantum Technologies with the aim to guide new quantum work and investments over the next 20 years to help deliver a profitable, growing and sustainable quantum industry deeply rooted in the UK. The vision is to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion-pound new quantum technology markets, and to substantially enhance the value of some of the biggest UK-based industries.


This strategy has been drawn up by the Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board on behalf of the UK quantum community. Its purpose is to guide new quantum work and investments over the next 20 years to help deliver a profitable, growing and sustainable quantum industry deeply rooted in the UK.


The vision is to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion-pound new quantum technology markets, and to substantially enhance the value of some of the biggest UK-based industries.

The strategy rests on five pillars
1. Enabling a strong foundation of capability in the UK
2. Stimulating applications and market opportunity in the UK
3. Growing a skilled UK workforce
4. Creating the right social and regulatory context
5. Maximizing benefit to the UK through international engagement


It has also made recommendations for implementation of strategy:

1. Invest in a 10-year programme of support for academia, industry and other partners to jointly accelerate the growth of the UK quantum technologies ecosystem
2. Sustain investment in the vibrant UK quantum research base and facilities
3. Incentivize private investment, including through roadmapping and demonstration, and support early adopters of these new technologies as they emerge over differing timescales
4. Enable industry to use state-of-the art UK university facilities
5. Invest in the development of a dynamic workforce that meets the needs of future industry
6. Support the free flow of people, innovation and ideas between academic, industrial and government organisations
7. Drive effective regulation and standards and champion responsible innovation
8. Preserve its competitive advantage as a global supplier of quantum devices, components, systems and expertise while continuing to play a leading role in engaging globally in the development of quantum technologies


Despite huge promise, substantial investments are unlikely as the potential cost and risks involved are too great at the present time for all but the largest companies. We must incentivise private investment by:
• Funding demonstrators to better understand technical challenges and the value of potential market applications
• Encouraging effective communication, networking, road-mapping, undertaking market analysis and investigating standards to build greater confidence and understanding
• Identifying early adopters for new technology, and, where appropriate, using government procurement to solidify some of the early market opportunities (such as in defence)


UK National Quantum Technologies Programme

In 2013, the UK Government announced funding of £270m (over five years) to create the National Quantum Technologies Programme to develop and commercialize quantum technologies, with the aim of placing the UK in a leading position within the global quantum technology marketplace. Other funding has included £36m from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and total investments from public and private sources now exceed £350m.


As a first step in this plan, a national funding body, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), established a programme for quantum technologies – a programme implemented, in the main, through several “hubs”. Each hub consists of a network of academic and industrial partnerships, focused on one of five core areas: time-keeping; sensing and measurement; imaging; communications security; or computing. The hubs’ goals are not only to develop a quantum technology manufacturing capability in each sector, but also to develop services around various core technologies.


Quantum technology hubs

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. EPSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.


In order to begin the transition from science to technology and to build clusters of activity with industry, EPSRC has invested £120 million in a national network of quantum technology hubs. These are led by the universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, York and Oxford. Each of the quantum hubs is investing in incubator spaces for new businesses, and public funding will be available to develop the facilities – such as in nano-fabrication and high-value electronic production – that companies can use to develop these new devices


The hubs will focus on novel devices and processes imaging, sensing, communications, simulation and computing. These are at Glasgow, Birmingham, York and Oxford. NQIT is the Oxford-led Hub and will focus on Networked Quantum Information Technologies, in which ion traps, the most advanced quantum logic platform, are connected photonics networks, with applications to the above area. The Hub is a consortium of partners across nine UK universities as well as more than two dozen industrial and government partners


The British Government has announced that more than £80 million ($105 million) will be given to four UK-based world-leading quantum technology development centres over the next five years to create new technologies for diverse applications, and is expected to last an additional five years – averaging just £4 million per hub per year. Likely target areas range from Internet security to vehicle driving assistance systems as well as life-saving equipment for search-and-rescue missions, and helping firefighters.


On a visit to the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “The UK is a world leader in quantum technologies, but others are investing hard to catch up with us. The £80 million in new funding will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution.” While the UK’s £80 million is four times less than what scientists asked for, according to Bloomberg this is 12 times less than the US’ $200 million per year, and 125 times less than China’s $10 billion. In 2018, the EU aims to launch a ten-year, €1bn European Flagship programme to support the development of quantum technologies.


The vision is to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion-pound new quantum technology markets, and to substantially enhance the value of some of the biggest UK-based industries.


The National Quantum Technologies Programme has already brought about some dramatic changes in the UK, including investment by EPSRC to set up a national network of quantum technology hubs that involve 17 universities and more than 50 industry partners; investment by the UK MOD to build demonstrators for quantum navigation and gravity imagers; and activities by Innovate UK to enable businesses to explore the commercial opportunities that quantum technologies may bring to the UK. EPSRC has also invested in centres for doctoral training to provide high-level skills for a future workforce.


Second five-year phase of NQTP kick off at the end of 2019,

The National Quantum Technologies Programme, which began in 2013, has now entered its second phase of funding, part of which will be a £94 million investment by the UK government, via UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), in four Quantum Technologies Research Hubs which are centred at Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford, and York. Total investment in the programme amounts to more than £1 billion since its inception. The new round of funding follows an announcement earlier in 2019 of £153 million UK Government funding, through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to be matched by more than £200 million of investment from the private sector.


The investment announced in July 2019 by Science Minister Chris Skidmore, during a visit to the University of Sussex, which partners with the Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub and the Quantum Technology Hub in Sensing and Timing, will build on the earlier investments that set up the Hubs in 2014. Through these Hubs the UK’s world-leading quantum technologies research base will continue to drive the development of new technologies through their networks of academic and business partnerships.


The National Quantum Technology Programme has invited the proposals that will contribute to the expansion of the UK’s quantum technology capability in one or more of the four areas of strategic focus identified for this call.
1) Building technical capability; 2) Manufacturing tools; 3) System / subsystem design and 4) Acceleration of innovation.


This latest competition by Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund,  will award up to £30m to industry led projects aimed at addressing technological barriers to the commercial or industrial exploitation of quantum technologies in the UK. This in contrast to recent CR&D and FS competitions which focussed on developing products, services and components. The projects should exploit second generation quantum techniques and focus on one or more of the challenge areas of: Connectivity, Situation awareness and Quantum computing.


The Commercialising Quantum Technologies ISCF Challenge was launched in July 2019 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy.


In June 2020, Science Minister Amanda Solloway  announced 38 new UK projects that will benefit from more than £70 million government investment to help mark the start of Quantum Tech Digital Week. The new projects aim to solve global challenges and address key industrial challenges, from developing batteries for electric vehicles to innovating energy storage systems that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, via the use of advanced quantum technologies.


Industry leaders have formed an independent Quantum Technology Leadership Group to represent the needs of industry with government and look at the commercial activity and economic impact of quantum technologies. The group is to be co-chaired Dr Graeme Malcolm, Strathclyde alumnus, CEO of photonics company M Squared Lasers and was previously joint Managing Director of Strathclyde spinout Microlase. Professor Riis is the leader at Strathclyde lead for the Sensing and Timing Hub, along with Dr Jennifer Hastie. The other leaders at Strathclyde are: Quantum Enhanced Imaging – Professor John Jeffers and Professor Martin Dawson; Quantum Computing and Simulation – Professor Andrew Daley; Quantum Communications Technologies – Dr Daniel Oi


“The UK has long been recognized as a world leader in quantum research, and we now have a real chance to build a solid and successful industrial base around that excellence in fundamental science and engineering,” said David Delpy, Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Board for UK National Quantum Technology Programme.


The UK is just over halfway through the NQTP, which saw its second five-year phase kick off at the end of 2019, and at the same time hit an impressive milestone of £1 billion ($1.37 billion) combined investment. This, the government claims, is letting the UK keep pace with competitors who are also taking interest in quantum – namely, the US and China.


“The national program was one of the first to kick off,” Andrew Fearnside, senior associate specializing in quantum technologies at intellectual property firm Mewburn Ellis, tells ZDNet. “There are increasingly more national programs emerging in other countries, but they are a good few years behind us. The fact that there has been this sustained and productive long-term government initiative is definitely attractive.”


The EU’s Quantum Technologies Flagship, in effect, only launched in 2018; some countries within the bloc, like France, started their own quantum roadmaps on top of the European initiative even later. Similarly, the National Quantum Initiative Act was signed into law by the Trump administration – but that was also in 2018, years into the UK’s national quantum technology program.


Commercialization phase challenges

Since it launched in 2014, there has been abundant evidence of the academic successes of the initial phase of the NQTP. In Birmingham, the Quantum Sensing Hub is developing new types of quantum-based magnetic sensors that could help diagnose brain and heart conditions, while the Quantum Metrology Institute leads the development of quantum atomic clocks. There are up to 160 research groups and universities registered across the UK with programs that are linked to quantum technologies, working on projects ranging from the design of quantum algorithms to the creation of new standards and verification methods.


A much harder challenge, however, is to transform this strong scientific foundation into business value and as soon as the UK government announced the second phase of the NQTP at the end of 2019, a clear message emerged: quantum technology needed to come out of the lab, thanks to increased private sector investment that would accelerate commercialization.


Some key initiatives followed. A national quantum computing center was established for academics to work alongside commercial partners such as financial services company Standard Chartered, “possibly with an eye on financial optimization problems,” notes Fearnside, given the business’ established interest in leveraging quantum technologies. A £10 million ($13 million) “Discovery” program also launched a few months ago, bringing together five quantum computing companies, three universities and the UK’s national physical laboratory – all for the purpose of making quantum work for businesses.


The government’s efforts have been, to an extent, rewarded. The quantum startup ecosystem is thriving in the UK, with companies like Riverlane or Cambridge Quantum Computing completing strong rounds of private financing. In total, up to 204 quantum-related businesses have been listed so far in the country.


But despite these encouraging results, the UK is still faced with a big problem. Bringing university-born innovation to the real world has always been a national challenge, and quantum is no exception. A 2018 report from the Science and Technology committee, in fact, gave an early warning of the stumbling blocks that the NQTP might run into, and stressed the need for improved awareness across industry of the potential of quantum technologies. The committee urged the government to start conveying the near-term benefits that quantum could provide to businesses – something that according to the report, CEOs and company chairs in North America worryingly seem to realize a whole lot better.


It’s been three years since the report was published, and things haven’t changed much. Speaking at the same forum as the NQTP’s Peter Knight, Ian West, a partner at consultancy firm KPMG, said that there remained a huge barrier to the widespread take-up of quantum technologies in the UK. “Some of our clients feel they don’t understand the technology, or feel it’s one for the academics only,” he argued.


Without sufficient understanding of the technology, funding problems inevitably come. The difficulty of securing private money for quantum stands in stark contrast to the situation across the Atlantic, where investors have historically done a better job of spotting and growing successful technology companies. Add the deep pockets of tech giants such as Google, IBM or Microsoft, which are all pouring money into quantum research, and it is easy to see why North America might have better prospects when it comes to winning the quantum game, writes  Daphne Leprince-Ringuet in Zdnet.


In the worst of cases, this has led to US technology hubs hoovering up some of the best quantum brains in the UK. In 2019, for example, PsiQ, a promising startup that was founded at the University of Bristol with the objective of producing a commercial quantum computer, re-located to Silicon Valley. The move was reported to be partly motivated by a lack of access to capital in Europe. It was a smart decision: according to the company’s latest update, PsiQ has now raised $215 million (£156 million) in VC funding.


Pointing to the example of PsiQ, Simon King, partner and deep tech investor at VC firm Octopus Ventures, explains that to compete against the US, the UK needs to up its game when it comes to assessing the startups that show promise, and making sure that they are injected with adequate cash.


“The US remains the biggest competitor, with a big concentration of universities and academics and the pedigree and culture of commercializing university research,” King tells ZDNet. “Things are definitely moving in the right direction, but the UK and Europe still lag behind the US, where there is a deeper pool of capital and there are more investors willing to invest in game-changing, but long-term technology like quantum.”


US-based private investors are only likely to increase funding for the quantum ecosystem in the coming years, and significant amounts of public money will be backing the technology too. The National Quantum Initiative Act that was signed in 2018 came with $1.2 billion (£870 million) to be invested in quantum information science over the next five years; as more quantum companies flourish, the budget can be expected to expand even further.


Competition will be coming from other parts of the world as well. In addition to the European Commission’s €1 billion ($1.20 billion) quantum flagship, EU countries are also spending liberally on the technology. Germany, in particular, has launched a €2 billion ($2.4 billion) funding program for the promotion of quantum technologies in the country, surpassing by far many of its competitors; but France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland are all increasingly trying to establish themselves as hubs for quantum startups and researchers.


Quantum Roadmaps

The UK National Roadmap for Quantum Technologies plans to realize its strategy by, producing a snapshot of the current quantum technologies landscape, identifying the application areas where businesses can use their strengths and capabilities to generate revenue and producing a broader set of actions for business, academia and the public sector designed to overcome future barriers to the development of a UK quantum technologies industry.


Quantum technologies

  • In daily life they could enable faster 5G or 6G communications for mobile devices. They could also lead to faster and more efficient construction projects, with reduced delays for all as workers will be using quantum sensor technology to identify pipelines and underground obstructions before starting work.
  • Within 10 years compact UK-sourced atomic clocks, and Medical diagnostics, heart and brain function, shall be available along with Global laboratory equipment in over 1,400 QT research groups around the world. Low-cost gas detection, Non-damaging biological microscopes,
  • Unjammable underwater navigation with GPS-like accuracy, Space applications, for example for environmental monitoring and earthquake prediction, Detecting underground facilities and voids for civil engineering shall be available.
  • Military vehicle navigation without GPS, Safer and better underground/mining navigation, Personalized and professional navigation devices, including for cars and mobile phones, Quantum-protected ATM, Improved military optical and thermal imaging shall be available within 20 years.
  • Personalised quantum computing systems for intractable problems, Large quantum computing systems for high-value problems and Quantum co-processors for high-performance/low-power consumer computing shall be available within 30 years.

The quantum technology roadmapping workshops identified 7 groups of technologies believed to have near (0-5 years), mid (5-10 years) or long-term (10-plus years) potential for commercial exploitation.


Short term (0-5 years): Components for quantum systems, Quantum clocks, Non-medical imaging technologies (electro-magnetic, gravity imagers, single photon imaging), Quantum secure communications (point-to-point secure communications)


Midterm (5-10 years): Medical imaging technologies, Navigation (precision inertial navigation), Second generation components (solid-state, miniaturised, self-contained quantum devices, for example accelerometers)


Long term (10 years+): Quantum secure communications (complex network communication), Quantum technologies in consumer applications, Quantum computing


Roadmap for component technologies

Components are themselves a significant opportunity for many UK companies. They offer opportunities for immediate sales to research organisations, have numerous early spin-off applications, and will remain central to a future quantum industry as it grows.


There is an estimated immediate national and international market of over £1 billion [for quantum technology components among researchers. For example, the market for components and modules using photonic crystal devices is estimated to be worth $100 million a year globally, with the value growing 33% a year between 2012 and 2017. In the UK alone, demand for components for QT research is growing by around £100 million a year.


As demand for quantum systems increases and extends to commercial applications in 3 years from now, the market for the components that make up these systems will grow alongside it.


Components will have to evolve from one-off bespoke pieces of equipment into devices with ‘good enough’ performance for use across multiple applications. This change will drive larger scale manufacturing, lead to higher quality components and reduce costs. It will unlock more low-cost, and potentially consumer-led, applications. These complex assemblies will develop into small, self-contained modules as the technology matures. They could be produced at higher volumes and with greater profit margins and will be made using highly controlled and well-known processes, such as electron beam lithography and surface mounting, and using other processes that may currently be unknown.


Roadmap for UK atomic clocks

“A study by the Royal Academy of Engineering exposed substantial UK vulnerabilities to intercepted or blocked GPS signals, which, unless mitigated, could have a significant impact on the 7% of the UK economy that is currently dependent on GPS.”


Next-generation atomic clocks and secure quantum communication systems are expected to emerge in the next 5 years and will enable accurate timing and navigation devices for defence, telecommunications, and finance industries.


Next-generation 5G telecommunications networks, which are expected to be rolled out in 2020 will require coordination between base stations. Localised timing devices accurate to within 500ns of UTC will be needed to provide hold-over for up to 2 days if they lose connection to a GPS fix. Currently, only expensive Caesium clocks achieve the required specifications


Second-generation clocks, such as cold-atom or lattice clocks with equivalent accuracy to current national primary standard clocks, can be realised in 5-10 years.


Roadmap for quantum sensors – through-ground imagers, gravity mapping and electromagnetic sensors

Over the next 10 years, quantum gravity field and gradient sensors will be developed. They can be used to build a 3D map of the density of material around them and will have a significant impact on the world’s construction and oil and gas sectors.


In the long term, quantum sensors may be used for neuroscience and the interpretation of electrical signals from the brain. Quantum electromagnetic sensors may allow these signals to be measured outside the body and offer a high level of precision.

An early market for quantum magnetic sensors may be for gesture recognition in computer gaming, a market that is estimated to grow to $23.5 billion by 2020


Roadmap for quantum inertial sensors

Quantum inertial measurement units (IMU) are expected to arise between 5 and 10 years from now and to offer a thousand-fold improvement on existing IMUs. They will allow a more versatile and more durable alternative to navigation by GPS.


Between 2018 and 2030, the defence and aerospace industry is expected to provide an initial market for new quantum navigation systems for use where satellite navigation systems are impractical.


They could be used in submersibles, for precision navigation for robotics in buildings, underground or in other situations where artificial denial of GPS may be an issue

Roadmap for quantum communications

Current Public key cryptographic systems are based on the on the hardness of mathematical operations, such as factorising large numbers, that will be vulnerable to quantum computing.


The options for replacement include quantum-safe public key cryptography (QSPKC), which relies on mathematical assumptions, and/or quantum technology-enabled key distribution (QKD), which is secured by the fundamental laws of quantum physics.


The first generation of devices is therefore likely to operate over point-to-point links of up to 200-300km in length, and be applied to mission critical links in the defence, government, healthcare, financial or corporate sectors. Secure networks, linking offices or telecommunications switching stations over a larger geographical area, will be possible in the medium term. In the long term, global quantum communications may be enabled by fibre optic quantum repeaters or by using satellites.

Roadmap for quantum enhanced imaging

Quantum enhanced imaging systems are expected to provide new opportunities in areas such as imaging and range finding in low light, or low-cost multi-spectral imaging technologies Applications are expected within 5 years for scientific devices such as microscopes and telescopes, in defence, and in environmental monitoring. Quantum enhanced imaging could have applications for medical imaging devices within 5-10 years once the regulatory approval is acquired.

Roadmap for quantum computers

Quantum computers store information using quantum bits, or qubits, which have been theoretically proven to process certain types of problems and information more effectively than a digital computer. Examples include machine learning algorithms, including image recognition, optimisation such as for maximising the return from a financial portfolio or for the movement of goods in a network, number factorisation and mathematical problem solving such as large simultaneous equations.


In midterm Cloud-based quantum computing services shall be available for high-value problems worth £10m-£100m a year, in long term Quantum co-processor for high-performance/low power home computing worth over £100m a year, shall be possible.

£70m funding to secure UK position as a world-leader in quantum technology

In June 2020, Science Minister Amanda Solloway  announced 38 new UK projects that will benefit from more than £70 million government investment to help mark the start of Quantum Tech Digital Week. The new projects aim to solve global challenges and address key industrial challenges, from developing batteries for electric vehicles to innovating energy storage systems that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, via the use of advanced quantum technologies.


The £70 million government investment is part of its Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The projects involve over 80 companies and nearly 30 universities and research organisations across the UK including the University of Glasgow, University College London and the National Physical Laboratory.


One project being led by Adaptix, a medical imaging company, in collaboration with the University of Manchester will use enhanced imaging to allow surgeons to effectively differentiate between healthy tissues and tumours in cancer surgery.

In addition, QLM, a start-up from Bristol, in collaboration with BP and the National Grid will use the funds to develop quantum enabled gas sensors that detect industrial leaks, helping to prevent natural gas being lost to the atmosphere and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Other quantum technology projects receiving funding include:

Developing one of the world’s first quantum computer operating systems. Riverlane, one of the UK’s first quantum software companies, will partner with the chip-designer ARM, and the UK’s leading computing hardware start-ups to develop this innovative operating system which will be used across all major quantum computing hardware technologies, helping businesses to unlock commercial opportunities.

Powering battery technologies with quantum. Phasecraft, one of the UK’s emerging quantum software start-ups will use quantum technology to overcome limitations in battery material designs and help predict their performance. This could break new ground in battery development across sectors from large-scale energy storage and high-perfomance electric vehicles, as well as lead to the development of more powerful battery devices.


“About one third of the projects concern quantum computing, demonstrating that the UK is becoming the go-to place for this game changing technology, with a growing community of thriving spin-outs, led by world-class teams. Quantum computers will be exponentially faster than classical computers at certain kinds of complex problems, solving in seconds what would take the best classical computers thousands of years.”


The investment is part of a wider package delivered by The National Quantum Technologies Programme which is set to see more than £1 billion of public and private investment over its lifetime. The grants that have been awarded will be matched with over £30 million of private investment into the sector, driving the UK’s leading position in quantum technologies.

Potential markets for quantum devices

Quantum technologies for defence

In 2013, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, released a report: “UK Quantum Technology Landscape 2014” as a contribution, to the national effort to realise the benefits of quantum technologies as seen through the lens of defence and security.


“Our vision is that quantum technologies will become game changing differentiators for UK defence and security over a 5-30 year time scale, and that their development will become a multi-billion pound industry that will benefit the UK economy over the same period.”

We see principal areas of opportunity for the defence and security community in the short and medium term as being timing and clocks, sensors and navigation, and enabling technologies such as quantum optics.


Quantum computing and quantum information processing is expected to have lesser impact in the short and medium term but immense impact in the longer term, including much that is not yet foreseen. Quantum computers will be able to perform tasks too hard for even the most powerful conventional supercomputer and have a host of specific applications, from code-breaking and cyber security to medical diagnostics, big data analysis and logistics.


Quantum technologies for space

Both optical atomic clocks and atom interferometers are cross-cutting technologies with applications in many areas of the space industry. These include earth observation of ocean circulation; earthquake monitoring; earth and extra-terrestrial measurement of gravitational and magnetic fields; navigation (particularly in deep space); secure and high-throughput telecommunications; and fundamental physics, such as tests of general relativity.


Current missions driving the development of atomic clocks within Europe are the ACES mission (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space) planned for launch to the International Space Station in 2016, and the navigation payloads for the Galileo satellite constellation. European Space Agency (ESA) is currently planning a future gravity mission using cold atom interferometry to achieve a gravity field recovery; this is expected to deliver a tenfold improvement in performance compared to its previous Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite (2009 – 2013).

Creating the right social and regulatory context

Regulatory and standards development

Standards are a useful enabler of future technology development, giving confidence and commonality in an emerging market that can be recognised internationally by all parts of the supply chain.


A new quantum centre for metrology and standardisation will be developed as a go-to place for industry and academia to test, compare, and standardize new quantum technologies.


Responsible research and innovation

Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is key to shaping public understanding of quantum technologies by promoting science and innovation that is socially desirable and undertaken in the public interest. It involves a two-way discussion between a wide range of stakeholders at an early stage of the innovation process.


“The UK is not alone in recognising the potential value of quantum technologies. However, there is an opportunity for the UK to be the global leader and a ‘go-to’ place for quantum technologies,” said National Strategy for Quantum Technologies.




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