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Government £20m quantum tech fund to invest in ‘three to five’ prototype devices

Businesses and researchers working on quantum technology projects across the UK will soon be able to apply for a share of a new £20 million fund set up by the government – the latest in a long line of government funding for quantum computing. 

On Wednesday, the government announced that it will be ploughing its latest round of investment of taxpayers’ money into just a handful of research initiatives developing various aspects of quantum technology.

The Pioneer Fund will be “available to support the development of between three and five prototype quantum-enabled devices” and be delivered as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge scheme.

The aim is to “establish whether more significant future funding could help UK businesses to establish a global advantage”, explained the government.

Calling it the “greatest single increase in government research and development funding for almost 40 years” – notwithstanding the £200 million in quantum computing research funding announced in March 2016, referenced above, or the £270 million scheme announced in December 2013 – the government said the scheme will drive economic growth and create new jobs across the UK. 

Business secretary Greg Clark said the funding will keep the UK at the cutting edge of potentially transformative technologies.

“Throughout the centuries Britain has led the world in creating new products and services and this new £20 million investment will enable us to be at the forefront of discovering new innovations that could change the world,” he said.

“Through our modern industrial strategy we are investing in the newest technologies, which will create the high-value, high skilled jobs ensuring we build a Britain fit for the future.”

Speaking at an industry event recently, Interim Challenge director Sir Peter Knight said the funding increase will allow British firms to tap into the expanding quantum technology market.

“In order to secure the UK lead in this area and make sure that UK companies take a significant share of this large future sector, we must act now with a focus more than ever on working across the spectrum of industry, academia and across government to achieve innovation,” he said.

“The Pioneer Challenge will develop our industrial base, integrated with UK research. The rise of quantum technologies will have a huge impact on all our lives.” 

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