Commercialising quantum devices: innovation R&D

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million to collaborate on prototype quantum devices that meet end user needs with a clear route to market.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of £20m

Opens: 18th Apr 2018

Closes: 13th Jun 2018

! This scheme is now closed


The aim of this competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK.

Innovate UK will invest £20 million in innovation projects to develop prototype quantum technology devices that address one or more of these important industrial challenges which are explained further in the scope of this competition:

  1. Situational awareness.
  2. Infrastructure productivity.
  3. Seeing the invisible.
  4. Trusted peer to peer communication

The aim of this competition is to deliver working prototype ‘second generation’ quantum devices or systems that fulfil the technical and ergonomic requirements of end users. ‘Second generation’ means they use the generation or coherent control and manipulation of quantum states, resulting in superposition and entanglement. This allows them to do things that would be impossible with ‘non-quantum’ means. This definition also includes single photon generation or detection devices.

Your proposal must:

  • demonstrate how the device can be brought to market, with manufacture or assembly in the UK
  • fulfil an end user need through the technological advances in quantum technology

A business must lead the project. You must work in collaboration with others.

Project size

Your project’s total costs should be between £3 million and £10 million. Projects should start by 1 November 2018 and last up to 29 months. Projects must be completed by the end of March 2021.

Projects Innovate UK wont fund

Projects that do not develop second generation quantum technology devices as defined above.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies. This should be achieved through the production of prototype quantum technology devices and systems. They must provide breakthrough capabilities that answer the main challenges facing customers in the areas of sensing, imaging and secure information exchange.

Your project must address one or more of the following technology challenges:

  1. Situational awareness: situational awareness during transportation in highly hazardous conditions such as darkness, fog or dust, to enhance safety.
  2. Infrastructure productivity: increased productivity in the deployment, improvement or maintenance of the built environment and critical national infrastructure.
  3. Seeing the invisible: identification and understanding of features and states in critical areas (medical, environmental, security) which are impossible to access by conventional means.
  4. Trusted peer-to-peer communication: complete and long term trust in the secure peer-to-peer transfer of data and information, for example across smart cities and environments.

InnovateUK will only fund projects that include:

  • an end user collaborator to specify how the device will be used
  • the development of prototype quantum technology devices
  • clear technical and ergonomic specifications that the device will need to achieve
  • a clear description of how the product will be brought to the marketplace
  • a consideration of design and the user experience
  • activities that demonstrate, benchmark and/or validate the performance of the device

Specific themes

They are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • involve consortia which span the supply chain of component suppliers, system integrators, and end user businesses
  • focus on maximising UK return from the quantum technology research undertaken by the UK academic base
  • bring new investment and businesses into the UK’s growing quantum technologies sector

Projects should include human-centred research and design activities. To carry out human-centred design you should:

  • investigate the needs of important stakeholders, such as potential customers, end users and supply chain partners
  • use that research to define what attributes a desirable solution should have
  • demonstrate how your chosen solution will fulfil the needs of the above