Commercialising quantum technology: technology projects round 1

Key Features

UK businesses can express an interest in applying for a share of up to £30 million to collaborate on quantum technology development projects. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £30 million

Opens: 28th Oct 2019

Closes: 27th Nov 2019

! This scheme is now closed


The aim of the competition is to address technological barriers to the commercial or industrial exploitation of quantum technologies in the UK.

This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition.

Phase 1 is an expression of interest (EoI). No funding will be allocated under stage 1.

The decision to proceed with phase 2 depends on the success of phase 1. Only successful applicants in phase 1 will be invited to apply for funding in phase 2, which will include an interview panel.


The aim is to remove technological barriers to speed up the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK and increase private sector investment in the research, development and manufacture of the resulting hardware, software and services.

You must identify a technological barrier and propose an innovative project that addresses it to the benefit of UK quantum companies.

Your project must:

  • outline the technological barrier’s implications to businesses
  • describe a credible solution and how it is innovative and competitive
  • evaluate the value it will add to the UK quantum industry
  • provide a roadmap of future exploitation

You must also exploit second generation quantum techniques.

Second generation quantum technologies are defined as those involving the generation and coherent control of quantum states, resulting in phenomena such as superposition or entanglement.

Technologies involving single photon generation and quantum computing are also regarded as being within scope.

You must describe how you will collect project metrics, including:

  • investment in addition to the project partner matched funding
  • capital investment

Innovate UK are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • focus on maximising UK return from the quantum technology research undertaken by the UK academic base
  • bring significant new investment and businesses into the UK’s growing quantum technologies sector

You must address at least one of the following:

1. Connectivity: techniques for securing data in storage and in flight.

2. Situational awareness: autonomous systems; sensors and detectors for the built environment, transport and infrastructure; and imaging and sensing to “see things currently invisible”.

3. Computing: transformational computers for solving intractable problems.


To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, research and technology organisations (RTO), public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone but in exceptional circumstances an RTO can lead. The RTO must provide justification by email to at least 10 days before the competition closes. Innovate UK will decide whether to approve the request.

If an RTO is approved to lead on an application they must collaborate with 2 businesses or more and can only lead once.

To collaborate with the lead organisation you must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or RTO
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • enter your costs as part of the application

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding. Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

You should make sure that your participation in a project does not prevent any intellectual property (IP) generated by the project from being exploited in the UK.

You are encouraged to include the largest possible selection of UK businesses affected by the technological barrier you are focusing on.

Funding Costs

Up to £30 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £4 million and £20 million. The total grant requested must be below £10 million.

They must last between 18 and 36 months. Projects must start by the end of September 2020.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

You may need to claim a percentage of funding that is less than the maximum allowed for your organisation size in order to keep your total grant requested below the limit of £10 million.

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.