SBRI: Development and Delivery of Quantum Computing Testbeds

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of £30 million inclusive of VAT, to build, commission, and validate an operational quantum computing testbed in the UK.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £30 million

Opens: 21st Aug 2023

Closes: 4th Oct 2023

! This scheme is now closed


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Innovate UK for the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC).

You are invited to submit a proposal for a research and development (R&D) contract to develop and deliver a quantum computing testbed (prototype quantum computers) for the NQCC as a lead customer and end user.

This is a single-phase competition for quantum computing testbed technologies already at a sufficiently advanced stage of development. The quantum computing testbed solutions must be developed for the purpose of testing, benchmarking, and exploratory applications development.


This competition is a procurement for stable and well-characterised prototype or development platform solutions for a physical quantum computer. It must be capable of running quantum algorithms or analog quantum processes, referred to here as testbeds.

The testbeds developed and delivered can be comprised of novel components and subsystems that can be tested as part of the integrated system.

Your testbed must be tested and validated at system level by the end of the project. It must operate at system level as a testbed for running quantum algorithms or analog quantum processes.

Your testbed must deliver a level of functionality, allowing an experienced user of gate-based or analog quantum computing, to operate and programme the system with a defined software environment using sample scripts. The quantum processing units (QPUs) must offer state of the art performance.

Your project must establish an accessible quantum computing testbed and supply base for performance evaluation studies and applications development.

Your project must:

  • include the requirements and specification development, build, commissioning, initial test and validation stages
  • lead to an operational quantum computing testbed as the main project output
  • work with the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) as a lead customer of the testbed
  • develop a secure supply base in the UK
  • undertake the majority and critical project work in the UK
  • build UK capability in quantum technology development
  • plan to further develop and exploit the solution within the UK

The NQCC will appraise the outcome and results of validation activities of your testbed at your proposed build and operating location.

You must demonstrate that your testbed is suitable for use in an operational setting and meets target performance specifications.

You must outline your approach to allow access for verification and benchmarking by the NQCC and include a plan to commercialise your results. You must demonstrate your plans to establish a secure supply chain to support further development and manufacture.

This SBRI contract for the quantum computing testbed will cover the design, build, installation, performance validation, and demonstration of operational readiness.

Your testbed must be located in a suitable facility within the UK, or at the NQCC premises in Harwell, Oxfordshire.

At the completion of the SBRI contract in March 2025, you will be required to complete a project disclosure form or an audit instructed by Innovate UK.

Research Categories

Prototype development and evaluation

This can include prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation of novel integrated quantum computing testbed systems in operating environments.

The primary objective is to make further technical improvements on quantum computing testbeds beyond current state, that would benefit from the acceleration provided by this SBRI contract and be close to deployment at the end of the programme.


Projects are expected to:

  • start by 1 January 2024
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last up to 15 months
  • carry out the majority of the project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Your total project costs must reflect the level of support and R&D needed. We expect projects with total costs at the higher end of the funding to require significant R&D over the 15 month project period.

For projects that are already well developed, which may already be partly built and require less R&D, we expect your costs to be significantly lower.

To lead a project, you:

  • can be an eligible organisation of any size
  • can work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors
  • must work at NQCC facilities in Harwell, Oxfordshire or a suitable UK location

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. The work and capabilities of you, as the main contractor, must be critical in the development, delivery and operation of the solution. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can engage specialists or advisers. The project and delivery against the project milestones will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.

This contract will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.


Innovate UK will not fund projects that:

  • do not use ‘second generation’ quantum technologies defined as those involving the generation and coherent control of quantum states, resulting in phenomena such as superposition or entanglement
  • do not address how any potentially negative outcomes including but not limited to, on the environment or society, would be managed
  • do not evidence the potential for their proposed innovation to generate positive economic or societal impact
  • would directly duplicate other UK government or EU funded initiatives you have already been funded to deliver
  • are covered by existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions
  • are feasibility studies or are low maturity in their development
  • do not include delivery of significant and critical activities in the UK

Funding Costs

A total of up to £30 million inclusive of VAT is allocated to this competition.

The contract is completed and must end by 31 March 2025. Successful organisations are expected to continue any further R&D with the NQCC for potential future exploitation of your developed solution, by separate agreement.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

You must select whether you are VAT registered before entering your project costs.

VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business. We will not provide any further advice and suggest you seek independent advice from HMRC.

VAT registered

If you select you are VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT. As part of the application process VAT will be automatically calculated and added to your project cost total. Your total project costs inclusive of VAT must not exceed £7 million.

Not VAT registered

If you select you are not VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT and no VAT will be added. You will not be able to increase total project costs to cover VAT later should you become VAT registered. Your total project costs must not exceed £7 million.

Research and development

Your project must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design of components, sub-systems and systems. R&D can also include prototyping and trials of the product or services beyond the current state of solution availability. Your project must incorporate the results of your R&D in the testbed you can produce and demonstrate to acceptable quality standards.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

SBRI competitions involve procurement of R&D services at a fair market value and are not subject to subsidy control criteria that typically apply to grant funding.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.