SBRI: Quantum-enabled positioning, navigation and timing systems

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of £25m inclusive of VAT, to develop quantum-enabled systems for positioning, navigation, timing (PNT) and quantum-enabled sensing applications relating to navigation.

Programme:     SBRI

Award:     Share of up to £25 million

Opens: 13th Feb 2023

Closes: 12th Apr 2023

! This scheme is now closed


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Innovate UK.

The aim of the competition is to deliver quantum-enabled systems for positioning, navigation and timing, and quantum-enabled sensors for navigation applications, such as magnetic or gravity field sensors.

This is a single phase competition for quantum-enabled systems and technologies already at an advanced stage of development.

Your proposal must be able to demonstrate a credible commercialisation and delivery plan. This competition is not suitable for feasibility studies.


Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are a successful solution for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) applications. Their ubiquity has reduced the market for non-GNSS systems. An exception to this is where GNSS does not clearly meet the market needs, for example, where high levels of integrity are required or GNSS signals are not available.

This has meant services such as financial trading and power distribution have become GNSS dependent to the extent, they are now vulnerable to its loss or denial.

The market for non-GNSS systems is still limited, and wider adoption is restricted by the lack of data on their performance. The aim of the competition is to deliver quantum-enabled systems for PNT and quantum-enabled sensors for navigation applications, such as magnetic or gravity field sensors.

Your project must deliver:

  • a PNT system that is quantum based
  • realistic plans for commercialisation
  • capacity for manufacturing at scale
  • capabilities to commercialise your solution at the end of the contract period

Technologies involving single photon generation are in scope, if they are part of a project for quantum-enabled systems for PNT and quantum-enabled sensors for navigation.

You are expected to work closely with the relevant end user to develop your solution. Your developed solution must be capable of being readily integrated into systems serving specific application areas, for example, underwater, underground, aviation, power distribution, or financial markets.

You will be expected to demonstrate your technology is suitable for use in an operational setting.

Innovate UK will help, where applicable, to facilitate the demonstration in a realistic or meaningful environment.

You must demonstrate your plans to establish a sovereign and secure supply chain to support further development and manufacture. Where subcontracting, the principles of a sovereignty and security are important.

Projects will also be selected based on your proposal showing your credible manufacturing and delivery capabilities.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • quantum technologies for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT)
  • quantum-enabled sensing for navigation applications

This can include prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation of novel quantum-enabled PNT systems in real-life operating environments or in a setting that serves as a meaningful proxy. The primary objective is to make further technical improvements on quantum-enabled solutions, 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 from 1 July2023
  • end by 31 March2025
  • last up to 18 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Your project can range in size between £2 million and £7 million in total costs, inclusive of VAT.

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size that is UK registered or has a UK registered office
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector, that are UK registered or have a UK registered office, as subcontractors

This competition 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 demonstrate significant support and engagement from potential future customers throughout the project
  • do not address how any potentially negative outcomes (such as 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
  • are undertaken by organisations that are not UK registered or do not have a UK registered office

Funding Costs

A total of up to £25 million inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this competition.

The total funding available for the competition can change.

The funders want to fund a variety of projects across different markets, themes, technologies, technology maturities, locations, industrial sectors, project sizes, exploitation potential and business sizes.

The contract is completed at the end of the competition, and the successful organisation is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.

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. Innovate UK 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 must not exceed £7million.

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 £7million.

Research and development

Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design. R&D can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. This lets you incorporate the results of your exploration and design and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity 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

Innovate UK 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.