SBRI: Quantum Networks, Enabling Components & Systems

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £10 million, inclusive of VAT, to develop enabling components and systems for quantum network technologies.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £10 million

Opens: 19th Jun 2023

Closes: 31st Jul 2023

! This scheme is now closed


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


The aim of this competition is to accelerate the development of enabling components and systems for quantum network technologies and to build UK leadership in the emerging global market.

Our communications networks are increasing in capacity and complexity as our economy becomes increasingly underpinned by data. Quantum network technologies will transform the way we secure, handle and process our information to meet these challenges, to build resilient communications and to make quantum computers scalable and usable.

In this competition you must:

  • outline how your proposed solution can have a commercial impact
  • evidence the commercial impact by engaging with one or more customers throughout the project
  • demonstrate your solution in a representative setting
  • deliver a deployable prototype by the end of the project

Your project must use second generation quantum technologies which are defined as those involving the generation and coherent control of quantum states, resulting in phenomena such as superposition or entanglement. We consider technologies involving single photon generation and detection to be in scope.

This competition is not suitable for feasibility studies.

Innovate UK encourage projects that:

  • work with network architects, operators and service providers to introduce quantum technologies to enhance or transform current solutions and services
  • enable the UK to become an integral part of the emerging supply chain for quantum network technologies

Contracts will be given to successful applicants.

You must demonstrate a credible and practical route to market, so your application must include a plan to commercialise your results.

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, organisations, themes and markets.

Specific Themes

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

  • techniques for securing data in storage and in flight
  • networking of quantum computers to advance information processing

Prototype development and evaluation

This can include prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation of new or improved products, processes or services in environments representative of real-life operating conditions. The primary objective is to make further technical improvements on products, processes or services that are not substantially set.


Text update 16/06/2023: We have updated the ‘projects must’ section to include the location of where work is to be carried out and where the results must be exploited.

Your project

Projects must:

  • start on 1 October 2023
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 12 and 18 months
  • carry out their project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK


To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations (RTOs) or the third sector 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.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can engage specialists or advisers. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.


Innovate UK will not fund projects that:

  • are covered by existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions
  • duplicate existing innovation
  • do not engage with potential future customers to understand needs
  • do not use second generation quantum technologies
  • would directly duplicate other UK government or EU funded initiatives you have already been funded to deliver

Funding Costs

A total of up to £10 million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this competition.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the provisional funding allocations
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

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. 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 £2 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 £2 million.

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

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.