National Physical Laboratory

NPL publishes report on industry recommendations to encourage greater industry engagement and investment into quantum technologies

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In February, Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), asked Dr Peter Thompson, CEO of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), to take the lead on a national activity, to engage additional large UK industries in emerging quantum technologies (QT) – a potential multi-billion-pound industry for the UK.

The engagement activities were led on the behalf of the National Quantum Technologies Programme, to work with business leaders to explore the necessary conditions for industry to invest in, and benefit from, quantum technologies; and ensure that any future government investment in this area is focused on the biggest opportunities for the UK economy.

Dr Peter Thompson, CEO of NPL, said: "Quantum technologies hold enormous promise for a wide range of industry sectors – from healthcare to transport. The UK is ideally placed to emerge as a global leader in quantum technologies and there is a unique opportunity for industry to shape new developments to their needs and the market opportunities from the outset. That's why we called on business leaders across all sectors to work with us to ensure the world-class research and technology development being conducted by the UK's quantum hubs, their university partners, the wider academic community and the emerging quantum supply chain can deliver the maximum business and economic benefit."

Over five months, Dr Thompson and the team from the NPL Quantum Metrology Institute met with over 30 businesses and all the quantum technology hub directors at a variety of industry dinners, workshops and board meetings. The activity aimed to establish the challenges and opportunities within each industry sector that quantum technologies can tackle, and build a strong industry voice in support of a future programme.

Following the industry engagement activity, some key recommendations concerning communications, proof of value and commercialisation, were put forward. These included:

  • The need for the National Quantum Technologies Programme to organise a proactive campaign, building on current activity and working closely with programme partner organisations, to promote the opportunities presented by the programme to major industry and new entrants.
  • The need for the programme to provide clear and tailored information that articulates the commercial potential of quantum technologies in each sector, highlighting the interests and concerns of different major industries.
  • The National Quantum Technologies Programme, with industrial companies and industry/sector bodies, should focus on developing a clear description of the required outcomes for innovation investment in each sector. This should include market opportunity assessment and technical implementation plans.
  • New prototypes and demonstrators must be properly tested and evaluated so that industry can have confidence in the technology they are investing in. The programme should include investment in facilities to help accelerate the industrialisation and commercialisation of new products, in particular through establishing a test and evaluation capability which serves the full programme.
  • The governance structure of the programme should allow rapid access to funds to enable unforeseen barriers to be overcome and progress to be made quickly.
  • The programme must build on the current levels of collaboration and partnership which have made the programme a success to date. The programme should address the issues of enabling quicker access to intellectual property which are currently causing great frustration within industry.

Download the NPL Quantum Industry Engagement Recommendations Report to learn more.

Last Updated: 7 Nov 2018
Created: 7 Nov 2018

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