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confidence in
emerging technologies

NPL helps drive innovation in new and
emerging technologies

Emerging technology has the opportunity to create global and rapid change. Our world-leading measurement science and engineering provides confidence in data and decision-making, helping to drive innovation for industry and economic growth and prosperity for the UK.

Working across the five emerging technologies of AI, semiconductors, Quantum, Future Telecoms and Engineering Biology, our scientists are uniquely placed as independent experts to identify and create interconnections and opportunities. For example, bringing AI to modelling methods, quantum computing to semiconductors, and quantum to telecoms. 

NPL brings together industry, academia and government in furthering science and innovation. Our work in emerging technologies reflects the Government’s science and technology framework UK Science and Technology Framework, turning science into policy and developing resilience and prosperity for the UK. We:

  • build confidence in data and new technologies
  • make vital connections between the technologies
  • bring together national and international stakeholders to bring together science, industry, and expertise to act as a catalyst for change.  

We are playing a leading role in the UK’s National Quantum Programme, the National Timing Centre Programme, the AI Standards Hub and running large scale programmes such as the UK Telecoms Lab.

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NPL’s experts lead the field in each area

Quantum Technology - Emerging Technology iconQuantum technologies

NPL is a world leader in quantum with over 150 scientists, working with the most innovative companies across the world. We are home to cutting-edge research in quantum and lead vital work that aims to stimulate growth, support innovation, and establish international standards for quantum technology so that the UK can adopt new technologies quickly and safely. The NPL Quantum Metrology Institute is the leading centre for test and evaluation for quantum devices.

We work in partnership with quantum businesses and centres of excellence in quantum technology, providing facilities, resources, and expertise to implement test and evaluation capability. Our approach speeds up innovation and product development and gives industry confidence in future communications and the adoption of quantum technologies. Our expertise is invaluable in standards development, particularly for agreeing the test methods needed as the foundation of future product specifications. Our track record of helping UK and international companies to innovate their manufacturing processes has resulted in companies bringing products to market faster, generated high value jobs and improved customer choice. NPL plays an important part in making the UK the home of world-leading quantum engineering and science.

Read the quantum programme annual report 

Find out more about quantum standards network pilot

Find out more about national partnerships for quantum technologies

Future telecommunications - Emerging Technology iconFuture communications

We help the IT and telecoms industries embrace emerging technologies such as 5G, 6G, quantum devices and graphene. NPL applies the latest advances in measurement to provide assurance across the entire digital ecosystem. Our experts manage the intelligent collection and effective use of data, the quality and accuracy of signals, and enable new digital products to perform accurately.

NPL was selected to operate UKTL, the UK government’s new state-of-the-art cyber telecoms laboratory. Our team researches and identifies national security risks and vulnerabilities, to provide reassurance for industry, government, academia, and the end user. Our experts work in partnership with industry, government and academia to manage risks in Future communications and to embrace the benefits of a connected world. Our work delivers impact to consumers by establishing measurement infrastructure that gives them confidence in their connection to make the UK safer and more competitive.

Artificial Intelligence - Emerging Technology iconArtificial Intelligence, AI

A founding partner of the AI Standards Hub, NPL is known for its work to create the pre-normative technical measurement standards that are the essential technological foundations for everything from blue skies research to entrepreneurial activity. NPL is working on the standards for trustworthy AI, helping organisations to develop and adopt AI safely and securely. We play a fundamental role in the UK’s National AI Strategy, building on the UK’s strengths in AI and recognising its power to increase resilience, productivity, growth and innovation across the private and public sectors.

NPL works with organisations to harness the power of AI, for example, improving the accuracy of image-based breast cancer detection, improving the accuracy of ECGs in diagnosing cardiovascular disease, identifying patterns and correlation with health impact from patient data, helping clinicians’ decision-making in patient care and helping the food industry convert food waste into sustainable chemicals. NPL brings collaborative leadership to AI to create measured responses, technical and socio-technical measurement standards, and systems to help the UK and our international partners navigate this new technology, to manage the risks and maximise its impact safely.

Engineering Biology - Emerging Technology iconEngineering biology

The marriage of biology and engineering presents new challenges for metrology and NPL is leading the charge on the development of reference materials, tools, methods, and standards that will support innovation, scale-up and commercialisation of Engineering Biology (EngBio) enabled solutions.

The need to synthesize DNA on a large scale and reproducibly exploit cellular and biological processes to create innovative products and services is happening at speed. NPL brings confidence in the accuracy, control and characterisation of these processes which underpin EngBio driven solutions.

Our expertise and facilities also help Engineering Biology entrepreneurs across the UK to demonstrate the value of their products and processes, to unlock vital investment and to scale up their processes and deliver impactful solutions across health, clean energy, food security and advanced materials.  

Find out more about the UK centre for engineering biology metrology and standards

Learn how BiologIC partnered with NPL to optimise their 3D bio-processors

Semiconductors - Emerging Technology iconSemiconductors

NPL’s extensive cutting edge, applied metrology capability and experience is directly relevant to Semiconductor supply chains. We deliver metrology services and develop novel characterisation standards (skills, techniques, and technology) to support UK innovation and manufacturing, working directly with leading academics and industrialists. Our experts convene the UK semiconductor industry to identify priorities in measurement and test capability to support growth and to influence the development of international Standards.

Our highly respected scientists work at the heart of the international Semiconductor industry, representing the UK on international committees to ensure that the UK’s needs are met by International Standards as they are developed. Our independence means that we are ideally placed to bring together multiple partners from across industry and academia, locally and internationally. NPL currently leads the EU Metrology project (EMPIR) on Metrology in Manufacturing Compound Semiconductors 2021-2024 (a UK and European partnership). Through our international engagement and networks, we deliver pre-standards research for Emerging Technologies, which is currently being used to address semiconductors and synthetic biology. The role of NPL in leading the development of pre-standards research globally provides early access to best practice for UK industry and helps accelerate trust in international supply chains.

There is convergence and interdependence between NPL’s semiconductor activities and the other Critical Technologies, including NPL’s existing national programmes addressing telecoms and quantum technologies.

Find out about more about Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute

Manufacturer Measurement Network events listings

Find out more about quantum precise voltage validation

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