Westminster eForum

Developing quantum technologies in the UK - funding, technical challenges and commercialisation

Morning, Thursday, 30th January 2020

Central London


This timely seminar will consider the way forward for developing quantum technologies in the UK.

It takes place following the announcement of a series of rounds of government funding for the UK National Quantum Technology Programme.

Delegates will assess progress made so far under the overarching national programme - including on individual projects such as the establishment of a new National Quantum Computing Centre and the development of new Centres for Doctoral Training - and on what more might be required from policymakers, researchers and businesses to support work into developing quantum technologies in the UK.

There will be further discussion on the UK’s current and future competitiveness in the international quantum R&D landscape, in the context of major investments being made by a number of other players including the USA, China and the EU.

Those in attendance will consider what more needs to be done to address the key remaining technical and practical barriers to widespread commercialisation of quantum technologies across areas such as computing, sensing, metrology, imaging and communications - including problems around scalability, stability and reliability, and integration with existing systems and computing processes.

Delegates will also consider some of the potential disruptive effects of quantum technologies, including the challenges it may pose to conventional cybersecurity and encryption methodologies - and the way forward for developing new technologies and approaches to mitigate these concerns at an early stage.

Following the recent announcement by UKRI of the commercialising quantum technologies programme, we expect further discussion on key priorities for driving the development of practical applications for quantum technologies and their rollout into the wider economy.

Sessions on the agenda will consider the progress being made by the UKRI-funded Quantum Pioneer Challenge Fund projects - such as the Gravity Pioneer project, aiming to develop a quantum gravity sensor for use in underground surveying - and what learning from these projects might be applied more broadly - examining some of the key obstacles encountered and solutions deployed.

The agenda will also bring out latest thinking on what more may be needed from policymakers to incentivise private sector investment into quantum technology projects, as well as the way forward for developing effective collaboration between the public sector, academia and industry.

The conference will also provide an opportunity to discuss the potential overall impact of any future growth in the use of quantum technologies across a range of sectors and business areas.

We expect discussion on the possible broader societal implications, and whether new regulatory developments might be needed in the future in order to avoid unforeseen negative consequences.

Keynote Speaker

Roger McKinlay

Challenge Director, Quantum Technologies, UKRI

Keynote Speaker

Roger McKinlay

Challenge Director, Quantum Technologies, UKRI


Chi Onwurah MP

Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science & Innovation


Dr Rhys Lewis

Head of Quantum Metrology Institute, National Physical Laboratory

Professor Andrew Lord

Senior Manager Optical Research, BT

Dr Carmen Palacios-Berraquero

Chief Executive Officer, Nu Quantum

Dr David Snelling

Fujitsu Fellow and Programme Director, Artificial Intelligence, Fujitsu

Dr Richard Murray

Business Development Manager, Quantum Technologies, Teledyne e2v

Dr Peter Waggett

Director, Emerging Technology, IBM

Dr George Tuckwell

Director, Geoscience and Engineering Division, RSK

Professor Elham Kashefi

Associate Director (Applications), Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub and Personal Chair, Quantum Computing, University of Edinburgh