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Bristol University unveils plans for £43m Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre

The University of Bristol has announced plans to establish the world’s first open access Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre, focusing on taking quantum research from the lab and into the commercial world.

Experts are predicting that by harnessing the quantum world it will revolutionise technology by making it faster, smaller, more secure and, ultimately, more useful for a wide variety of applications.

The UK Government anticipates that quantum technology could be worth £1 billion to the UK economy in the next 10 years.

The £43 million Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre (QTIC) is being funded in partnership by £15million from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), £21million from industrial partners and £7million from the University of Bristol. It will be based in the University’s new enterprise campus, to be built in the heart of the city.

Over 200 researchers at the University will work alongside companies to develop prototypes and help to establish new quantum businesses. It is intended that the new centre will provide affordable specialist incubation facilities for businesses looking to create new products and services.

It's anticipated that over the next ten years the centre will lead to 9,000 new jobs and generate almost £300million for the economy. It will enable the design, development and prototyping of quantum devices for secure communications, new sensors, simulators and ultra-powerful computers.

The University’s Quantum Information Institute is already working on a new generation of machines that exploit quantum physics to radically transform our lives, society and economy, including: quantum secure communication systems for individuals, corporations and government; precision at the quantum limit for sensors used in environmental monitoring, biomedical applications and security; quantum simulators to design new materials, pharmaceuticals and clean energy devices and ultra-powerful quantum computers to tackle challenges in big data and machine learning.

The full-scale facility is expected to open in 2021. Once complete, the centre will include a mixture of specialist labs, incubation facilities, office space, meeting rooms and conference facilities to co-locate industrial engineers and entrepreneurs with University researchers.

A talent academy to support the training of apprentice technicians through to PhD qualified quantum engineers and entrepreneurs is also planned as well as an enterprise hub

The hub will allow for start-up and early incubation of new businesses, provide access to a global network of quantum engineers, scientists, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, as well as provide affordable access to outsourced semi-conductor chip fabrication.

The facility will form a key part of the new enterprise campus next to Bristol Temple Meads train station, sitting alongside research and teaching in the fields of data analytics, cybersecurity, communications and networks, digital health, smart cities, transport, robotics and autonomous systems, and creative digital technologies.

Neil Tyler

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