Quantum technologies are considered to be those that harness quantum physics to gain a functionality or performance which is otherwise unattainable - the function of quantum technologies are derived from science that cannot be explained by classical physics, such as Newton's Laws of motion, thermodynamics, or Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism.
Many of our existing technologies - including the microprocessor, solid state imaging devices, and the laser - are derived from quantum physics. These technologies underpinned emergence of the 'Information Age' in the same manner that technologies based on classical physics underpinned the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The emerging quantum technologies of the early 21st century rely on more subtle, less familiar aspect of quantum mechanics. They offer a major opportunity for the UK, thanks to the competitive global position of the UK research base, and the willingness of key partners across the UK to work together. The UK government is investing £270 million in these novel quantum technologies, aimed at realising their potentially transformative impact across business, government and society.
The UK Quantum Technologies Programme aims to tackle the key technological challenges that must be overcome to realise the promise of the new generation of quantum technologies. The programme is being delivered by EPSRC and Innovate UK in partnership with other stakeholders, including the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).
The Programme builds on a strong base of EPSRC research across a number of research areas. In addition to funding delivered by this theme, relevant research in underpinning quantum science is supported by EPSRC's Physical Sciences theme, while applied quantum science and engineering research is supported by EPSRC's Information & Communication Technologies theme.