Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a funding boost for Scottish universities and businesses to develop quantum technology.
Glasgow is an internationally renowned, leading centre for quantum imaging research, and the Chancellor said this funding will enable the city’s universities to continue their “cutting-edge research”.
In the future, it is expected that quantum imaging technology could be used in a number of capacities – such as helping emergency services use more accurate, live and high-quality imaging before embarking on rescue attempts.
Additionally, the technology could be deployed during hostage situations, to help fire services, see around corners or map hidden underground hazards.
The development of quantum technology has been identified as a future technology which forms a key part of the UK Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.
Science, research and innovation, the Government said, is “at the core” of the strategy, and it has outlined its ambition to raise private and public sector investment in R&D by 2.4% by 2027.
Other centres that will benefit from funding in the UK include; the University of Oxford’s Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub and the Quantum Communications Hub, currently led by the University of York.
On a visit to the University of Strathclyde, the Chancellor said that this funding will enable the UK to cultivate a reputation as a global leader. He suggested that funding for technology must be a key focus of government to maintain the nation’s status as a technological hub.
“The UK is a world leader in Quantum technologies,” he said. “But others are investing hard to catch up with us. The £80 million in new funding that I have announced today will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution.”
He added: “Technological leadership boosts our economy and our productivity, meaning higher growth and higher wages.”
Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright, echoed the Chancellor’s comments, stating: “Quantum computing promises to transform our lives and solve problems that today’s computers are unable to address.
“Thanks to our National Quantum Technology Programme and this new funding from government we are extremely well placed to pioneer this groundbreaking innovation.”
Supporting Glasgow Innovation
During his visit to Glasgow, the Chancellor also announced more than £25 million will be made available to UK industry to develop next-generation 5G mobile technology in specific sectors.
The aim of government, he noted, was to establish the UK as a world leader in this field also, so that the country can take advantage of the “huge economic benefits” that 5G technology can offer.