Quantum mechanics dominated the twentieth century by enabling the digital revolution that has transformed our economy and society. We are now poised on the brink of a second revolution where the quantum physics of superposition and entanglement will be exploited in transformative technologies for timing, sensing, imaging, communications and computing with applications in major industries including energy, construction, pharmaceuticals, defence, finance, security, telecommunications and information technology. The estimated annual global market for quantum technologies (QTs) is predicted to exceed $30bn by 2026. All of these technologies will rely on the development and application of materials.
In June 2022 the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council announced funding to establish the Materials for Quantum Network (M4QN). Our Network will bring together the world-leading UK materials research base, the existing National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP), and the developing quantum technologies industry base in a UK-wide coordinated effort.
The proposed Network has two overarching goals, with subsidiary objectives:
1. The formation of a new interdisciplinary research community that:
- brings together researchers in materials and quantum technologies;
- spans academia and supports engagement with start-ups and industry via the NQTP;
- facilitates communication and collaboration with common language;
- supports the development of a new generation of ‘Quantum Smart’ researchers; and
- promotes diversity and inclusivity at every level.
2. The identification of new interdisciplinary research topics within application areas that:
- address current needs of those developing quantum technologies for near-term and future deployment;
- demonstrate the evidence base for future investment; and
- secure the UK’s momentum and international leadership in quantum technologies.