January saw the official launch of the Materials for Quantum Network (M4QN) which covers all major areas of quantum technologies and aims to ensure that the world-leading UK materials research base, the existing National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP), and the developing quantum industry base are brought together in a UK-wide coordinated effort.
The community-driven proposal was supported by 100 researchers from over 25 universities along with the four NQTP Hubs, the Henry Royce Institute, the National Physical Laboratory and Materials and industry representatives and will enable effective engagement between these key stakeholders.
Importantly, it will ensure that underpinning materials challenges are understood and will define pathways to solutions, giving strategic direction to research investments that will deliver a future UK quantum economy.
M4QN is co-led by Professor Richard Curry, Vice-Dean for Research & Innovation in the Faculty of Science & Engineering at The University of Manchester and Professor Peter Haynes, Head of the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. The strategic advisory board is chaired by Professor Rachel Oliver from the University of Cambridge.
Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory of physics that was introduced to explain the behaviour of atoms and subatomic particles. It dominated the twentieth century by enabling the digital revolution that has transformed our economy and society.
Now, the quantum physics of superposition and entanglement are set to 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.
Royce is contributing towards the network’s goals through supporting knowledge exchange between PhD students and the organisation of two Summer Schools exploring materials for quantum research. The launch event saw students starting to define the topics they want to learn about. These training activities will bring together PhD students to meet, network, and learn from one another and leading researchers in the UK.
Professor Richard Curry said “Materials underpin many critical technologies that we rely upon and focusing on ensuring they deliver optimal performance and function is a fundamental requirement for success. This is the case for new quantum technologies, and through this network we aim to ensure the UK harnesses our internationally-leading materials research to drive forward their development.”
Tom Hancocks, Training and Skills Manager at Royce, and Group Lead for the Training and Skills Base at M4QN said “Meeting with students so early on in a network was a great opportunity to make introductions, understand their motivations and begin a conversation on how the network and wider community can support their learning and development.”
Professor Peter Haynes said “The EPSRC Materials for Quantum Network is a timely opportunity to harness the UK’s materials research community in addressing the needs of the national quantum programme to develop mature technologies that are sufficiently usable, reliable and cost-effective to take to market.”
For more on the goals and objectives of M4QN go to https://m4qn.org/