3 April 2023
Teddington, south-west London – The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, last week visited the National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL) Advanced Quantum Metrology Laboratories, which will drive the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK.
The Secretary of State’s visit to NPL follows the publication earlier this month of the UK Government’s National Quantum Strategy, which sets out the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) new ten-year commitment to quantum technologies in the UK, including more than doubling the government’s investment into quantum to £2.5 billion over the next decade. As highlighted in the strategy, the quantum laboratories at NPL will support the growing quantum sector to ensure the UK is at the international forefront of this critical technology.
The laboratories at NPL are a world-class infrastructure to enable and drive the development of new products based on quantum technologies. Companies developing quantum technology products that rely on time and frequency signals can use the laboratories to test and evaluate their products – from laser linewidths to entire atomic clocks – and UK universities can advance their research capabilities with the ability to carry out clock comparisons for fundamental physics or precision spectroscopy with traceability to the SI second.
Together with NPL’s existing work in quantum, the laboratories enable the harnessing of quantum effects to deliver increased information processing power, secure communications, high-precision navigation and earlier diagnosis of diseases.
During the visit, the Secretary of State met with apprentices to discuss the work they are currently conducting as part of their apprenticeships and heard about the skills they are learning whilst undertaking work within the laboratories.
Ms Donelan said, “Quantum technologies are a game-changer for the UK. Investing in this cutting-edge technology, as well as state-of-the-art facilities like the Advanced Quantum Metrology Laboratories, will help lead to ground-breaking discoveries in science, healthcare and beyond.
“Through our National Quantum Strategy, we have more than doubled our investment in quantum to £2.5bn over the next 10 years. This will ensure the UK’s lead in quantum translates through to a thriving, world-leading quantum industry that creates high-quality jobs, drives growth and ultimately ensures we can improve everyday lives,” she added.
Dr Peter Thompson, FREng, CEO of NPL said, “The UK is ideally placed to emerge as a global leader in quantum technologies. Our new Advanced Quantum Metrology Laboratories takes us a step closer to realising this vision, satisfying a need for robust testing in quantum that will play a vital role for exciting new products in this area. Our laboratories will bring quantum innovation to life, utilising the science and technology capability of NPL to create impact in new ways, not only enabling us to develop and showcase the latest advancements in quantum technologies, but also offering a world leading space for us to collaborate with academic partners and industry. This will bring new skills to the sector and aid in new breakthroughs, which will support jobs and the economy in the UK.”
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Corporate Communications Leader
National Physical Laboratory
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NPL is the UK’s National Metrology Institute, providing the measurement capability that underpins the UK’s prosperity and quality of life.
From new antibiotics to tackle resistance and more effective cancer treatments, to secure quantum communications and superfast 5G, technological advances must be built on a foundation of reliable measurement to succeed. Building on over a century’s worth of expertise, our science, engineering and technology provides this foundation. We save lives, protect the environment and enable citizens to feel safe and secure, as well as support international trade and commercial innovation. As a national laboratory, our advice is always impartial and independent, meaning consumers, investors, policymakers and entrepreneurs can always rely on the work we do.
Based in Teddington, south-west London, NPL employs over 600 scientists. NPL also has regional bases across the UK, including at the University of Surrey, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Cambridge and the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.