Press release

£204 million fund for UK universities to train future science leaders and boost quantum research

Universities Minister announces over £200 million to support PhD students in engineering and physical sciences.

Funding of over £200 million to support PhD students in engineering and physical sciences and boost the UK’s research into quantum technologies, has been announced today (1 March 2016) by Universities Minister Jo Johnson.

The £167 million investment in Doctoral Training Partnerships and £37 million investment in the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme will support cutting-edge research across the UK and help top students into a PhD. The funding for quantum technologies will further boost the UK’s leading position in creating new technologies which use advanced physics to deliver products for anything from more accurate brain-scanning and earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis to smaller and more powerful computers.

The funding is a part of the government’s ongoing commitment to UK science, with a record £6.9 billion invested in science labs and equipment up to 2021, and protection of the science budget at £4.7 billion per year in real terms for the rest of the Parliament.

The announcement was made by Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson at the University of Oxford’s Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub.

Visiting the Hub, Jo Johnson said:

We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation. The government is ensuring major new discoveries happen here, such as the creation of super-powerful quantum computers which scientists are working on in Oxford. This new funding builds on our protection for science spending by supporting research in our world-leading universities and helping to train the science leaders of tomorrow.

The Doctoral Training Partnerships are being awarded to 40 universities from Southampton to Aberdeen, Cardiff and Belfast and will give around 2,000 students the opportunity of Doctoral study, nurturing scientific and engineering talent in the UK. It will also enable universities to develop new ideas with more research support, so they can then leverage future funding from business and deliver new methods and understanding which will help improve our lives.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said:

Quantum technologies promise to revolutionise the way we live our lives. At Oxford we stand at the forefront of this revolution through our world-class research and training programmes. It is a pleasure to welcome the minister to Oxford to announce support for this key research area, as well as sizeable funding for doctoral places in physics and engineering that will help us continue to train the leading scientists of the future.

The £37 million funding includes investing £25 million in new equipment at 7 university-based quantum institutions, and £12 million to help train researchers starting out their careers in quantum engineering. Together they will help ensure the UK is in a leading position to benefit from the huge potential of quantum engineering for major global industries like computing and consumer electronics.

The UK’s quantum technologies programme develops important relationships with EU partners, and this funding will further strengthen the position of UK scientists, who are able to access a much broader range of academic research through the EU. This has also led to key investment in UK discoveries from European companies like Airbus.

Notes to Editors

  1. The University of Oxford will receive one of the highest shares, £13.5 million, for its Doctoral Training Partnerships. Their Network Quantum Information Technologies Hub will get a further share of the £25 million funding for quantum research infrastructure, helping the UK lead the global race to unlock the full potential of quantum computing – creating computers with vast processing capacity that can learn independently.