Spinouts are in line to receive a share of the government funding to advance quantum applications spanning computing, imaging, sensors and communications.
The UK government is looking to foster university spinouts focused on quantum technologies with the help of a £153m ($193m) strand of its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund dedicated to the sector.
The scheme, known as the Commercialising Quantum Technologies Challenge, will be administered by government funding agency UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and will be supported by an additional $259m from industry partners.
UKRI will run the initiative under the National Quantum Technologies Programme, which launched in 2014 and has invested a total of $1.3bn to advance quantum projects to date.
The vehicle will back quantum-related products and innovations through industry-led projects and R&D competitions, while also supplying accelerator-linked funding for early-stage quantum spinouts and other businesses, to facilitate activities such as feasibility work.
Quantum technology could provide greater computing power once mass produced, however there may be security implications for governments to grapple with given with its ability to crack open conventional cipher-based encryption.
The fresh funding is anticipated to enhance the competitiveness of UK quantum research in areas including computing, imaging, sensors and communications.
UK universities are actively advancing a number of quantum-based concepts – recent spinout activity in the space has included a $950,000 pre-seed round for Imperial College London-founded quantum software developer Phasecraft, and a $2.5m seed round for University College London’s quantum security product creator Kets Quantum Security.
Chris Skidmore, the UK minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation, said: “This milestone shows that quantum is no longer an experimental science for the UK. Investment by government and businesses is paying off, as we become one of the world’s leading nations for quantum science and technologies.”