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Commercialising quantum technology: Technology projects round 1, full stage


UK businesses can express an interest in applying for a share of up to £30million to collaborate on quantum technology development projects. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The aim of the competition is to address technological barriers to the commercial or industrial exploitation of quantum technologies in the UK. Your project must focus on one or more of the following technical barriers:

  • Connectivity
  • Situational awareness
  • Computing

Your project must also:

  • Exploit second generation quantum techniques
  • Demonstrate how the technological advance will accelerate the commercialisation and industrialisation of quantum technologies in the UK

Your application’s lead organisation must be a business unless a research and technology organisation (RTO) gained approval from Innovate UK to lead at the expression of interest phase.

This is the full competition, following the expression of interest phase.

Only successful expression of interest applicants are eligible to apply for funding in this phase. You will be required to attend an interview.

Open Date:


Close Date:


The aim is to remove technological barriers to speed up the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK and increase private sector investment in the research, development and manufacture of the resulting hardware, software and services.

You must identify a technological barrier and propose an innovative project that addresses it to the benefit of UK quantum companies.

Your project must:

  • Outline the technological barrier’s implications to businesses
  • Describe a credible solution and how it is innovative and competitive
  • Evaluate the value it will add to the UK quantum industry
  • Provide a roadmap of future exploitation

You must also exploit second generation quantum techniques. Second generation quantum technologies are defined as those involving the generation and coherent control of quantum states, resulting in phenomena such as superposition or entanglement. Technologies involving single photon generation and quantum computing are also regarded as being within scope.

You must describe how you will collect project metrics, including:

  • Investment in addition to the project partner matched funding
  • Capital investment

Innovate UK are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • Focus on maximising UK return from the quantum technology research undertaken by the UK academic base
  • Bring significant new investment and businesses into the UK’s growing quantum technologies sector

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Specific themes

You must address at least one of the following:

1. Connectivity: techniques for securing data in storage and in flight.

2. Situational awareness: autonomous systems; sensors and detectors for the built environment, transport and infrastructure; and imaging and sensing to “see things currently invisible”.

3. Computing: transformational computers for solving intractable problems.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £4million and £20million. The total grant requested must be below £10million.

Projects must be collaborative and must last between 18 and 36 months. Projects must start by the end of September 2020.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business of any size
  • Collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, research and technology organisations (RTO), public sector organisations or charities
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Your application’s lead organisation must be a business unless a research and technology organisation (RTO) gained approval from Innovate UK to lead at the expression of interest phase.

Applicants who wish to change their lead organisation following the EOI stage must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 days before the competition closes. Innovate UK will decide whether to approve their request.

If an RTO is approved to lead on an application it must collaborate with 2 businesses or more and can only lead once.

To collaborate with the lead organisation you must:

  • Be a UK-registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or RTO
  • Carry out your project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • Be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • Enter your costs as part of the application

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding. Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

You should make sure that your participation in a project does not prevent any intellectual property (IP) generated by the project from being exploited in the UK.

Innovate UK encourage you to include the largest possible selection of UK businesses affected by the technological barrier you are focusing on.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £30million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If your organisation is primarily engaged in commercial or economic activity (known as selective advantage) as part of the project you must ensure your request for funding does not exceed the limits defined below. This includes organisations that typically act non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • Up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • Up to 25% if you are a large organisation

You may need to claim a percentage of funding that is less than the maximum allowed for your organisation size in order to keep your total grant requested below the limit of £10million.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25, ‘aid for collaborative research, development and innovation’ of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Innovate UK are not funding projects that do not exploit second generation quantum techniques.

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.