Quantum technology and the growing opportunity in the Midlands: new cluster report published

Date posted: October 20, 2023
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A new Midlands Engine  snapshot report finds our region is developing a thriving quantum cluster, with opportunities for the Midlands to grow its academic strength and foster a dynamic, private sector quantum industry.

In partnership with The Data City, the report identifies companies operating at a local level and the universities working on quantum projects within the cluster.

The snapshot looks at the cluster through four lenses:

Quantum businesses are growing

There are over 60 businesses active in the Midlands, representing 10% of the UK Quantum technology company population. This has grown year on year, with the number of companies growing by 44% since 2013.

Midlands universities are quantum innovators

Universities in the Midlands are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to quantum technology, receiving £55.6m in UKRI (UK Research & Innovation) funding since 2017.

This has directly funded hubs such as the University of Birmingham’s UK Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology, as well as smaller projects including the University of Nottingham’s efforts to improve small thermal machines, essential for modern tasks like powering vehicles and cooling electronics.

The report also identifies key assets, including the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, Loughborough University’s Centre for Science of Materials and the Midlands Ultracold Atom Research Centre at the University of Birmingham.

Employees are spread across the region

Thanks to the location of certain companies, high density populations can be found in Birmingham and Lincoln, with other counties such as Warwickshire and south Leicestershire containing growing numbers of employees.

But quantum is suffering underinvestment

While £1.5m has gone into the Midlands, our region’s quantum companies are lacking investment. Midlands-based software companies received just 1.32% of the equity investment raised between 2017 and 2021.

This is despite the Midlands making up 10.2% of all high-growth software companies in the UK. This finding echoes that of our recently published cluster report on AI, which finds a similar lack of investment in our region.

The lack of funding in the Midlands may reflect the allure of London and the south for software companies, given the availability of talent and funding.

It is therefore imperative that the right skills and infrastructure are developed simultaneously to support a flourishing quantum cluster in the Midlands.

Read the full report here

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