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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T001046/1
Title: UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensing and Timing
Principal Investigator: Holynski, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Sorel, Professor M Metje, Professor N Kruger, Professor P
Hammond, Professor GD Apostolopoulos, Dr V Faramarzi, Professor A
Sims, Mr DR Attallah, Professor MM Fromhold, Professor TM
Riis, Professor E Brookes, Professor MJ Ingleby, Dr SJ
Bennett, Dr S Jones, Dr R R Paul, Professor DJ
Hackermueller, Dr L Roberts, Professor C Wilkinson, Dr PB
Baker, Professor C Hastie, Professor J Pike, Professor WT
Fernholz, Dr T Griffin, Dr PF Bongs, Professor K
Tuck, Professor CJ Singh, Professor Y Antoniou, Dr M
Tropper, Professor A Bowtell, Professor R Constantinou, Professor CC
Orucevic, Dr F Jensen, Dr K Wilkinson, Professor J
Hinds, Professor EA Gowland, Professor PA Wildman, Professor R
Arnold, Dr AS
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr M G Bason Dr JP Cotter
Project Partners:
Added Scientific Ltd Airbus Operations Limited AMEY
Atkins AWE BAE Systems
Balfour Beatty Plc BP Bridgeporth
BT Canal and River Trust Cardno
Coal Authority Collins Aerospace Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL
ESP Central Ltd Forresters Fraunhofer Institut (Multiple, Grouped)
General Lighthouse Authorities Geomatrix Geometrics
ITM Monitoring J Murphy & Sons Limited Jacobs UK Limited
Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd Laser Quantum Leonardo UK ltd
M Squared Lasers Ltd Magnetic Shields Limited MBDA
National Centre for Trauma National Physical Laboratory NPL Nemein
Network Rail Northrop Gruman (UK) Ordnance Survey
Oxford Electromagnetic Solutions Limited Oxford Instruments Plc PA Consultancy Services Ltd
QinetiQ QuSpin Re:Cognition Health Limited
RedWave Labs Royal IHC (UK) Royal Institute of Navigation
RSK Group plc Severn Trent Plc Group Shield
Skyrora Limited Teledyne UK Ltd The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd
Torr Scientific Ltd Unitive Design and Analysis Ltd. University of Sydney
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 December 2019 Ends: 30 November 2024 Value (£): 28,537,607
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Construction
Healthcare Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
28 Mar 2019 QT Hub interview panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Timing, a collaboration between 7 universities, NPL, BGS and industry, will bring disruptive new capability to real world applications with high economic and societal impact to the UK. The unique properties of QT sensors will enable radical innovations in Geophysics, Health Care, Timing Applications and Navigation. Our established industry partnerships bring a focus to our research work that enable sensors to be customised to the needs of each application. The total long term economic impact could amount to ~10% of GDP.

Gravity sensors can see beneath the surface of the ground to identify buried structures that result in enormous cost to construction projects ranging from rail infrastructure, or sink holes, to brownfield site developments. Similarly they can identify oil resources and magma flows. To be of practical value, gravity sensors must be able to make rapid measurements in challenging environments. Operation from airborne platforms, such as drones, will greatly reduce the cost of deployment and bring inaccessible locations within reach.

Mapping brain activity in patients with dementia or schizophrenia, particularly when they are able to move around and perform tasks which stimulate brain function, will help early diagnosis and speed the development of new treatments. Existing brain imaging systems are large and unwieldy; it is particularly difficult to use them with children where a better understanding of epilepsy or brain injury would be of enormous benefit. The systems we will develop will be used initially for patients moving freely in shielded rooms but will eventually be capable of operation in less specialised environments. A new generation of QT based magnetometers, manufactured in the UK, will enable these advances.

Precision timing is essential to many systems that we take for granted, including communications and radar. Ultra-precise oscillators, in a field deployable package, will enable radar systems to identify small slow-moving targets such as drones which are currently difficult to detect, bringing greater safety to airports and other sensitive locations.

Our world is highly dependent on precise navigation. Although originally developed for defence, our civil infrastructure is critically reliant on GNSS. The ability to fix one's location underground, underwater, inside buildings or when satellite signals are deliberately disrupted can be greatly enhanced using QT sensing. Making Inertial Navigation Systems more robust and using novel techniques such as gravity map matching will alleviate many of these problems.

In order to achieve all this, we will drive advanced physics research aimed at small, low power operation and translate it into engineered packages to bring systems of unparalleled capability within the reach of practical applications. Applied research will bring out their ability to deliver huge societal and economic benefit. By continuing to work with a cohort of industry partners, we will help establish a complete ecosystem for QT exploitation, with global reach but firmly rooted in the UK.

These goals can only be met by combining the expertise of scientists and engineers across a broad spectrum of capability. The ability to engineer devices that can be deployed in challenging environments requires contributions from physics electronic engineering and materials science. The design of systems that possess the necessary characteristics for specific applications requires understanding from civil and electronic engineering, neuroscience and a wide range of stakeholders in the supply chain. The outputs from a sensor is of little value without the ability to translate raw data into actionable information: data analysis and AI skills are needed here. The research activities of the hub are designed to connect and develop these skills in a coordinated fashion such that the impact on our economy is accelerated.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk