Multi-million pound boost to UK science research

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Advanced science funding will bolster UK research in the years ahead

A new £204 million fund has been set up by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which will boost the UK's research into quantum technologies and support PhD students in engineering and physical sciences across the country in the coming years.

Unveiled by universities and science minister Jo Johnson on Tuesday (March 1st), the fund will consist of a £167 million investment in Doctoral Training Partnerships and a £37 million investment in the UK's National Quantum Technologies Programme.

Both schemes will aim to enhance the nation's position as a world leader in cutting-edge technology development and research, with this latest announcement forming part of the government's ongoing £6.9 billion investment into science labs and equipment for UK tech leaders up to 2021.

A total of 40 universities across the country are to benefit from new Doctoral Training Partnerships, which will provide approximately 2,000 students with the opportunity to extend their time in higher education through doctoral study.

It is hoped that the additional funding on offer under the programme will enable universities to develop new products, ideas and technologies with more research support.

The expected outcome of which is that higher educational establishments and private businesses will then be able to work more closely and more profitably to develop the latest cutting-edge technologies that will be of benefit to the whole of the UK.

Meanwhile, seven university-based quantum institutions are to benefit from the second tranche of funding as part of this latest BIS announcement, with £25 million to be spent on new equipment and £12 million to be put towards the training of researchers that are currently starting out on their careers in quantum engineering.

Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, commented: "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."

Quantum technologies could hold the key to significant advances in a range of areas in the years to come, with these new systems utilising advanced physics to deliver products for anything from more accurate brain-scanning to potentially enable earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis to smaller and more powerful computers.

Ongoing investment in the UK's science sector will therefore deliver a win-win for businesses and the nation as a whole in the years to come.