Located at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Campus at Harwell in Oxfordshire, the ambition of the national centre is to foster a vibrant environment that promotes collaboration between quantum hardware and software researchers, attracting visitors and industry interest from across the UK and internationally.
The NQCC aims to bring together academia, business, and the public sector to address the key challenges of quantum computing, such as scaling-up this technology, making it commercially viable, and exploring how to create economic value.
The programme is funded through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in partnership between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and STFC. Construction started on site earlier this year and is due for completion in Q3 2023.
The new mixed provision of office, meeting and laboratory spaces will enable multidisciplinary teams to collaborate, providing the necessary infrastructure and an environment in which to design, build, operate and host quantum computers. The Centre is designed to house different technologies based upon a variety of quantum computing architecture designs and will help ensure that world-leading research and innovation continue to grow and flourish in the UK, attracting visitors and industry interest from across the country and internationally.
The project showcases Wates’s strength in sustainability and pre-fabrication. The team will use highly sustainable cross-laminated timber in the building frame, providing a low carbon footprint, while several building components will be prefabricated off-site to reduce vehicle movements and carbon emissions. These include internal riser and corridor modules along with plant room skids, produced in Wates’ offsite manufacturing facility, PRISM, in Coventry. Wates will also use electrically powered plant and machinery wherever possible.
Wates has made environmental and social value commitments as part of the project, in partnership with its supply chain. As well as creating new full-time job opportunities, 12 apprenticeships and additional work experience placements, the project will also divert over 98% of waste from landfills and deliver a BREEAM Excellent scheme.
Dr Michael Cuthbert, Director, NQCC, mentioned:
“With the commencement of the main construction work by Wates, we’ve reached a significant milestone for the NQCC. It is a major step towards the UK’s ambition to build and support a vibrant and strong quantum ecosystem. We look forward to seeing the progress in the coming months towards completion of this purpose-built world-class facility.”
Paul Chandler, Executive Managing Director, Wates Construction Group, said:
“We are proud to be delivering a facility that supports the UK’s ambition to be at the forefront of the pioneering quantum computing technology. The project will allow increased collaboration and provide new ways of working to help tackle the problems that classical computers can’t resolve. Working alongside the UKRI, we want to ensure that world-leading technological innovation continues to grow and flourish in the UK through having the best-in-class buildings that can facilitate it”.
Quantum computers have the potential to solve complex real-world problems that today’s most powerful supercomputers can’t tackle. Quantum computing could help in a range of applications, including better use of transport networks by providing the optimal route to save on time and fuel costs, and in pharmaceutical development, to better understand drug interactions by simulating molecular properties.