UKRI appoints National Quantum Computing Centre Director

The NQCC is being established with a £93 million investment by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as part of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP).

Transformative technology

The NQTP, a ten-year, £1 billion programme, was launched to accelerate the development of quantum technologies which will have a transformative impact on many areas of the economy and society.

Dr Cuthbert was appointed as Interim NQCC Director in February 2020 and has led the centre through its startup phase, including its launch and publication of its strategic intent.

Ambitious goal

He will continue to lead work to establish the NQCC and realise its goal of developing a fully scalable, fault-tolerant quantum computer.

The centre will work with the thriving UK community of start-ups and components suppliers to develop a sustainable industry able to deliver the UK’s ambitions to be a quantum-enabled economy.

Quantum-enabled economy

Prior to his appointment as interim director he was Business Development Director and Quantum Technologies Sector Lead at Oxford Instruments.

Through a variety of senior leadership, commercial and technical roles he has extensive industrial experience of bringing complex technology systems to market with a particular focus on applications.

Development of use cases and applications with early adopters of emerging quantum computing is a key deliverable for the centre.

Creating a positive impact

Dr Cuthbert said:

“I am passionate about quantum computing and its potential to create positive impact on some of society’s biggest challenges, such as climate science and clean energy.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as Director, and immensely proud to lead the NQCC forward as we move from launch to centre operations.

“I have no doubt the NQCC will have an important contribution to make to both the UK national programme and with our colleagues internationally.”

Operational in early 2023

The centre is a joint initiative of UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

It will be based at STFC’s campus in Oxfordshire and is scheduled to be open and operational in early 2023.

Building on UK strengths

The NQCC will build on the strength in quantum computing that the UK has established through the first phase of the NQTP and will be a key part of the wider UK quantum computing landscape.

This includes:

  • the Quantum Technologies Research Hubs
  • quantum challenges and programmes within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
  • doctoral training
  • and the activities of industry in this area.

The NQCC has established an innovative programme of activities for the coming years, which will include:

  • engaging broadly with key stakeholders in government, academia and industry to establish a user community
  • carrying out an ambitious technology development programme
  • establishing the centre at the heart of the UK’s quantum computing community.

World’s first quantum-ready economy

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said:

“The National Quantum Computing Centre will play a key role in achieving the UK’s goal to become the world’s first quantum-ready economy.

“We are extremely fortunate to have been able to appoint Michael as the permanent Director of the NQCC. His vision and leadership have already helped define the UK’s ambition in quantum computing.

“We look forward to breaking new ground in quantum computing as part of our wider commitment to quantum technologies in the UK.”

Ambitions for the NQCC

STFC Executive Chair, Professor Mark Thomson, said:

“Michael has already proved in his interim position that he has the knowledge and leadership to drive forward this ambitious project to transform the UK’s capabilities in quantum technology.

“This is a great appointment and I have every faith that Michael will successfully realise the ambitions for the NQCC and navigate the centre to the forefront of the national quantum community.”

To view the UKRI press release, see here.