UKRI appoints two Deputy Directors for the National Quantum Computing Centre

“Both Simon and Ash were appointed as Interim NQCC Deputy Directors and have made significant contributions to the establishment of the NQCC on an interim basis. Over the past few months, Simon and Ash have demonstrated not only their suitability for the roles but also the expertise they bring to the ongoing development of the NQCC. I am very much looking forward to working with them further as part of the leadership team”, mentioned Dr Michael Cuthbert, The Centre Director at the NQCC.

The NQCC interim leadership team were appointed in Feb 2020 and tasked with the design of the centre, including its operating model and community engagement, development of the process to determine technology platform priorities and the design of the building. By joining the NQCC’s leadership team on a permanent basis, Simon and Ash will work with the Centre Director Dr Michael Cuthbert to deliver the NQCC programme, and contribute towards the UK’s ambition to be a quantum-enabled economy.


About Simon Plant

Prior to joining the NQCC, Simon was the Innovation Lead in Quantum Technologies (QT) at Innovate UK, responsible for shaping and implementing the UK’s innovation strategy for the commercialisation of QT. He managed the portfolio of industry-led projects, as well as leading on international outreach. Simon was previously a fellow of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, working on projects with industry and space agencies towards quantum sensors for space. In 2016, he was seconded to the Government Office for Science to work on the Blackett review of the QT landscape. Simon gained his doctorate at the University of Oxford working on molecular materials for quantum information processing and was later a research fellow in nanophysics at the University of Birmingham.

About Ash Vadgama

Ash has worked within High Performance Computing for over 30 years for UK Government. Ash started his career as a computer scientist developing scientific software on early vector supercomputers, then lead early developments in secure Linux clusters, various emerging technologies, Petascale HPC systems and resilient facilities, whilst collaborating with US national laboratories and other international partners, later moving into Business Leadership, HPC programme and financial management. Ash passionately supports leading-edge computational capabilities for UK PLC as a fundamental tool for Science, and works with UK Government, UK Research Councils, Academia and Industry on long-term computational programmes and future technology strategies. Today, his scientific interests include Artificial Intelligence, Exascale Technologies, Quantum Computation & Algorithms, Quantum Technologies and Cyber-Security. Ash holds degrees in Computer Science with Electronics (University of Oxford, Oriel College).

About NQCC

The National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) is a new research institution, funded through UK Research and Innovation, which is dedicated to accelerating the development of quantum computing by addressing the challenges of scalability. The centre will work with businesses, the government and the research community to deliver quantum computing capabilities for the UK and support the growth of the emerging industry. The NQCC’s programme is being delivered jointly by the research councils, EPSRC and STFC.

The NQCC is part of the National Quantum Technologies Programme, which involves £1 billion of public and private sector investment over 10 years (2014-2024), to develop and deliver quantum technologies across the areas of sensing, timing, imaging, communications and computing.

The centre will be headquartered in a purpose-built facility at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Campus in Oxfordshire, which is due for completion in 2023.