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November 8, 2021

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Hub team demonstrates advances in quantum communications at UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2021

The UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase, organised by the KTN in collaboration with Innovate UK, took place at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, on 5 November 2021.

Aiming to highlight the success and progress of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme and commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK throughout the last year, the Showcase featured 70 exhibitors from across the quantum community.

With over 600 attendees from industry, academia and government, the event was a great success, particularly considering it was the first Showcase to take place in-person since the Covid-19 pandemic began. During 2020, the event took place online, with visitors from around the world tuning in to a day packed full of virtual demonstrations, presentations and panel discussions.

Prof Dame Lynn GladdenThe 2021 event was opened by Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, Chair of the Programme Board of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. Prof Dame Gladden highlighted several Programme successes from across the last year and gave special mention to the Hubs and the exiting achievements made through them. Amongst other successes from 2021, Prof Dame Gladden also highlighted the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which she said has had “remarkable success in catalysing industry led challenges and enabling start-ups to secure substantial further funding”.

A video address was then given by Science Minister George Freeman who spoke of the importance of the recently established industry group ‘UK Quantum’ which “will provide a collective voice and advocate for the UK quantum sector”. As part of his address, George also commented on the significance of the recently signed UK-US joint statement of intent on cooperation in quantum information sciences and technologies and the government’s determination to grow the relationships with the US and other countries, along with its intention to work with partners to grow quantum markets around the world.

Roger McKinlay

The final talk of the morning plenary session was given by Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director for Quantum Technologies at UK Research and Innovation. Roger spoke of the progress made by the Quantum Challenge since the last Showcase, including the germinator, feasibility and collaborative R&D projects funded across the year. Particular focus was on the recently funded collaborative projects, which collectively account for £50 million awarded by the Challenge.

As part of the exhibition, the Quantum Communications Hub had four stands. Hub partners Craft Prospect and the Universities of Bristol and Oxford were in attendance, showing the most recent prototype technologies they have developed.

Hub central standThe Hub had a central stand where visitors could find out more about the Hub programme of work as a whole and about collaboration opportunities through the current open round of Partnership Resource Funding. They were also able to see a demonstration, presented by the University of Bristol, which showed how light forms the foundation of our research.

Hub handheld stand


Prototype technologies for an entanglement-based network were showcased by the team based at the University of Bristol.

The latest prototype version of a handheld QKD system, which will enable free-space QKD transmissions between consumers and institutions to be undertaken, was showcased by other colleagues from the University of Bristol and from the University of Oxford.

Hub satellite communications standHub partners Craft Prospect and the University of Bristol shared their work to develop a next generation quantum communication CubeSat equipped with Hub technologies.

This year’s Showcase provided a fantastic opportunity for the Hub and its partners to get together with the wider quantum community to present and discuss the latest advances in the commercilaisation of quantum technologies. It was great to be back and meeting with colleagues in-person and we look forward to next year’s event.

Resources and recordings of the plenaries are still available on the Quantum Showcase Virtual Platform for those who registered to view, however, all Hub resources are available for anyone to view on our Resources webpages.

Save the date for the 2022 Showcase taking place on Friday 11 November 2022 at the QEII Centre in London. We hope to see you there!