SBRI: Development and Delivery of Quantum Computing Testbeds
You are invited to submit a proposal for a research and development (R&D) contract to develop and deliver a quantum computing testbed (prototype quantum computers) for the NQCC as a lead customer and end user.
Projects must have total costs of between £2 million to £7 million, inclusive of VAT. Organisations can apply for a share of up to £30 million.
This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Innovate UK for the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC).
This is a single-phase competition for quantum computing testbed technologies already at a sufficiently advanced stage of development. The quantum computing testbed solutions must be developed for the purpose of testing, benchmarking, and exploratory applications development.
The aim of this competition is to develop and deliver testbeds that:
- accelerate growth of UK’s supply base, technological and infrastructure capabilities
- accelerate the growth in user adoption of quantum computing, and the industry and developer ecosystem
- explore critical bottlenecks and further improve understanding of technology readiness, integration and performance
Your testbed must be located in a suitable facility within the UK, or at the NQCC premises in Harwell, Oxfordshire.
The total cost of your project must reflect the value of the R&D activities and functionality in your proposal. The testbed function and performance results will require appraisal by the NQCC.
You must describe in the project exploitation activities your plans for making the developed testbed available to NQCC. This is for the purposes of further verification, benchmarking and non-commercial R&D following the project completion date.
All post-project arrangements for access and availability of the testbed would be covered under a separate, non-commercial R&D agreement with NQCC. For testbeds at the NQCC premises, asset transfer or loan arrangement options will be considered to avoid post-project relocation and associated costs.
Any adoption and implementation of a commercial solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of a commercial solution.
This competition is a procurement for stable and well-characterised prototype or development platform solutions for a physical quantum computer. It must be capable of running quantum algorithms or analog quantum processes, referred to here as testbeds.
The testbeds developed and delivered can be comprised of novel components and subsystems that can be tested as part of the integrated system.
Your testbed must be tested and validated at system level by the end of the project. It must operate at system level as a testbed for running quantum algorithms or analog quantum processes.
Your testbed must deliver a level of functionality, allowing an experienced user of gate-based or analog quantum computing, to operate and programme the system with a defined software environment using sample scripts. The quantum processing units (QPUs) must offer state of the art performance.
Your project must establish an accessible quantum computing testbed and supply base for performance evaluation studies and applications development.
Your project must:
- include the requirements and specification development, build, commissioning, initial test and validation stages
- lead to an operational quantum computing testbed as the main project output
- work with the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) as a lead customer of the testbed
- develop a secure supply base in the UK
- undertake the majority and critical project work in the UK
- build UK capability in quantum technology development
- plan to further develop and exploit the solution within the UK
The NQCC will appraise the outcome and results of validation activities of your testbed at your proposed build and operating location.
You must demonstrate that your testbed is suitable for use in an operational setting and meets target performance specifications.
You must outline your approach to allow access for verification and benchmarking by the NQCC and include a plan to commercialise your results. You must demonstrate your plans to establish a secure supply chain to support further development and manufacture.
This SBRI contract for the quantum computing testbed will cover the design, build, installation, performance validation, and demonstration of operational readiness.
At the completion of the SBRI contract in March 2025, you will be required to complete a project disclosure form or an audit instructed by Innovate UK.
Projects are expected to:
- start by 1 January 2024
- end by 31 March 2025
- last up to 15 months
- carry out the majority of the project work in the UK
- intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
Your total project costs must reflect the level of support and R&D needed. We expect projects with total costs at the higher end of the funding to require significant R&D over the 15 month project period.
For projects that are already well developed, which may already be partly built and require less R&D, we expect your costs to be significantly lower.
To lead a project, you:
- can be an eligible organisation of any size
- can work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors
- must work at NQCC facilities in Harwell, Oxfordshire or a suitable UK location
Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. The work and capabilities of you, as the main contractor, must be critical in the development, delivery and operation of the solution. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can engage specialists or advisers. The project and delivery against the project milestones will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.
This contract will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.
Innovate UK held an online briefing on 24th August: click here to watch the recording.
If you want help to find an organisation to work with, contact Innovate UK KTN.
If you need more information about how to apply, or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email email@example.com or call 0300 321 4357.