Mims Davies MP learns about quantum leaps being made at University of Sussex
By: Sam Keir
Last updated: Friday, 8 April 2022
Quantum physicists at the University of Sussex were delighted to welcome Mims Davies MP to campus today, Friday 8 April. The employment Minister heard about the pioneering research taking place in the quantum computer laboratory in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and at its spin-out company Universal Quantum, as well as the potential to create a new “quantum Silicon Valley” in her Mid Sussex constituency.
Ms. Davies met students and staff at the lab who demonstrated their work and its potential to tackle some of the biggest issues of our time in areas as diverse as low-carbon travel, the treatment of degenerative diseases, and advanced nanomaterials, like graphene. She was joined by Cllr Ruth de Mierre, Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Member with a portfolio for ICT, digital and full fibre digital infrastructure, Kathryn Hall, CEO of Mid Sussex District Council, and Simon Hughes, Head of Digital and Customer Services at Mid Sussex District Council.
Prof Winfried Hensinger, Professor of Quantum Technologies at the University, and Chief Scientist at Universal Quantum, presented Sussex’s vision to make the region a hub of the burgeoning quantum computing industry.
Prof Hensinger highlighted the University’s position as a world-leader in quantum computing research. This status is allowing the University to forge industry partnerships and investment, and train the experts required to meet the UK’s fast-increasing need for a qualified workforce in this sector.
He set out how Sussex’s quantum excellence is also leading to the formation of spin-out companies such as Haywards Heath-based Universal Quantum and the employment opportunities they are bringing to the region.
Mims Davies MP said: “It was fascinating to learn more about the vast potential of the quantum technology being developed at the University of Sussex. There are so many sectors in which this technology could make a difference in the future, and this this brings with it tremendous opportunities for jobs and investment.
“We are very lucky to have the work to make this a reality taking place in and around Mid Sussex and I’m looking forward to seeing how things progress.”
Prof Hensinger said: “We are laying the foundations for what can become a major industrial centre right here on our doorstep. The wide variety of quantum technologies being developed here at the University makes us unique in the UK, and positions our surrounding area as the perfect place to invest in opportunities to grow new companies to support these technologies. There is real potential to create a quantum Silicon Valley in the region that brings with it significant employment opportunities for the community.
“As we speak, we are training the scientists, attracting the investment, building the links with industrial partners, and creating the kind of companies that together will form the basis of the rapidly expanding quantum sector. It was a great privilege to show our visitors the activity that is underway and the opportunities this presents for the communities they represent.”
Prof Keith Jones, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Sussex, said: “We are very grateful to the Minister, and Cllr de Mierre, Ms. Hall and Mr. Hughes from Mid Sussex District Council for taking the time to come and learn more about the work taking place at the University of Sussex, and our ambition to help make our region a centre of the UK’s quantum industry as part of our commitment to making positive change in our local community.”
Dr Sue Baxter, Director of Innovation and Business Partnerships at the University of Sussex, said: “We are really proud of the impact that our quantum research and enterprise is having on the region. Quantum technology from the University of Sussex has already attracted over £30m of investment over the past five years. The South East currently accounts for around 30 per cent of UK investment in the sector, so the potential for the region is enormous.
“The support expressed by all seven of Greater Brighton’s local authorities for building a quantum tech economy is invaluable for putting our communities at the forefront of a rapidly expanding industry, with all the benefits that will bring.”