Government funds AI and quantum computing research at Daresbury

UKRI will spend £172m over five years on digital innovation centre

Photo: Hartree Centre

The government has funded a new Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation, allowing it to research artificial intelligence and quantum computing with the aim of opening access to the technologies for businesses and the public sector.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will spend £172m over five years on the facility, with a further £38m coming from IBM. It is based at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Daresbury Laboratory site in Halton.

The centre will create 60 jobs and work on quantum technologies that can be used to improve the functionality and performance of devices including sensors and computers in sectors including materials, life sciences, environment and manufacturing. It will collaborate with academic and industrial researchers, including within small businesses and the public sector, and will also provide training and skills.

“By allowing industry to access a ready-made community of digital experts and cutting-edge technology, it will provide momentum for new ideas and solutions,” said Professor Mark Thomson, executive chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council. “This programme has the potential to transform the way UK industry engages with AI and digital technologies, to the benefit of not just research communities but all of society.”

The centre is named after Douglas Rayner Hartree, a mathematician, physicist and early computer developer.

Sam Trendall

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