A Quantum Leap Forward
I recently had the privilege of attending the launch of QuantIC, Scotland's brand new innovation space for quantum physics based at the University of Glasgow. Now, I know the words “quantum physics" can bamboozle all but the most scientifically-minded amongst us so let me explain the kind of thing that’s going on there.
It's incredibly exciting - developments that would have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago. For starters, there's a camera that can see around corners, or through walls. QuantIC is also working on ways to actually see escaped gases and there's a gravity detector the size of a mobile phone that allows you to see what’s going on underground. Still in their early stages, the potential of such technologies is enormous.
Although it’s based at the University of Glasgow, QuantIC is built on world-leading science and engineering from across several universities both in Scotland and beyond. Its presence here underlines the fact that the collaborative ethos is a very natural one in Scotland. You can trace it back to the Scottish Enlightenment, of course, but more recently it has given Scotland its ground-breaking research pools and the Scottish Innovation Centres programme. Both represent significant investments from the Scottish Funding Council and Scotland's university sector and the benefits are already imprinting themselves on the scientific, economic and societal prospects of a progressive, modern economy.
As elsewhere, the collaborative nature of QuantIC does more than help foster exciting interdisciplinary research. Crucially, it gives businesses easy access to a broad range of experts to work with from across the quantum and photonics disciplines. On my visit to Glasgow I was thrilled to see that the QuantIC innovation space is already busy with collaborations around Scottish based companies such as M Squared Lasers and Chromacity. It's also great that the QuantIC community is seizing the opportunity to invite companies to Scotland from England, Europe and even further afield through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.
I believe passionately that our world-leading universities are critical to Scotland's future prosperity and I’m proud that the Scottish Funding Council has been so active in helping businesses and universities work together to set ideas free in environments where they can be translated into real value, real products and real jobs.
I was delighted to see the progress already being made by QuantIC and incredibly encouraged to see the blossoming of commercial partnerships in the new Innovation Space.
I'd like to wish the very best of luck to all its research and commercial endeavours. I am sure that their results will one day bring enormous pride as well as new economic growth to Scotland.
Dr Stuart Fancey, SFC Director of Research and Innovation - 25 Jan 2017