EPSRC Quantum Technologies for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing
Closing Date: 01/02/2023
Funding for projects that will develop fundamental advancements in quantum positioning, navigation, and timing technologies to underpin alternative quantum positioning, navigation, and timing solutions in real world environments.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has launched this funding opportunity to accelerate the development of quantum technologies for positioning, navigation, and timing technologies through development of the underpinning capabilities required to exploit these technologies effectively.
Positioning, navigation, and timing is a critical enabler across the UK ecosystem. Current positioning, navigation, and timing solutions are typically reliant on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). There are however significant robustness and resilience challenges for existing GNSS reliant positioning, navigation, and timing solutions. These challenges have wide ranging implications for the UK including disruption of critical national infrastructure, navigation, and communications.
Advances in quantum positioning, navigation, and timing technologies could mitigate these issues and provide new opportunities where GNSS is not a feasible solution such as underground or underwater. Developments in quantum positioning, navigation, and timing therefore have the potential to unlock new market opportunities as well as enabling step-change improvements in performance to meet challenging requirements and applications.
This mission-led investment will form a key part of the wider quantum technologies mission. It aims to develop a diverse set of quantum technologies that support robust, resilient positioning, navigation, and timing solutions that provide alternatives to GNSS.
Projects should address one of the following three challenge areas. Projects should drive fundamental advancements in quantum positioning, navigation, and timing technologies to underpin the resilience, robustness, assurance and coordination of alternative quantum positioning, navigation, and timing solutions in real world environments.
This involves research into viable quantum clock technologies driving towards delivering higher precision, holdover or portability compared to current state of the art clocks, for example, optical clocks. The technology chosen for this should have the capability of achieving an appropriate size, weight, power, and cost for at least one application domain. This does not have to be within the timeframe of the grant, but there should be a clear pathway for how this would be achieved.
Quantum inertial sensors
This involves research into maturing quantum inertial measurement technologies that deliver a step change in the rate of positioning, orientation, velocity, and acceleration error grown in practically sized form factors. This should include research into engineering robust systems which are more resilient driving towards practical applications.
Quantum positioning, navigation, and timing technologies systems solutions and integration
This involves developing systems solutions for hybrid and fully quantum positioning, navigation, and timing. Addressing the systems engineering challenges required to integrate quantum sensors into multi-sensor hybrid or fully quantum positioning, navigation, and timing systems.
To enable the future commercialisation and pull through of these advancements, the projects funded through this mission will be expected to build appropriate partnerships across sectors, drawing industry, government and third sector into fundamental research in positioning, navigation, and timing relevant areas and ensuring applicability of the proposed research to real world challenges.
As a follow on to these projects, there will be an opportunity for grant holders to bid for follow on funding where the case can be justified. Further details will be provided at a later date.