A SPIN-OUT company from the University of Sussex has been awarded a multi-million pound boost to build a viable commercial quantum computer.

A consortium led by Universal Quantum has been awarded a £7.5 million grant from Innovate UK's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to build a scalable quantum computer that can correct its own errors and apply this technology to high-impact problems in the aerospace industry.

The consortium, comprising sector leaders covering key areas of quantum computing development, will tackle a major challenge in making them commercially viable - correcting the errors that quantum bits are prone too.

It will bring together quantum experts with world-class engineers and UK businesses, creating a new 'quantum ecosystem' for the UK and boosting the burgeoning quantum tech cluster in the Greater Brighton City Region.

Dr Sebastian Weidt, lecturer in quantum technologies at Sussex University and co-founder and CEO at Universal Quantum, said: "Error correction is crucial to achieve anything really useful with quantum computers, so we are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant.

"This project is an important step forward, helping us to go from today's proof of principle machines to scalable quantum computers that can solve some of the world's most pressing computational challenges."

Quantum computers are expected to offer a new way of helping solve complex problems beyond the capabilities of a regular computer, with the ability to perform millions of calculations at the same time.

Professor David Maguire, interim vice-chancellor at the University of Sussex, said: "In the three years since the university partnered with Dr Sebastian Weidt and Professor Winfried Hensinger to support the launch of Universal Quantum, their ground-breaking work to build a large-scale quantum computer has attracted millions of pounds of investor funding and international interest.

"We're delighted to see the work of this consortium of leading industry players, recognised and backed by the government via Innovate UK, bringing further viral investment into Brighton's growing quantum tech sector."

Prior to launching the consortium, Professor Hensinger - the director of the University of Sussex Center for Quantum Technologies - led an international team that included scientists from Google and his team at the university to publish the world's first practical blueprint for how to build a large-scale quantum computer.

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