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Director of National Quantum Computing Centre

UK Research and Innovation is inviting applications for the position of Director of National Quantum Computing Centre

  • Closing soon
  • Closing date: 06 Jan 2021
  • United Kingdom | UK Research and Innovation
  • Date posted: 03 Dec 2020
  • Job type: Government/Public sector
  • Discipline: Quantum science & technology 

Background information

As part of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is leading a programme to establish a National Quantum Computing Centre, which includes a commitment of £93m over five years, dedicated to drive development in the field of quantum computing and to place the UK at the forefront of the field. The Centre is a joint initiative of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

A purpose-built National Quantum Computing Centre will be built and operated by UKRI at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) campus in Oxfordshire. The Centre will be open and operational by December 2022. Until then, the NQCC’s activities are taking place in other facilities on the Harwell Campus or at partnering institutions. The NQCC will sit alongside other departments within the STFC National Laboratories and will be part of the broader National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP).

The primary purpose of the NQCC is to fill a key gap in the research and innovation landscape by providing a capability to address the challenge of scaling quantum computing. It will convene all necessary stakeholders across academia, business and government to achieve this.

The NQCC’s initial five years will focus on developing a Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) machine to demonstrate the technology, give assured and direct access to developers and promote the formation of a strong UK-based quantum computing supply chain, whilst driving efforts towards a fully scalable, fault tolerant, general purpose quantum computer over the longer term, enabling the creation of increasingly powerful quantum computers.

The NQCC will build on the strength in quantum computing that the UK has established through the first phase of its National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP) and will be a key part of the wider UK quantum computing landscape, including the Quantum Technologies Research Hubs; quantum challenges and programmes within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; doctoral training; and the activities of industry in this area.

It is envisaged that the NQCC will comprise of approximately 65 staff across three divisions including Operations, Research, and Innovation.

Position overview

The Director will work as part of UKRI in leading the establishment and delivery of the NQCC, catalysing the growth of a vibrant UK academic and industrial quantum computing sector.

Responsibilities include:

  • The development and delivery of a business plan, which meets the objectives of the National Quantum Computing Centre business case and a robust operating model; leading and working with the permanent leadership team consisting of the Heads of Operations, Research, and Innovation to ensure that the NQCC is equipped to deliver against the strategic objectives for the NQCC.
  • Overall responsibility for the NQCC to achieving its objectives. Including coordinating all activities within the NQCC and its collaboration with its partners, as set out in its business plan, as well as through new partnership and funding opportunities. Integration of its activities with those happening in the wider National Quantum Technologies Programme is equally important to delivering a successful future strategy for the NQCC in its own right.
  • As the representative of the NQCC at the STFC National Laboratories Operations Board, the Director will contribute to and shape UKRI strategy and will be accountable for the successful operation of the Centre. In addition, the Director will play a leading role in the UK’s efforts in quantum computing as part of the NQTP, representing the NQCC and wider QC interests at NQTP governance groups.
  • Within UKRI, the Executive Chairs for EPSRC and STFC are the joint sponsors for the NQCC and this is reflected in the joint governance of the Centre. The Director has responsibility to report to the EPSRC Executive Chair on the Centre’s key contribution to the NQTP and the STFC Executive Chair on the Operational Management of the Centre. The Director must also ensure that the strategy for the NQCC aligns with that of UKRI.

Person specification

  • A degree in science, engineering, or a relevant computational discipline or demonstrate significant experience.
  • Proven track record of leading, co-ordinating and delivering research and innovation programmes, drawing support from, for example, universities, business, other government agencies and elsewhere.
  • An ability to turn vision and strategic plans into reality, achieving buy-in at an organizational level, including the ability to develop and sustain high performing teams, which deliver priority outcomes whilst meeting financial objectives.
  • Experience of developing and maintaining strategic relationships and partnerships and gaining the respect of stakeholders.
  • An understanding of the research and innovation landscape and the strategic and political environment in which UKRI and the NQCC will operate.
  • Experience in implementing or operating corporate/institutional governance structures and processes, or demonstrable understanding of the issues involved.
  • Previous experience in establishing and/or leading large research and development activities, institutes or facilities.
  • Significant experience in a senior management/leadership position within a high-tech or science and technology organisation, with a strong record in quantum computing.
  • Credibility with a high-level profile in the quantum computing community and with stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of the quantum capabilities.
  • An appreciation of governance and risk management principles.
  • Experience of building effective cross functional working relationships.
  • Demonstrable experience of financial management, including planning and analysis.


  • Excellent leadership with strong team working and collaboration skills.
  • Highly developed communication, relationship building and influencing skills.
  • Ability to gain the respect of UKRI’s science and technology communities.
  • Create an environment that promotes great performance and positive morale.
  • Excellent decision-making ability.
  • Driven and achievement focused.
  • Flexibility and ability to travel regularly in the UK and overseas.

All applicants are advised to refer to the applicant pack for full details of the job description and person specification, as well as the overarching governance structure of the NQCC.

How to apply

Applicants are required to provide an up to date CV and a cover letter outlining their suitability for the role, matched with the criteria. Applications are handled by UK Shared Business Services, to apply please click the apply button. Applicants who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on +44 (0)1793 867000.

Closing date: 6 January 2021
Interview date: 10 February 2021


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