2010 grant balance University of Bristol

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Research and Enterprise Development


The University of Bristol proposes to use the Access to Unspent balance on EPSRC Research grants to support 3 projects, following the same principles used in determining how best to allocate the Institutional Sponsorship funding:

-It is desirable that supported activities should align with EPSRC and University of Bristol strategic objectives.
- Where there are clear opportunities to do so, funding should be aligned to activities co-funded from other sources in order to maximise synergy and return on investment.
- There should be an appropriate mix of top-down, directed activities and bottom-up, investigator-led activities.
- The funds should in all cases be used to support the very highest quality people (relative to career stage) and the very highest quality research.

The three projects to be supported through the Unspent Balance funding are:
- A Strategic Alliance in Catalysis.
- Electrically Small Tuneable Antennas for Advanced Wireless Connectivity.
- Quantum Secure Communications for Mobile Technologies.

Planned Impact


Catalysis is central to developing low-carbon manufacturing technologies. It is central to solving global challenges such as carbon dioxide utilisation and producing sustainable liquid fuels. It is central to making the chemical industry more productive, more sustainable and cleaner. Thus, in addition to the medium term wealth creation benefits for the UK, long term environmental benefits will also result. Industry engagement is an integral part of the proposed Alliance. Industry will benefit from access to a UK national hub for catalysis research. This will cover both the fundamental academic research carried out within the Alliance, and through collaboration on proof of concept projects where the outputs of fundamental research are developed towards impact.


The UK Communications sector is a vital component of our economy, with revenues totalling around £129B. Economic modelling conducted by Ofcom (UK) in respect of the Digital Dividend spectrum alone has estimated its value to the UK economy at £7.5B over the period up to 2026. The role of the antenna in the efficient delivery of wireless connectivity is of key importance, with key inadequacies to be addressed including a lack of sensitivity (losses) and the potential for body de-tuning impacting both infrastructure costs and energy efficiency. As a consequence there is a compelling need for "Electrically Small Tuneable Antennas for Advanced Wireless Connectivity" designed through the use of novel components and rigorous characterisation. This project will undertake a Proof of Concept Study, in collaboration with a number of industry partners, to provide a rigorous appraisal of the application of Digitally Tuneable Capacitors within the design of re tuneable antenna elements. Industry partners - including, via the ICT KTN, the UK Communications sector more widely - will benefit from access to proven technology on which to build future mobile devices and wireless communication systems.


Quantum Information (QI) technologies are predicted to be a major driver of technological progress and economic growth in the 21st century. The market for Quantum Cryptography alone is predicted to reach $842M US by 2015 [Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Quantum Cryptography, Strategic Business Report MCP-812 July 2009]. Improving current methods of the security of the transmission of sensitive information, particularly in mobile networks, is a major and growing issue. A proof-of-concept quantum communications system will provide the first demonstration of a quantum secure communication device that could be realistically embedded within mobile networks and phones. People's global spending on technology was 2.3% of GDP in 1995 and 4% in 2010, a trend that is widely anticipated to continue [Financial Times, Jun 4 2011]. The immediate applications of this proof of concept will be in the area of secure communication in the consumer technology market, and will therefore directly benefit device manufacturers, including industry collaborators involved in this project. The will also indirectly benefit consumers, companies providing information services via telecoms links, and policymakers.


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Description The University of Bristol considered how best to make use of the 2010 grant balance funds alongside the 2011 Institutional Sponsorship, and selected three projects within which to award funds. Key findings for each project are described below:


• This combined the catalysis research activities at Bath, Bristol and Cardiff to create a single strategic alliance which represents a UK national hub for research in this area.

• The funds were used to build collaboration between researchers in heterogeneous catalysis, homogeneous catalysis and chemical engineering and to expand our network of industrialists and international experts to support the alliance's development.

• Research enabled the generation of preliminary results as a precursor to larger projects and attracting further grant and industrial funding.

Electrically Small Tuneable antennas

•The Electrically Small Tuneable Antennas project has been important in highlighting to industry the importance of overall system efficiency, rather than focussing on enhancing the input match to the antenna, as the key driver for energy efficient wireless technologies. A You Tube video has also been produced to disseminate this information.

•This activity included external collaborations with the ICT KTN. The ICT KTN, through the Wireless Technology and Spectrum working group (Chair Stuart Revell), provided numerous events for the dissemination of results and introductions to potential industrial partners who may wish to exploit this technology.

Quantum Secure Communications

•The funds were used in this project to fabricate a fully integrated proof of concept quantum communications microchip, suitable for inclusion in a mobile communications device.

•The performance of the device was assessed and fully characterised, including secure communication field trials

•The commercial feasibility of the system in the mobile communications market was established.
Exploitation Route The funds were used to build collaboration between researchers and expand our network of industrialists and international experts to support the alliance's development.
Sectors Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Quantum Secure Communications and Electrically Small Tuneable Antennas were "Pathways to Impact" type projects and facilitated proof of concept research and many and varied interactions with industry. Companies and end-user representative organisations that were directly engaged by these projects included: Peregrine Semiconductor; ICT KTN; Cambridge Wireless; National Instruments; GaN Systems; GCHQ; First Group; Fujitsu; Silicon South-West; Vodafone; Cognovo; Nokia; Oclaro; Paradigm; and Quantum Technology Research Limited.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Economic

Description Catalysis
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2013
Title Quantum Secure Communications 
Description Synthesis of prototype chips 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit