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IOP qBIG Prize awarded to quantum computing innovators

7 June 2024

Irish firm Equal1 receives prestigious quantum business award for technology it hopes will make quantum computing “more practical and accessible”.

Quantum computing firm Equal1 has been awarded the second annual Institute of Physics (IOP) quantum Business Innovation and Growth (qBIG) Group Prize, which celebrates innovative quantum technology products or solutions being developed and commercialised by small and medium-sized enterprises.

Equal1 has developed a Quantum System-on-Chip Processor, integrating a full quantum system onto a single chip, set to create big leaps forward in the emerging world of quantum computing. 

CEO of Equal1 Jason Lynch said: “Winning the qBig Prize marks a significant milestone for Equal1, affirming our forward-thinking approach to quantum computing. This recognition fuels our commitment to advancing this technology, making quantum computing more practical and accessible.”

The winner of this year’s prize – which is sponsored by Quantum Exponential, the UK’s first enterprise venture capital fund focused on quantum technology – was announced at The Economist’s 3rd Annual Commercialising Quantum Global 2024 event on 6 June.

IOP Director of Science, Innovation and Skills Louis Barson, who hosted an IOP-organised panel at the event, said: “Congratulations to Equal1. It’s great to see the qBIG group and its prize going from strength to strength, and as the IOP represents the UK and Ireland it’s particularly nice to be celebrating an Irish winner of the prize.”

Equal1 is a spin-out from the University College Dublin and chief executive Lynch explained their groundbreaking work: “Our vision is centred on developing compact, rack-mounted quantum computers that seamlessly integrate into standard data centre infrastructures.

“This achievement is made possible by our groundbreaking Quantum System-on-Chip technology, powered by the ‘UnityQ’ chip, which is produced using standard foundry processes. The integration of classical and quantum components onto a single silicon chip allows for housing a complete quantum computer, including cryogenic components, within a single compact unit.”

Equal1 chief executive Jason Lynch being presented with the IOP's qBIG Prize by Louis Barson

Equal1’s chief executive Jason Lynch (left) being presented with the prize by the IOP’s Louis Barson

Louis also congratulated the two runners-up: NIQS Tech, who are developing a quantum-based glucose monitoring sensor for diabetes management; and Aquark Technologies, who are focused on developing an advanced, accessible and robust cold-matter platform for sensing and computing applications.

Equal1 will receive £10,000 in an unrestricted cash prize; 10 months’ mentoring from the Quantum Exponential team; access to the IOP’s growing business community of industrial quantum physicists, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs via the qBIG group; access to the IOP’s Accelerator workspace; and a presence in the IOP’s annual Business Awards showcase exhibition to be held in the Palace of Westminster.

The runners-up will also benefit from access to the IOP’s business network.

Cerca Magnetics won the inaugural prize in 2023.