THE Government and computing giant IBM have revealed a major new £210million scheme at Daresbury Laboratory.

An artificial intelligence and quantum computing centre is set to open at the science and technology hub under the proposals, which aim to ‘put the north west at the centre of plans to cement the UK’s status as a science superpower’.

Vacancies for an additional 60 scientists will also be created as a result of the new Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation.

Science minister Amanda Solloway said: “It’s thrilling to see further investment in the Daresbury Laboratory, which has been at the centre of research and innovation in the north west for more than half a century.

“This fantastic new facility will be an excellent addition to that, creating 60 jobs in the region and helping businesses get themselves ready for the future of computing – essential as we build back better from the pandemic.”

The project promises to ‘cutting-edge technologies like AI and quantum computing more accessible to businesses and public sector organisations’.

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Dario Gil, senior vice president and director at IBM Research, said: “The world is facing grand challenges which demand a different approach towards science in computing, including AI and quantum computing, to engage a broad community across industry, government and academia to accelerate discovery in science and business.

“This partnership establishes our first discovery accelerator in Europe, driven by our two UK-based IBM Research locations in Hursley and Daresbury as they contribute to our global mission of building discovery driven communities around the world.”

Professor Mark Thomson – executive chairman of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, which runs Daresbury Laboratory – added: “The HNCDI programme will foster discovery and provide a stimulus for industry innovation in the UK.

“By allowing industry to access a ready made community of digital experts and cutting-edge technology, it will provide momentum for new ideas and solutions.

“This programme has the potential to transform the way UK industry engages with AI and digital technologies to the benefit of not just research communities but all of society.”