Science minister Amanda Solloway explains why Daresbury has won a £210million contract for a high technology centre to be built in a deal with IBM.

As science minister, I have the privilege of seeing first-hand how science and innovation can improve lives and boost our economy – helping us to build back better from the pandemic and level up the country.

There is, of course, no better example of this than the incredible work done right here in the UK to develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which is helping us to take steps back to normal life far more quickly than many dared imagine.

Since starting my role last year, my priority has been to put science and innovation at the forefront of the government’s levelling up agenda and to make sure the economic benefits of the remarkable work being done, from vaccines to robots, are felt in all corners of the UK.

On Friday announced a new quantum computing and artificial intelligence facility at the Daresbury Laboratory, which will bring exactly those benefits to local people.

The lab is being backed not only by £172 million of government funding over the next five years, but by one of most prestigious tech companies in the world, IBM, as they make a huge vote of confidence in the people and skills of the Liverpool City Region. 

It will also see 60 new jobs created – a wonderful example of how science and innovation can contribute to levelling up in practice, making a real-life difference to families in the region.

Quantum computing and AI are not just far-fetched ideas, but real technologies that are already transforming our lives.

The building blocks of everyday products like your laptop or your phone are already products of quantum technology, harnessing the unique ways that light and matter behave at tiny atomic or subatomic levels.

So, I’m delighted that this new facility will put the North West at the centre of the UK’s efforts to develop the next generation of quantum computing, supporting businesses as they make the most of the latest breakthroughs.

It makes me incredibly proud that this government is committed to building back better, with today’s investment coming on top of a £201 million local growth deal for Cheshire and Warrington as well as the Chancellor’s announcement that the Liverpool City Region will be home to a new freeport.

These plans won’t just give the region a short term boost, but provide the foundations for long-term growth and prosperity.

And, with the growth of exciting new projects like this one being supported right across the UK, I am confident we can level up together.