Ground-breaking project between the UK and New Zealand underway

Published: 01 May 2024

The first project between the UK and New Zealand as part of a collaborative science, innovation, and technology agreement is underway.

The UK’s National Physical Laboratory and New Zealand’s Measurement Standards Laboratory are exploring the potential of quantum sensing technologies for sea floor cable-based environmental detection.

The project will test whether existing seafloor fibre optic cables can be used for earthquake detection. Trials have been successful in the Atlantic and this will be the first in the Pacific, using one or more cables from New Zealand.

Given New Zealand's location, this collaboration has real-world benefits for geophysics and tsunami detection, giving coastal communities in the South Pacific potentially life-saving early warnings. The project will also align with the newly established New Zealand Quantum Technology Research Programme

Government invests in tiny tech with global potential

Quantum technologies is 1 of 5 priority areas identified by the work programme which was recently signed by representatives from MBIE and the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. The work programme lays out the principles of the collaboration, development of enduring connections and networks between our researchers through deeper integration of our 2 science systems.

The work programme also aims to support bilateral cooperation on oceans and climate change, aerospace technologies, agritech, and bio-engineering research and innovation.

The work programme follows the 2022 Research, Science, and Innovation Cooperation Arrangement which outlines a framework and focus for the bilateral relationship following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

More about the agreement and the work programme

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