PQA Call

About PQA

The Photonics and Quantum Accelerator (PQA) is a £4.7M Place based Impact Acceleration Account funded by UKRI via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). PQA brings together researchers from the Universities of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St Andrews Strathclyde and a number of local authorities and industry bodies to advance the growth of the photonics sector in Scotland’s Central Belt.

Call for applications for impact acceleration funding

PQA is pleased to announce our first call for proposals for impact acceleration funding to enable socio-economic impact in photonics and quantum technologies based on light in central Scotland. For this pilot call we anticipate funding 6-10 projects, in the value of £10-50k. Future calls will be made every quarter.

There are four broad categories of activity that PQA can fund. These are:


Enabling a two-way, dynamic flow of researchers between academia and external partner organisations through project placements, co-location, and secondments.

Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship

To increase the economic impact of photonics and quantum research in central Scotland through strategic investments in innovative technology development, licensing and new venture creation, while at the same time developing entrepreneurial individuals.

Partnership and Impact Development

To increase the number and depth of partnerships between academia and external partners in photonics and quantum technologies. Typical partnerships will include companies; local, regional or national government bodies; other public-sector organisations, including the NHS, charities, NGOs and other third sector organisations. A key aim is to stimulate pipelines of new impact opportunities and increased economic activity in the photonics cluster in Central Scotland.

Public engagement, skills development and ED&I

Enhancing equality, diversity, and inclusion by lowering the barriers to innovation and engagement in photonics and quantum technologies. Upskilling individuals at all levels in the skills required by the industry.

Within these four streams we can support a range of impact generation activities. Examples include:

  • Prototyping
  • Testing
  • Proof of concept work
  • Demonstrator development
  • Product design
  • Secondments and placements to/from non-academic partners
  • Industry and stakeholder engagement
  • Event delivery
  • Sub-contracting
  • Access to facilities
  • Market research and analysis
  • Business mentoring
  • Public and community engagement
  • Photonics and quantum skills and business training in support of impact generation

Please note that all projects funded by PQA must:

  • fall within the technological remit of PQA – photonics and quantum technologies and their applications.
  • have the potential to lead to economic and/or societal impact in Central Scotland.
  • build upon underpinning research which falls within the EPSRC remit.

Please see the call guidelines for more details on these requirements.

Available funding

For this pilot call we anticipate funding 6-10 projects, in the value of £10-50k. Future calls will be made every quarter. Levels of funding available are as follows:

Project DurationPQA Funding Available
Up to 1 monthUp to £5,000
Up to 3 monthsUp to £25,000
Up to 6 monthsUp to £50,000
Up to 12 monthsUp to £100,000
Up to 24 monthsUp to £200,000

 There are two funds that can be applied to:

  1. The PQA consortium resource – for projects led by staff at one of the four academic partners in the PQA consortium.
  2. The PQA collaborative fund, which is open to applications led by any academic institution in the UK.

How to apply

Deadline for submissions to this call is 28 June 2024, 10:00 BST.

Please submit completed EPSRC IAA Application Forms to the PWA mailbox at enquiries@photonicsaccelerator.ac.uk.