30 October 2015 13:23


A Lancaster student has won a national competition for the excellence and commercial potential of his ICT related research.

 Jonathan Roberts is the overall winner of the 2015 UK ICT Pioneers competition for his research Nano-Identification: Fingerprints of the Future.

His invention uses next-generation quantum technology to uniquely identify any product, and there are plans to commercialise this through the Lancaster University spin out company Quantum Base.

The Physics PhD student came first in the Future ICT category and went on to triumph following a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to claim a £3,000 prize at an awards ceremony in London.

Industry judges and sponsors of the competition were from; the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Facebook, British Computing Society (BCS), Samsung and BT.

Martin Sadler, Vice President and Director of Hewlett Packard Labs, EMEA, said: “We are truly amazed at the quality and excellence of all the finalists. Industry and universities absolutely need you and your talents.”

Jonathan is a Lancaster PhD student at the EPSRC NOWNANO Doctoral Training Centre.

He said: ““My invention involves the creation of devices with unique identities on a nano scale employing state-of-art quantum technology.  Each device will be unique and 100 per cent impossible to copy. I’ve created an optical identity using graphene and an electronic identity. We’re now working towards measuring these devices with a smart phone set-up so you can authenticate any device at any point in the supply chain.”

“By slimming digital fingerprints down to an atomic scale we’ve created devices that are not only smaller and cheaper but also fundamentally more secure than any other existing technology.”

Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC, who presented the prizes, said:  “ICT Pioneers is our 18 monthly regular competition that we use to showcase the best work produced by UK PhD students. It’s awarded to students who can demonstrate the excellence and commercial potential of their ICT related research.”

Fifteen finalists showcased their research at the prestigious event which was compered by BBC science presenter Quentin Cooper. 

In a video the industry judges and sponsors explain the impact of ICT research to advance innovative technologies within their business.