American technology firm Lockheed Martin has announced a new research partnership with the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) at University College London, for the joint development of quantum and nanotechnologies.

The discovery of quantum physics in the 1920s transformed science and resulted in a whole new wave of technologies, ranging from silicon chips to fibre optic networks.

Today, quantum science is expected to have major impacts across numerous fields, ranging from sensors so powerful they can examine single biomolecules to computers so accurate they can predict the properties of materials that have not yet been synthesised.

Governments and defence research labs worldwide are already making considerable investments in this area. The new partnership will aim to identify projects that support undergraduate, graduate, post doctoral and faculty research at LCN and development programmes at Lockheed Martin.

“Partnerships between academia and industry enable technology transition from the laboratory to the marketplace and support innovation and economic development,” said Brad Pietras, director of advanced research and development programmes at Lockheed Martin. “We look forward to working with LCN.”

Lockheed Martin said that the continued success of UK engineering depends on a constant supply of highly trained, highly capable technical talent. For this reason, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities are a major focus of the company's education outreach programme.

STEM activities include pre-employment education activities to raise awareness of engineering, apprenticeship and graduate career programmes to attract and retain new employees, and academic partnerships which give students an opportunity to work with professional engineers on practical projects.

Lockheed Martin was this week named one of the world’s top 100 most innovative companies in a Thomson Reuters list of global innovators.