M SQUARED, the Glasgow-headquartered laser company, has won significant research funding to help fast-track its photonics and quantum technology, helping create 24 jobs.

Scottish Enterprise, the national economic development agency, will today announce the award of the £2.9 million research and development grant to the laser company.

The grant will support M Squared’s £7m project to accelerate its research programme, creating 24 new jobs, including 18 new highly-skilled scientist roles, to help realise the potential of Scotland’s quantum industry and enhance its ability to compete globally, the firm.

Scottish Enterprise said it will work closely with M Squared to help develop the wider photonics and quantum sectors in Scotland.

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M Squared said its laser systems are working to “realise the potential of the coming quantum age, improve healthcare and provide the scientific understanding to help halt climate change”.

The funding will help to fast-track M Squared’s programme of laser and photonics systems development, including its work in quantum technology, where the company is developing systems to detect hidden objects and navigate the planet, in biophotonics, where it is creating systems to help detect, diagnose and treat brain disease, and in chemical-sensing, where it is developing applications for detecting threats and oil and gas leaks.

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Graeme Malcolm, M Squared founder and chief executive, said: “We take great pride in our Scottish roots. Our ambition is to create the world’s most important photonics and quantum technology company independently headquartered in Scotland.

“Our home city of Glasgow has a great tradition of science and engineering, where local companies have been developing optical technology for around 100 years.

“We are creating high-value jobs for graduates outside of academia, currently employing 100 staff, of which over 85 per cent are graduates. Our intimate knowledge of the challenges at play when it comes to commercialising science makes me certain that for science to make a real difference it must get out of the lab and into the real world.

“The support of Scottish Enterprise will enable M Squared to scale its operations locally but equally continue stepping into new global markets.”

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Ivan McKee, Innovation Minister, said: “Scotland has a long tradition of being at the forefront of scientific and technological advances, and our investment will ensure this continues.

“M Squared is a company we can take great pride in - their innovation has led not only to an incredible rate of growth for the company, but also to enabling technological development in many fields including medicine, space technology and advanced manufacturing.

“The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target of doubling business expenditure on research and development to £1.7 billion by 2025 and Scottish Enterprise support is key in helping firms such as M Squared to deliver that progress.”

David Smith, director of national opportunities at Scottish Enterprise, said: “M Squared is a pillar of our cluster of photonics companies in Scotland and a catalyst in bringing that community and others together to prepare to exploit the emerging market opportunities associated with quantum technology.

“This award underlines the continued innovative nature of the company and a great example of the Scottish capability in this area.” M Squared has roughly doubled in size every two years since 2012 with revenue of about £19m.