SUPERFAST computers and driverless cars which put Oxford at the forefront of British science are among the projects set to benefit from £204m of new funding.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson announced the investment yesterday at Oxford University, but warned Britain must stay in the European Union for the city to continue to lead the way.

His warning is a rebuke to his brother Boris, the Mayor of London, who has called for the United Kingdom to exit the EU in June’s referendum.

The new funding will be split into a £37m pot to boost research into quantum mechanics, including computers 100 million times faster than an average PC, and a £167m pot to help more students take PhDs.

Oxford University will get £13.5m of the doctoral funds and will also benefit as one of the seven “quantum centres” in the UK.

Speaking at the university yesterday Mr Johnson said: “Oxford is at the forefront of all that is really exciting about science in the UK today.

“It is rising to the challenge of the research that can be exploited and taken out of the lab and commercialised.

“It’s hugely important that we continue to benefit from our share of the funding flows that we get from the EU and that we remain a networked science superpower.

“Our European partnerships are some of the most successful of our science collaborations and we want to support those.”

Mr Johnson toured the university’s quantum technologies hub in Banbury Road and learned about quantum computing and other projects including driverless cars.

It is hoped the money will allow another 2,000 students to start a PhD in engineering and physical sciences in the next two years.

Julie Dequaire, a second year PhD student at the hub, welcomed the funding boost.

The 28-year-old from France said: “It is an incredible opportunity for me to be here.

“I was in Silicone Valley in California and I do not regret leaving, it is great to see how dynamic robotics is in the UK.

“We have robotics that can easily adapt in the real world and that is something we are very lucky to have. This is why we need this kind of funding to keep that up.”

It is hoped the investment into quantum mechanics will boost not just superfast computers but also quantum timing devices, position systems and secure communications.

OU professor of information engineering Paul Newman said: “This kind of money is vital for the nation in the next decade in terms of developing in areas of science and engineering. It’s a great show of the Government to do this, it’s all part of backing the nation to be technology leaders.”