Editorial Feature

Outlining The UK's National Quantum Strategy

Many industrial and research capabilities have been developed as a result of the rise in quantum activity in the UK and the national policy to commercialize quantum sciences and technologies. Currently, over 230 companies from the supply chain, innovation networks, end users, consultancies, and innovators of quantum technologies are part of the quantum landscape in the UK.

The National Quantum Strategy, which was released in March 2023, pledges an additional £2.5 billion to the development of quantum technologies in the UK over a ten-year period beginning in 2024. The program's goal is to attract at least an additional £1 billion in private investment.

The UK Government

Image Credit: Bartlomiej K. Wroblewski/Shutterstock.com

Quantum Technology

One of the essential technologies for the government is quantum, which refers to tools and systems that use quantum physics to accomplish tasks that "classical" equipment like binary computers is unable to perform.

In addition to providing potential answers to some of the biggest problems facing society now, technology also holds promise for untapped future possibilities. These technologies will enable new explorations in areas of sensing, timing, imaging, and communications and have the ability to solve complex problems that are currently beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated classical computers. Quantum technologies are predicted to completely transform many facets of UK life over the next ten years, bringing with them a host of advantages like boosting the nation's economy and generating jobs all around the nation.

In order to foster quantum technologies in the UK across a wide range of applications, the National Quantum Strategy lays out a daring and ambitious plan. It demonstrates how the UK will strengthen its competencies throughout supply chains and expand its strengths across various hardware platforms, software, and accessories.

The proposed quantum strategy is focused on developing several key establishments.

Quantum Standards Network Pilot

The UK Quantum Standards Network Pilot will be started by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in association with other government agencies and business partners. The National Quantum Strategy, which acknowledges the significance of technical standards to facilitate the worldwide commercialization of quantum technology, is reinforced by the pledges made by this pilot network. The UK will be at the forefront of creating international standards for quantum thanks to the pilot network. In order to help remove obstacles to the full realization of quantum technologies' promise, it will serve as a focal point for standards for the UK sector and create preliminary plans for international participation and industry outreach.

The start of the UK Quantum Standards Network Pilot will guarantee that the country leads the world in developing quantum standards. Over £10 million in funding will be allocated to six projects to expedite the development of systems and components for quantum network technologies, which will revolutionize data distribution, security, and information processing in order to meet the demands of the ever-complex data economy.

Canada - UK: Commercializing Quantum Technology Program

To increase industrial potential in quantum technologies and to develop mutual skills, cooperation with important international partners will be necessary. To enhance collaborative research and development through Canada-UK partnerships, Innovate UK is funding 4 million in several projects in conjunction with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). This partnership is projected to enhance practical quantum technology for market application.

The National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC)

The NQCC will give UK-based organizations guaranteed access to quantum computing so they can spearhead any research and development that could profit from the technology. This is the goal of the NQCC, which is to use quantum computing to help the UK address some of the trickiest and most difficult issues society faces. In order to facilitate the expansion of the UK's quantum computing user community and offer them access to a diverse array of cutting-edge quantum machines, the NQCC will collaborate with many quantum service providers.

In addition to concluding its £30 million competition to supply quantum computing testbeds, the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) has partnered with IBM to enable cloud access to IBM's whole fleet of quantum machines.

New Collaborations with Australia and the Netherlands

In order to strengthen cooperation on quantum, two new science and innovation agreements have been signed with Australia and the Netherlands. These agreements will enhance the ongoing generation of fresh information, comprehension, and insights from these innovative ecosystems.

In order to achieve the UK's goals for quantum technologies as outlined in the National Quantum Strategy, international collaborations will be essential. The United Kingdom and the United States of America have previously inked agreements that delineate domains for enhanced collaboration, encompassing R&D, commercialization, investment, and skills.

Small Business Research Initiative Competition

Six projects totaling £10.6 million have been given funding as part of the Innovate UK-led Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition to expedite the development of systems and components for quantum network technology.

Outlook

The cornerstone of research and innovation is pushing the boundaries of knowledge and developing novel ways to use it; this has been reinforced by a number of initiatives and investments made by Innovate UK, which is working with business partners to move research from the lab and into the real world.

The UK National Strategy for Quantum Technologies is making great strides with clear goals and a route to get there. Building on already achieved milestones, the UK's standing as a global leader in quantum technologies is advancing positively.

More from AZoQuantum: Orca Computing's Role in the Quantum Ecosystem

References and Further Reading

Science and innovation - Policy paper. National quantum strategy. [Online] GOV.UK. Available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-quantum-strategy

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (March 2023). National quantum strategy. [Online] GOV.UK. Available at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1142942/national_quantum_strategy.pdf

UK National Quantum Technologies Programme: NQTP. Available at: https://uknqt.ukri.org/resources/

UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023.  (November 2nd, 2023) Business Design Centre, London. Program available at: https://web-eur.cvent.com/event/47fcd366-c0f0-4f27-a477-c7f0e44c5511/websitePage:645d57e4-75eb-4769-b2c0-f201a0bfc6ce?_ga=2.193955371.706227656.1699614797-460969995.1695586193

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Written by

Ilamaran Sivarajah

Ilamaran Sivarajah is an experimental atomic/molecular/optical physicist by training who works at the interface of quantum technology and business development.

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