Quantum people and skills will be the key to scaling quantum
An important aspect of the Quantum commercialisation and development are the people and skills required in Quantum has been highlighted as an important factor in the development of the technology and the business models. This is broader than having quantum scientists. With the sector exponential growth Ilana Wisby of Oxford Quantum Circuits highlighted that skills are a major issue for ventures which are scaling up.
Ilana Wisby, CEO of Oxford Quantum Circuits (OQC), is a deep tech entrepreneur and OQC was a spin out from Oxford University in 2017. Ilana shared her insights and perspectives at the Quantum Future programme. OQC is the Quantum Computing hardware solution from the Qubit and process infrastructure through to providing Quantum Computing as a cloud service. The business has gone from being an academic founded venture to a private cloud Quantum Computing solution which is being driven by a team of over 30 people. OQC has received £10million of seed and VC investment plus £1.8 million of non-diluting government funding. This is another prime example of a scaling venture.
The approaches for people have ranged from summer schools for coding, like supported those by IBM programmes, internships, internal programmes and attracting people with broader skills.
When I visited Oxford Quantum Circuits on the Thames Valley Science Park campus I met some of the thirty plus team and they ranged from the couple of quantum scientists in with the Quantum Computer to the electronic engineers, network engineers, computer programmers, sales & marketing people, operations and finance people.
It is also important to ensure diversity in people and thinking as we develop this new technology which will impact the use of big data and AI as well as many industries. The diversity will need different technical reviews, neural diversity and different representatives of society as there will be new skills and ethical issues to address.
A good perspective that has been raised is that we have to be careful to not put people off by just labelling the sector as Quantum. Ventures and the sector need to understand the majority of people do not need specialist quantum science understanding, and they need to develop broader computing and business capabilities to scale.
Quantum Commercialisation Week
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Laura is techUK’s Head of Programme for Technology and Innovation.
She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies, including Quantum Computing, High-Performance Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies, across the UK. As part of this, she works alongside techUK members and UK Government to champion long-term and sustainable innovation policy that will ensure the UK is a pioneer in science and technology
Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.
Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.
Rory joined techUK in June 2023 after three years in the Civil Service on its Fast Stream leadership development programme.
During this time, Rory worked on the Government's response to Covid-19 (NHS Test & Trace), school funding strategy (Department for Education) and international climate and nature policy (Cabinet Office). He also tackled the social care crisis whilst on secondment to techUK's Health and Social Care programme in 2022.
Before this, Rory worked in the House of Commons and House of Lords alongside completing degrees in Political Economy and Global Politics.
Today, he is techUK's Programme Manager for Emerging Technologies, covering dozens of technologies including metaverse, drones, future materials, robotics, blockchain, space technologies, nanotechnology, gaming tech and Web3.0.