UK Quantum Strategy echoes techUK asks in skills, government procurement and more
The recently announced UK National Quantum Strategy has taken forward a several recommendations from techUK’s Quantum Report Quantum commercialisation: Positioning the UK for success. techUK’s quantum report highlighted quantum as key the UK’s success as a science and technology superpower and called on UK Government and industry to set clear commercial ambitions together, giving UK-based and international businesses the confidence that the UK is a viable place to achieve commercial viability.
techUK's report report had 20 recommendations across five key themes that you can read below
techUK report | Quantum commercialisation: Positioning the UK for success
Below we explore some of the recommendations from the new National Quantum Strategy called for in techUK’s Quantum Report
Industry placements: techUK members highlighted the importance of greater collaboration between industry and academia to show the exciting industry career available in quantum and in turn push forward commercialisation of quantum. We called for industry placements that should also be available for international talent to mitigate difficulty in creating internships and industry placement for international PhD students. While it is unclear the shape these placements will take, recommendations four and five mention the development of an quantum industry placement scheme.
Ensure the UK has access and remains attractive to large international talent: techUK’s quantum report calls upon enhancing visa flexibility for quantum talent to ensure the UK has access to the best and brightest to progress the UK’s quantum journey. The report highlighted the difficulty for event the brightest Quantum start-ups and SME’s dedicating time and resource to the complex Visa process and welcomed the proposed Scale-Up Visa and the Global Talent Network as possible solutions. It is promising to see the recommendation of a quantum stream of the Global Talent Network.
Opening access to careers in quantum and developing a quantum-literate workforce: While recognising the formidable research undertaken in quantum in the UK, it is unsustainable for commercialisation to develop a talent pipeline where everyone working in quantum needs a PhD. techUK called on Government and industry to work together to open access so that PhD’s are not the only route into a career in quantum. Changing this large barrier to entry will allow for more talented people to enter the sector, increase the sector’s diversity, and fill industry job shortages. While we wait to see what shape these will take, we welcome the development of a quantum apprenticeship programme alongside training and talent programmes for the post-graduate skills, technical professionals to deliver the quantum researchers, innovators and practitioners the UK needs
Government funding and procurement: techUK highlighted the crucial role permissive approaches to procurement could play in the early stages of commercialisation, which in turn has been recognised by other international quantum strategies including the Canadian Quantum Strategy published earlier this year. We welcome the National Quantum Strategy recognising that quantum technologies could improve public service delivery and enhance government’s capabilities – and that Government can act as an early adopter of emerging technologies to support technology development and demonstrate the value of technologies to other sectors of the economy. The £15 million Catalyst Fund to boost government procurement of quantum technologies for public use mentioned in the Quantum Strategy could accelerate government procurement and enable government to act as an intelligent, early customer of quantum technologies. We also welcome the call to upskill government as end users, a key techUK recommendation, through the creation of a Government user group to identify where quantum technologies are likely to offer an advantage to the delivery of public services and upskill government to enable the successful exploration of potential use cases.
Streamline regulatory processes for quantum: techUK called for emerging tech taskforces, framed on the Regulatory Horizons Council, aimed at breaking down barriers and streamlining regulatory processes to development and deployment of key emerging technologies. These taskforces should be a partnership between industry and Government that seek to identify and tackle regulatory approvals, certifications and economic and cultural barriers to the commercialisation and deployment of key emerging technologies such as quantum. We welcome the recommendation to undertake a Regulatory Horizons Council Review of the future needs for quantum technologies regulation to enable the sector to innovate and grow.
Responsible innovation: While not a specific recommendation within the Quantum Strategy, we welcome the acknowledgement of responsible innovation for quantum technologies through recognition that regulatory frameworks drive responsible innovation and the delivery of benefits for the UK, as well as protecting and growing the economy and the UK’s quantum capabilities. techUK believe this is an area wherethe UK could be seen as a strategic leader by underscoring the importance of responsible and ethical commercialisation of quantum technologies through the National Quantum Technologies Programme.
Convergence of emerging technology pushes forward innovation: The Quantum Strategy recognizes that quantum technologies will be used along AI, high performance computing (HPC), and a broader suite of technologies, as part of a technology toolkit available to the UK to address its innovation challenge and push forward ambitions to be a science and technology leader. As the Strategy identifies, such technologies hold the potential to increase resilience, productivity and competitiveness across many critical sectors including health, cyber security and defence and help tackle some of the biggest challenges that the UK faces. In turn, its convergence with these technologies will improve access to Quantum. For example, many of the first quantum computing use cases will be applied alongside HPC technologies, potentially in HPC data centers, while access to quantum compute can be enabled through the cloud. The recommendation for the NQCC to negotiate access to quantum computing resources across a range of platforms for wider research and the quantum industry will help promote access to this technology
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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.