UK Quantum Strategy Published
On 15 March the UK National Quantum Strategy was published by the new Department for Science Innovation and Technology.
This strategy sets out the next stage of the UK’s quantum ambitions – underscoring almost a decade of previous activity seen under the National Quantum Technologies Programme. The report sets out a new ten year vision and commitment that sets to make “quantum technologies are an integral part of the UK’s future digital infrastructure and advanced manufacturing base, driving growth and helping to build a thriving and resilient economy and society.”
This also follows the announcement in today’s budget of an additional investment of £2.5bn in quantum alongside the National Quantum Strategy to keep the UK competitive in one of the world’s fastest- moving fields of technology. This new and significant funding underscores the confidence in the UK quantum industry and that UK Government is championing their success
The UK National Quantum Strategy sets out four broad goals that will enable quantum technologies to be developed and then deployed across the country. These are:
- Ensure the UK is home to world-leading quantum science and engineering, growing UK knowledge and skills
- Support business, making the UK the go-to place for quantum businesses and an integral part of the global supply chain, as well as a preferred location for investors and global talent
- Drive the adoption and use of quantum technologies in the UK to deliver benefits for society
- Create a national and international regulatory framework that supports innovation as well as national security and the ethical use of quantum technologies
Under these four goals are priority actions that can be viewed below.
The Strategy is clear that while the US and China dominate the quantum sector, the UK should maintain its top three position. This would secure the UK as the quantum hub of Europe, appealing to international businesses looking to expand outwards. This bold ambition follows announcements from other nations who have recently created their own National Quantum Strategies and pushing ahead with their national goals around this technology.
As part of these four goals, the Quantum Strategy sets out several recommendations covering access to talent, skills development, permissive funding approaches, continued support for the NQCC and more. Many of these recommendations were echoed in techUK’s Quantum Report published last year.
In response to the release of the National Quantum Strategy Sue Daley, Director of Tech and Innovation at techUK said
The commercialisation of quantum technologies will play a key role in the UK’s ambition to be a global science and technology superpower. That is why it’s encouraging to see the National Quantum Strategy incorporate recommendations from techUK’s Quantum Commercialisation report and allocate £2.5 billion in funding for crucial steps including skills, procurement, market development and responsible innovation. With the right collaboration industry and government can turn the UK’s current success in quantum research into a world-leading position in quantum commercialisation.
Key priority areas in full:
- Invest £2.5 billion of government funding in quantum R&D over the ten years from 2024. This will include funding for:
- A future network of research hubs in areas of quantum technologies and science that will ensure the UK is a global centre of excellence for the long term
- Accelerator programmes that will increase the pace of progress towards the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies
- Challenge-led innovation funding, driving collaboration between industry, academia and government and strengthening the growing UK quantum sector
- Training and talent programmes for the postgraduate skills, technical professionals and apprenticeships to deliver the quantum researchers, innovators and practitioners the UK needs
- Collaborative R&D programmes with our international partners
- Investment in infrastructure to support quantum researchers and companies
- Investment in fundamental research o Increased investment in the National Quantum Computing Centre, including in its equipment and procurement of quantum computing capabilities for use by businesses, researchers and the government.
- Increase our investment in quantum technologies from this year, with the following new funding available for:
- Launching a £70 million programme of missions in quantum computing and PNT
- £100 million investment to continue to develop research hubs in quantum computing, communications, sensing, imaging and timing
- £25 million for increased investment in quantum fellowships and doctoral training
- £15 million to boost government procurement of quantum technologies for public use
- £20 million for acceleration activities working with the sector on collaborative R&D in quantum networking
- £20 million additional funding for increased activities through the National Quantum Computing Centre
- Increased international collaborations via the new International Science Partnerships Fund
- Recognising the importance of skilled people, launch new doctoral training centres and fellowships in quantum, a Quantum Skills Taskforce, and develop an industry placement scheme and a quantum apprenticeship programme. This would start with an initial additional investment of £25 million over the next two years, with funding continuing to increase over the next phase of the programme.
- Proactively seek to attract, retain and invest in skilled quantum individuals who want to come to the UK, including delivering a quantum stream of the Global Talent Network.
- Commission an independent review of the quantum sector’s infrastructure requirements.
- Showcase UK quantum companies at home and overseas, launching targeted campaigns to generate business in global supply chains, unlock capital and help our companies to scale.
- Attract and support quantum companies who want to move to the UK from overseas, providing programmes and investment opportunities.
- Establish stronger mechanisms and catalyst funding through a quantum catalyst fund to accelerate government procurement and enable government to act as an intelligent, early customer of quantum technologies, starting with 14 a catalyst pilot of £15 million over the next two years, including for national security purposes.
- Accelerate the work of the National Quantum Computing Centre to support adoption of quantum computing in key sectors of the UK economy, including government, and provide a front door to businesses, researchers and other users to negotiate access to quantum computing resources and explore how they can be used.
- Significantly expand our partnerships with global allies, bilaterally, multilaterally and in wider multilateral fora, including on regulation and standards.
- Undertake a Regulatory Horizons Council Review of the future needs for quantum technologies regulation to enable the sector to innovate and grow.
- Protect key areas of quantum capabilities, including through the use of the National Security Investment Act and export controls, as well as offering guidance and support to the quantum community.
- Establish the Office for Quantum in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to ensure focus and drive to implement this strategy, and report regularly to the National Science and Technology Council, chaired by the Prime Minister
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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.
Sue leads techUK's Technology and Innovation work.
This includes work programmes on cloud, data protection, data analytics, AI, digital ethics, Digital Identity and Internet of Things as well as emerging and transformative technologies and innovation policy. She has been recognised as one of the most influential people in UK tech by Computer Weekly's UKtech50 Longlist and in 2021 was inducted into the Computer Weekly Most Influential Women in UK Tech Hall of Fame. A key influencer in driving forward the data agenda in the UK Sue is co-chair of the UK government's National Data Strategy Forum. As well as being recognised in the UK's Big Data 100 and the Global Top 100 Data Visionaries for 2020 Sue has also been shortlisted for the Milton Keynes Women Leaders Awards and was a judge for the Loebner Prize in AI. In addition to being a regular industry speaker on issues including AI ethics, data protection and cyber security, Sue was recently a judge for the UK Tech 50 and is a regular judge of the annual UK Cloud Awards.
Prior to joining techUK in January 2015 Sue was responsible for Symantec's Government Relations in the UK and Ireland. She has spoken at events including the UK-China Internet Forum in Beijing, UN IGF and European RSA on issues ranging from data usage and privacy, cloud computing and online child safety. Before joining Symantec, Sue was senior policy advisor at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Sue has an BA degree on History and American Studies from Leeds University and a Masters Degree on International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Birmingham. Sue is a keen sportswoman and in 2016 achieved a lifelong ambition to swim the English Channel.