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Quantum Computing Gets $3B in UK Budget – Industry Reacts

Government plans to publish a national quantum strategy

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

March 15, 2023

4 Min Read
Chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves Downing Street with his red budget box
The U.K. government has announced a $3 billion investment into quantum computing. Getty/Dan Kitwood

The U.K. government’s chancellor of the exchequer has today announced a $3 billion investment into quantum computing to keep the U.K. competitive.

Delivering the budget to the House of Commons, he also said that the long-awaited national quantum strategy would be published.

“Today we'll publish a quantum strategy, which will set out our vision to be a world-leading quantum-enabled economy by 2033 with a research and innovation program totaling £2.5 billion,” Hunt said in his speech.

This doubles the $1.2 billion previously set aside for the National Quantum Technologies Program (NQTP).

Members of the U.K. quantum ecosystem were quick to react and offered Enter Quantum their insight.

Quantum Motion CEO James Palles-Dimmock

“The U.K. is becoming a low-risk place to undertake high-risk ventures, largely as a result of world-leading research supported by government and successfully spun out of universities.

“The National Quantum Technologies Program was a key part of this and it is a considerable credit to people like Sir Peter Knight and Roger McKinlay who fly the flag for the sector.

“The next phase, with an increased budget of £2.5 billion, will put us at the forefront globally for governmental investment into quantum technologies, after some significant support from the U.S., Germany and China to their respective national programs. It is a big signal that the U.K. wants to build on the ‘unfair advantage’ that we have thanks to the work of the NQTP and our world-leading universities and that we have a desire to see quantum technologies through to commercialization.

Related:White House Budget Backs Quantum, AI, Chips

“While the U.K. does have a large advantage in this area it is important that we still have the capacity to work collaboratively across borders. Manufacturing and talent are two key areas where the gains to be made from collaborative working significantly outweigh the risks and I will be keen to see how we can continue to welcome the best of the world’s talent to the U.K. to allow us to continue to accelerate the realization of these enabling technologies.”

ORCA Computing CEO Richard Murray (ORCA last year sold the Ministry of Defence its first quantum computer)

“The U.K. was the first country in the world to launch a quantum technology program, which was £270 million back in 2013. This renewed and significantly increased funding will enable the U.K. to reinforce its position as a leading quantum nation.

“As the government recognizes the huge potential that quantum can offer industries such as defense, health care, energy and finance, this funding gives us a chance to break through commercially and lead the world in supplying scalable quantum computers that will change the face of computing.

“The quantum computing industry is also creating a new multi-billion-pound global supply chain that will drive the future of computing over the next half a century. The U.K. has a great shot at becoming central to this supply chain which will span everything from manufacturing, assembly, software and applications.”

Oxford Quantum Circuits CEO Ilana Wisby, speaking on Radio 4’s The Today Programme

“Quantum computing really does have the potential to reshape the world as we know it, making brand-new forms of information processing possible with transformational power and impact, pretty much across all sectors. And that is because we're able to compute in a way that fundamentally isn't possible with classical computers. They operate according to new rules, and that's the role of the quantum world.

“It’s not simply a smaller, better, faster machine. The thing that's most exciting for me is that first of all, quantum computers can grant us the opportunity to think like Mother Nature. So every atom, every molecule around us, is fundamentally quantum and we can't simulate it today. You need a quantum computer to be able to simulate these quantum systems. And that's so powerful. Imagine the ramifications for things like pharmaceuticals, drug discovery for new batteries, new materials and being able to go through the R&D process so much faster because we don't need to do it in a wet lab. We can do it in a simulated quantum world.

“I truly believe that the U.K. can be a world leader. I think it's worth pointing out here that this is quantum broadly, it's not just quantum computing. We're talking about quantum sensing and communications as well. But we do have world-leading research institutes and we have world-leading startups and scale-ups. In quantum broadly today we've got a thriving ecosystem. of collaborative enterprises, we've got talent, we've got skills. We really are world-leading, and that's also because there's been so much investment into quantum already from academia. We now want to make sure that we can leverage that into a competitive advantage.”

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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