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UK Government Sets 10-Year Quantum Technology Goals

National strategy aims to deliver benefits for economy, society, national security

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

March 16, 2023

3 Min Read
Portrait photo of secretary of state for science, innovation and technology Michelle Donelan.
Secretary of state for science, innovation and technology Michelle Donelan. GOV.UK Crown copyright

On the same day as giving the quantum economy a $3 billion shot in the arm in the spring 2023 budget, the U.K. government published its National Quantum Strategy yesterday.

Issued by the newly established department for science, innovation and technology (DSIT), the document sets out goals for quantum computing and other quantum technologies over the next 10 years and the approach to achieving them.

“The exponential increase in computing power from quantum computers could revolutionize our health care system, from dramatically improved drug discovery techniques to providing personalized treatment to an individual based on genetic and environmental factors, help to manage and make best use of our national energy infrastructure and even accelerate the path to autonomy and entirely new AI applications,” states the strategy document.

Other quantum technologies covered by the strategy include quantum sensors, such as those used for environmental monitoring, and quantum clocks and communication, which among other uses provide an alternative navigation technology in GPS-deprived environments.

According to the document, the U.K. ranks in the top three of the top 10 nations producing quantum scholarly outputs. By 2033, DSIT intends to maintain that position while increasing the volume of research publications.

Other 2033 goals include funding 1,000 postgraduate research students, building on the bilateral quantum research collaboration with the U.S. by establishing arrangements with another five quantum nations and having a 15% share of the global quantum technologies market.

Another bold 2033 ambition is for all businesses within key relevant sectors of the U.K. to be aware of the potential of quantum technologies and for 75% of relevant businesses to have taken steps to prepare for the arrival of quantum computing. DSIT says the goal is to drive the use of quantum technologies in the U.K. to deliver benefits for the economy, society and national security.

The strategy sets out 13 steps to achieve its goals:

  1. Invest $3 billion of government funding in quantum R&D over the 10 years from 2024.

  2. Increase investment in quantum technologies from this year.

  3. Recognizing the importance of skilled people by launching training schemes.

  4. Seek to attract, retain and invest in skilled quantum individuals who want to come to the U.K.

  5. Commission an independent review of the quantum sector’s infrastructure requirements.

  6. Showcase U.K. quantum companies at home and overseas, launching targeted campaigns to generate business in global supply chains, unlock capital and help companies to scale.

  7. Attract and support quantum companies who want to move to the U.K. from overseas, providing programs and investment opportunities.

  8. Establish stronger mechanisms and catalyst funding through a quantum catalyst fund.

  9. Accelerate the work of the National Quantum Computing Center to support the adoption of quantum computing in key sectors of the U.K. economy.

  10. Significantly expand partnerships with global allies.

  11. Undertake a Regulatory Horizons Council review of the future needs for quantum technologies regulation to enable the sector to innovate and grow.

  12. Protect key areas of quantum capabilities, including through the use of the National Security Investment Act and export controls.

  13. Establish the Office for Quantum in DSIT.

In a foreword to the document, secretary of state for science, innovation and technology Michelle Donelan writes: “The U.K. has world-leading strengths in quantum, including our deep research talent, the knowledge built up across the different quantum technologies, our rapidly growing quantum sector and our strengths throughout quantum and related supply chains.

“This 10-year plan will fund new frontiers of quantum research, support and develop our growing quantum sector, prepare our wider economy for the quantum revolution and ensure that the U.K. leads internationally in the regulation and ethical use of quantum technologies.”

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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