The U.K. announced this week that it is committing to invest £2.5 billion (just over $3 billion USD) in the country’s national quantum strategy over the next decade.
The announcement comes as many new quantum technology start-ups have popped up in the U.K., such as Riverlane, PQShield, Orca Computing, Oxford Ionics, Oxford Quantum Circuits, and more. The U.K. government over at least the last two years gradually has been increasing its commitment to supporting quantum efforts there.
The U.K.’s Spring Budget document states that the new planned investment will focus on the main goals of “ensuring the UK is home to world-leading quantum science and engineering; supporting businesses through innovation funding opportunities and by providing access to world-leading R&D facilities; driving the use of quantum technologies in the UK; and creating a national and international regulatory framework.”
Ben Packman, senior vice president of strategy at PQShield, told IQT News via email:
“It’s great to see the government understanding the strategic importance of science and technology for the UK economy. The UK is home to many of the world’s leading quantum computing companies – more than any other country in Europe. In quantum-safe cryptography, British companies like ours are helping to set new standards that will shape the way the entire world will secure its data.
We particularly welcome the government’s emphasis on quantum-related training and skills for academics, engineers and researchers. Having worked with different global organisations on cryptographic standard-setting, we know how valued British expertise in this area truly is.
None of this home-grown innovation would be possible if it wasn’t for the UK’s outstanding universities, thriving local venture capital market, and government funding through Innovate UK.
However, if the UK is to become a globally-recognised technology superpower by 2030, achievements like this should be shouted about from the very top. It’s not just about funding – to market the UK’s quantum capabilities globally, the government needs to align all its departments, including bodies like GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), MI5’s newly-created National Protective Security Authority (NPSA), regulators and industry on the same path.”
Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.