The UK government has unveiled plans to invest £45 million in quantum computing, as part of a strategy to expand the reach of the technology into critical sectors such as healthcare, energy, and transport.
Science Minister Andrew Griffith has outlined the government’s plan to position the UK as a quantum-enabled economy by 2033. Quantum technologies have been identified as one of the five critical technologies in the UK Science and Technology Framework.
The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Technology Missions Fund and the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) will jointly contribute £30 million to a competition focused on developing prototype quantum computing testbeds.
These testbeds will play a crucial role in the development of scalable quantum computers by offering a practical means to test their performance. They will identify the most effective quantum technology for specific applications by running quantum algorithms on various hardware.
Seven projects will set up testbeds using different quantum computing platforms, including trapped-ion, superconducting, photonics, and neutral atoms.
An additional £15 million from the Quantum Catalyst Fund will be invested to “accelerate the use of quantum in government.” This scheme aims to speed up the adoption of quantum solutions in the public sector, allowing th=e government to utilise quantum technologies across various policy areas.
The competition, delivered by Innovate UK, part of UKRI, alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), has seen six concepts selected to receive funding to develop prototypes and demonstrate their solutions.
This scheme is part of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme, which has been running since 2014.
Griffith said, “As we steer towards an economy benefitting from quantum, this further £45 million in funding underscores our commitment to support bright UK innovators who are pushing boundaries and seizing the potential of this technology to transform our public services.
“Cutting-edge work on a quantum-enabled brain scanner, which will be a beacon of hope for those battling neurological conditions, is just one example.
“The UK is already one global leader in quantum, and to maintain that position, this government will continue to invest in this transformational technology propelling the UK into a new era of technological prowess and economic growth.”