Science Minister Andrew Griffith announced a £45m investment today (5 Feb) in the country’s quantum computing sector to establish the UK as a quantum-enabled economy by 2033.
The funds will be used to harness quantum technology’s potential in sectors such as healthcare, energy, and transport.
A substantial portion of the investment (£30m) will be dedicated to the development and delivery of prototype quantum computers. These computers will provide scientists and engineers with controlled environments for experimentation.
The remaining £15m will be channelled into the Quantum Catalyst Fund, for projects to accelerate the adoption of quantum solutions within the public sector.
The funded projects include the development of a high-tech brain scanner using quantum technology, targeting improved diagnosis of disorders such as epilepsy and dementia, and a smart navigation system for trains, using quantum sensors to enhance safety and reduce costs in tunnels.
The UK Research and Innovation Technology Missions Fund and the National Quantum Computing Centre jointly invested £30m in a competition to develop quantum computing hardware prototypes.
The competition, delivered by Innovate UK, explores quantum technology’s potential applications across various policy areas, from healthcare to energy.
This initiative aims to bridge the gap between academic experimentation and proprietary commercial quantum computers, facilitating the refinement of methodologies for practical use.
The £15m Quantum Catalyst Fund, delivered by Innovate UK, explores the benefits of quantum technologies in the government’s work across areas like health, transport, and net zero.
Professor Will Drury, executive director of digital and technologies at Innovate UK, emphasised how quantum technologies could meet society’s greatest challenges: “Quantum technologies have the potential to meet some of the greatest challenges society faces. By unleashing computing power that goes far beyond existing digital technology, we can reach new frontiers in sensing, timing, imaging, and communications.”
The National Quantum Strategy, published in March 2023, committed £2.5bn to developing quantum technologies in the UK over ten years, aiming to generate an additional £1bn of private investment into the programme.
The next phase, backed by the £2.5bn National Quantum Strategy, aims to deliver a quantum-enabled economy by 2033.
Research company GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence: Quantum Computing report estimates that the quantum computing market in 2022 was valued between $500m and $1bn. The research company predicts this figure will rise to $10bn between 2026 and 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate of between 30% and 50%.
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