• Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

    Critical Thought

    Critical thoughts on quantum technologies

    UK Government Funds Quantum Technology Projects to Drive Economic Growth

    BySam Figg

    Nov 18, 2023
    UK Government Funds Quantum Technology Projects to Drive Economic Growth

    The UK government has recently announced a significant funding of £14 million for various quantum technology projects. The goal is to establish the country as a quantum-enabled economy by 2033, in line with the National Quantum Strategy. This funding is a part of the government’s larger investment of £2.5 billion over the next decade to develop quantum technologies.

    Out of the total funding, £10 million has been allocated to six projects based in the UK. These projects focus on advancing the development of components and systems for quantum network technologies. Noteworthy among them is Toshiba Europe’s project, which aims to create high-bandwidth quantum-secure communications between satellite and ground networks. Another project seeks to deliver modular systems for connecting quantum processors into large-scale networks.

    Additionally, Science Minister George Freeman has announced £4 million in funding from Innovate UK for collaborative research and development (R&D) through UK-Canada partnerships. This funding will support 11 projects dedicated to developing real-world quantum technologies for commercial use.

    “We have identified quantum as one of the five transformational technologies in which the UK is a global leader,” said Freeman. He further emphasized the potential of quantum computing, imaging and sensing, cybersecurity, and position, navigation, and timing in various industrial applications, ranging from drug discovery to fintech and defense.

    To promote international collaboration and knowledge sharing, the UK government has signed collaboration agreements with Australia and the Netherlands. These agreements facilitate joint efforts in quantum R&D, commercialization, investment, and skills development.

    In addition to funding projects, the UK government is also focusing on infrastructure development. The National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) has initiated a £30 million competition to establish testbeds across the country. These testbeds will be based on different hardware architectures and will accelerate the development of scalable quantum computers. As part of this initiative, the NQCC has partnered with tech giant IBM to provide priority access to IBM’s quantum computers for UK-based users.

    Furthermore, the UK government is launching a quantum standards network pilot. This pilot program aims to establish global standards and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of setting these standards. The pilot network will be coordinated by the National Physical Laboratory in collaboration with the NQCC, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), and the British Standards Institution.

    The quantum technology strategy, launched in March 2023, seeks to position the UK as a global leader in quantum science and engineering. The strategy aims to drive the adoption of quantum technologies in business and establish a comprehensive regulatory framework at both national and international levels. The government hopes that its £2.5 billion investment will attract an additional £1 billion in private investment into the program.

    By 2033, the government aims to ensure that all businesses in key sectors of the UK are aware of the potential of quantum technologies. Moreover, 75% of relevant businesses are expected to have taken necessary steps to prepare for the arrival of quantum computing.


    1. What is quantum technology?

    Quantum technology encompasses various fields, such as quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum sensing. It leverages the principles of quantum mechanics to develop innovative technologies that have the potential to revolutionize computing, communication, and other industries.

    2. How will quantum technologies benefit businesses?

    Quantum technologies offer numerous advantages for businesses. They can significantly enhance computational power, enabling faster and more complex calculations. Quantum encryption can provide higher levels of data security, while quantum sensing can improve measurement accuracy in various fields. These advancements can lead to breakthroughs in fields such as drug discovery, finance, cybersecurity, and many more.

    3. What is the UK’s National Quantum Strategy?

    The National Quantum Strategy is a roadmap laid out by the UK government to establish the country as a quantum-enabled economy by 2033. It aims to position the UK as a global leader in quantum science and engineering, promote the adoption of quantum technologies in businesses, and create a comprehensive regulatory framework both nationally and internationally.

    4. How is the UK collaborating with other countries in the field of quantum technology?

    The UK government has signed collaboration agreements with countries like Australia and the Netherlands to foster collaboration in quantum research, development, commercialization, investment, and skills development. These partnerships aim to facilitate knowledge exchange and accelerate progress in quantum technologies on a global scale.

    5. What are quantum standards and why are they important?

    Quantum standards are a set of guidelines and benchmarks that ensure consistency and interoperability in quantum technologies. Establishing global quantum standards is crucial for the development and adoption of these technologies. They promote compatibility, enable cross-border collaborations, and facilitate the integration of quantum systems into various applications and industries.