UK gets quantum computing consortium to champion industry
An industry-led and government-supported consortium has been launched to represent Britain’s quantum computing industry and ensure the UK is a “world leader” in the emerging technology.
UKQuantum, which is opening up its membership to organisations in the UK quantum industry, will aim to be a singular voice for the sector and support the development of the nation’s standing as a global quantum computing hub.
The launch of the consortium comes after the government established the cabinet position of science and investment security minister. MP Nusrat Ghani has been appointed to this position, which sits within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
“Quantum forms a vital part of the government’s vision for the UK to become a global science and technology superpower, and these exciting new technologies have the potential to transform our society and economy, from advancing drug discovery to helping to reduce gas emissions,” said Ghani.
“So, I am extremely pleased that UKQuantum is now open to membership applications, uniting the industry while working closely with Government to help to shape the future of quantum technology in the UK.”
UKQuantum will conduct webinars, committees, and workshops for members of the quantum sector and will also provide feedback to the government on relevant topics.
Founding members of the consortium include BT, Orca Computing, Oxford Instruments, and Nu Quantum.
“Quantum-enabled technologies are expected to have a profound impact on how society and business operate in the future,” said BT’s CTO Howard Watson. “I’m delighted that BT has been a lead partner in setting up this consortium to drive this new economy for the benefit of the UK.”
Quantum computers promise far superior firepower than traditional computers. That additional computing power is expected to revolutionise areas such as financial modelling, drug discovery and supply chain optimisation. While there have been significant advances in quantum computers in the last few years, it is a sector that remains in its infancy.
The UK has been keen to establish itself as a world leader in quantum computing and is already considered one of the leading countries in the nascent space.
In an effort to further this goal, the government launched the National Quantum Technologies Programme in 2014, which in 2019 hit the milestone of £1bn of investments across the UK quantum industry.
In July, Oxford Quantum Circuits closed an almost $50m funding round, making it the largest Series A fundraise for a British quantum computing company.