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UK quantum risks ‘failing to punch above weight’ without support, startup warns

UK quantum sector
Aegiq co-founder and CEO Maksym Sich

The UK risks “failing to punch above its weight” in the global quantum computing sector, according to Sheffield-based quantum startup Aegiq.

The University of Sheffield spinout, which raised £1.8m last year, today called on the government to “show consistency and ambition” in its support of the UK quantum sector.

Founded in 2019, Aegiq is looking develop a world-first quantum computing platform using integrated photonics.

The startup offered a seven-point plan that contained its suggestions on how the government can effectively support the quantum industry.

These included fostering deeper international collaboration to counter what it described as “quantum nationalism”. Aegiq said that working with the US and the EU would maximise the capabilities of all three authorities.

It also said that UK universities need to deprioritise commercialisation within the quantum sector. According to Aegiq, a longer-term approach that focuses on the number of jobs generated rather than the cash returns achieved would result in greater success down the line.

The firm also recommended funding improvements to critical infrastructure, doubling the amount of young people entering quantum postgraduate degrees and improving communication and cooperation with quantum startups.

It comes months after the government unveiled a 10-year quantum strategy, backed by £2.5bn of public funding.

“Whilst the government’s commitment to invest £2.5bn in quantum over the next 10 years in the recent quantum strategy is a very positive step, what matters most is the detail and there are currently only high-level intentions in the strategy,” said Aegiq CEO Maksym Sich.

“Our seven-point plan highlights the specific actions the government must take to ensure the success of these technologies in the UK and to catch up with the likes of China who are leading the way in the sector.”