Report calls on the UK to show ambition in the development of quantum technologies


quantum-circuit concept
Support package A new report by the Institute of Physics calls on the government to incentivize quantum start-up firms in the UK. (Courtesy: iStock/Quardia)

The UK government must be bold and ambitious to position the country as a world leader in the global quantum technologies market. So says a new report released last month by the Institute of Physics (IOP), which also calls for quantum start-up firms in the UK to be supported to allow research institutes to spin out quantum businesses more easily. 

Titled A Vision for Quantum Technologies in the UK the report includes 10 recommendations for how parts of the development process from fundamental research to commercialization can be improved. 

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The UK quantum community should, for example, develop a nationwide roadmap for quantum technologies. The government should support quantum-based start-ups by fostering a network of “accelerators” that are linked with venture capitalists and larger businesses. 

Companies, meanwhile, should be encouraged to integrate quantum technologies through focused technology demonstrations. More funding is also needed to support companies in intellectual property protection and to boost manufacturing infrastructure, testing and certification.  

Another recommendation is for the government to invest in a national skills programme where quantum technology is introduced at all educational stages – the idea being to make the UK a strong base to attract and retain talent, companies and investors.

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This should be tied with setting out a policy for international partnerships to draw in critical capabilities and build supply chains. Finally, the report calls for more public discussion of the role of quantum technologies and the impact on society.

Meanwhile, the IOP is launching a new award to support quantum business. It has been set up by the newly created Quantum Business Innovation and Growth group (qBIG) in partnership with Quantum Exponential – the UK’s first enterprise venture capital fund that is focused solely on quantum technology.

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Winners of the qBIG Award will be given £10,000 and 10 months of mentoring from the Quantum Exponential investment team as well as access to IOP accelerator space and support. 

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