The National Quantum Strategy outlines a plan and prioritized actions for the next decade. As quantum technologies continue to advance, the UK must make strategic decisions about where to invest resources to maximize the benefits of these technologies. While it is still early in the development process, it is crucial to continue building the scientific foundation, nurturing the growing ecosystem, exploring various technology platforms and parts of the supply chain where the UK has a leading edge, and exploring software and use cases.
The UK aims to be one of the leading quantum technologies by 2033. Thus, to make it happen, the government is throwing £2.5 billion into the development of quantum stuff over the next ten years, hoping to attract another billion quid from private investors. The mission is to make the UK a big deal in quantum science and engineering, support businesses and the global supply chain, get people using quantum tech, and ensure everything’s done ethically and securely. The idea is to build the science and ecosystem, try different technologies, and work with industry to ensure the high-value stuff happens faster.
The UK will significantly drive into cutting-edge science and people who drive our success in quantum technologies. They will support quantum businesses to commercialize technology and translate ideas and knowledge into products and services that can be utilized throughout the economy, benefiting all citizens. They will collaborate internationally to share knowledge, build secure supply chains, and promote innovation, ethical global governance, and regulation of quantum technologies. These actions will ensure that the UK is a leading quantum nation, building on years of investment and progress in the vibrant UK quantum ecosystem.
In the next decade, quantum technologies are expected to transform various aspects of the UK and offer significant economic, societal, and environmental protection advantages. The UK is a global leader in quantum technology, and the government has identified it as a top priority in the Integrated Review Refresh. This strategy outlines the roadmap for the next ten years, capitalizing on past accomplishments to fully unlock the potential of these technologies for the UK.
UK’s Long-Range Plan towards building Quantum Supremacy
The UK government has announced a new strategy to accelerate the development and commercialization of quantum technologies in the country over the next decade. Despite already having a unique and diverse talent pool, capabilities, and know-how within the quantum sector, the government recognizes the need for a clear ambition and funding certainty to maintain and build on its leading position.
The strategy aims to support the full spectrum of quantum technologies across different hardware platforms, software, and components, including computing, sensing, timing, imaging, and communications. The government will also invest in key ecosystem enablers such as skills, infrastructure, regulation, and standards. While international collaboration is important, the UK will not solely rely on others to access these critical technologies. The government will continuously monitor the development of quantum technologies and the market to ensure that the UK can adapt its approach to achieving the best possible outcomes.
In the next decade, they aim to leverage world-class science and capabilities to strengthen the UK’s quantum sector further and unlock the immense potential of quantum technologies for economic growth. The vision is for the UK to become a global leader in the quantum-enabled economy, with quantum technologies firmly embedded in our digital infrastructure and advanced manufacturing base, creating a robust and prosperous society.
To achieve this, the UK has identified four key objectives:
- Foster world-leading quantum science and engineering, nurturing UK knowledge and skills
- Cultivate a favorable business environment, positioning the UK as the preferred destination for quantum businesses and investors.
- Drive the adoption of quantum technologies across different sectors in the UK, delivering benefits for the economy, society, and national security.
- Establish a national and international regulatory framework that encourages innovation and ethical use of quantum technologies while protecting UK capabilities and national security.
UK’s National Quantum Strategic Actions for the Next Decade
The UK government plans to invest £2.5 billion in quantum research and development over the next decade. This investment will fund the creation of research hubs, accelerator programs, challenge-led innovation funding, and training and talent programs. The investment will also include collaborative R&D programs with international partners, investment in infrastructure, and increased investment in the National Quantum Computing Centre. The goal is to accelerate progress toward the development and commercialization of quantum technologies and strengthen the UK’s position as a global center of excellence for the long term.
Furthermore, the government will increase its investment in quantum technologies with new funding available for various initiatives, including a £70 million program for quantum computing and Position Navigation & Timing (PNT) missions, £100 million investment for research hubs, £25 million for quantum fellowships and training, and £15 million for government procurement of quantum technologies. Additionally, £20 million will be allocated for acceleration activities, £20 million for the National Quantum Computing Centre, and increased international collaborations through the International Science Partnerships Fund.
The government will also provide an initial £25 million over the next two years, with funding expected to increase in the following phase of the program. The government plans to establish a Quantum Skills Taskforce and industry placement scheme and review the quantum sector’s infrastructure requirements. The government will support UK quantum companies by showcasing them at home and overseas and offer opportunities for global quantum companies to invest and relocate to the UK.
A quantum catalyst fund will also be established to speed up government procurement. At the same time, the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) will promote quantum computing adoption in key sectors of the economy, including the government. Finally, the government will form partnerships with global allies, review quantum technologies regulations, and protect quantum capabilities through export controls and guidance to the quantum community. The government will create the Office for Quantum within the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology to oversee the implementation of the strategy and regularly report to the National Science and Technology Council chaired by the Prime Minister.
UK’s Quantum Science and Technology Centers
The quantum science and technology centers and their associated communities have established extensive networks that unite experts from universities, national laboratories, and industry partners to cooperate on quantum research and development. Other countries highly respect and emulate this ecosystem due to its thriving collaborative enterprise that connects exceptional research to commercialization and translation.
The National Hubs in quantum science and technologies have achieved many global firsts since the program’s inception. These include the first industrial demonstrations of a quantum gravimeter capable of sensing underground objects, the first chip-to-chip Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) encrypted transmission, and the achievement of world-record performance in ion trap quantum computing. The UK ranks among the top five nations worldwide for various indicators of academic excellence.
The National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) was a newly established research institution funded by UKRI, which aims to accelerate the development of quantum computing by addressing scalability and readiness challenges. Through collaboration with industry, government, and the research community, the NQCC will create the necessary research and development capabilities by coordinating and delivering a technical program and operating new facilities.
The program will provide assured quantum computing capability, ensuring the UK remains competitive globally. The NQCC will be in a purpose-built facility at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory campus in Oxfordshire, which is expected to be completed in 2023.
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