Australian quantum technology will be used to train students at TAFE and at American colleges after local firm Q-CTRL struck a deal with investors looking to take advantage of changes in geopolitics.
Q-CTRL announced its partnership with the Quad Investors Network (QUIN) on Wednesday evening (AEDT) as its founder and chief executive Professor Michael Biercuk joined Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the White House.
The Sydney startup’s Black Opal quantum educational technology software will be rolled out to TAFE institutions in Australia and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the US from next year, with the focus on post-secondary students without any experience in quantum.
“We know that we need employees with backgrounds from machining and coding through to business and politics to support the growth of the quantum sector,” Professor Biercuk said.
“As a flexible tool crafted specifically for learners seeking to enter the field from adjacent areas, we’re excited to help remove barriers from the realisation of a truly diverse quantum workforce through broadened access to Black Opal.”
The Australian startup was spun out of the University of Sydney by Professor Biercuk in 2017. It also develops sensors and software designed to extract the most power out of quantum hardware.
Q-CTRL is currently developing navigation sensors for Australian Defence Forces under a deal linked to the AUKUS agreement.
Under the new partnership with QUIN, licences for Black Opal will be fully subsidised by the non-governmental network that launched in the US this month. QUIN aims to foster private sector investment into critical and emerging technologies in Quad countries and across the Indo-Pacific.
The Quad partnership of national governments dates to 2004, when it was set up in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. It now focuses on meeting “challenges faced by the Indo-Pacific” and is widely seen as a counter to the influence of Beijing with a focus that includes emerging technology like quantum.
There are plans for other Quad nations Japan and India to deploy the Q-CTRL training software through local partners, which QUIN says will deliver a more inclusive workforce.
“Inclusive workforce development in quantum technologies provides great access to the next generation of workforce,” QUIN chairman Karl Metha said.
The new partnership to offer Black Opal to TAFE and HBCUs marks the first time the focus has been on enabling post-secondary students from non-quantum backgrounds to enter the industry sector, according to Q-CTRL
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