Australia and UK sign quantum collaboration commitment

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Australia and the United Kingdom have signed a joint statement on quantum technologies aimed at enhancing each country’s industry capabilities through improved market access and knowledge sharing.

The agreement was signed by Industry and Science minister Ed Husic and his UK counterpart on the sidelines of the international artificial intelligence summit in the UK.

It commits the nations to new meetings at the government department level to share information on enhancing respective quantum industries and to elevate the technology in existing bilateral engagements.

Industry and Science minister Ed Husic with quantum scientist Professor Michelle Simmons

The UK is Australia’s second largest collaborator on quantum technologies and this year both countries unveiled national quantum strategies to accelerate the translation and commercialisation of decades of research.

On Friday, both nations recognised quantum as “a critical emerging technology” that needs “broad and inclusive participation” by signing the Joint Statement on Cooperation in Quantum Technologies, during the AI Safety Summit held at Bletchley Park in the UK.

“On the grounds of Bletchley Park – considered the birthplace of modern computing and where Alan Turing envisioned a future for artificial intelligence, Australia and the UK have signalled their joint determination to shape the next frontier in technology development: quantum,” Mr Husic said.

“Like AI, quantum will profoundly change our world, meaning international collaboration is essential.

“Australia is a global leader in quantum technologies. This Joint Statement reaffirms our global leadership and builds an important link to the UK to boost our collaboration and lift investment.”

The statement was released by Mr Husic and UK Secretary of State for science, innovation and technology Michelle Donelan. It commits Australia and the UK to a new Quantum Policy Dialogue in the form of regular meetings of government officials to exchange information, identify initiatives and review cooperation.

Joint research and the building of quantum industries and supply chains are all identified as intentions in the statement, which says this will occur through existing bilateral agreements like the Australia-UK Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership and the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement.

But beyond the new dialogue there are no binding commitments or new investments.

In March, the UK government committed £2.5 billion – more than $AUD 4.5 billion – to developing quantum technologies in the UK over the 10 years from 2024.

Australia’s national quantum strategy was released around the same time but without dedicated funding. Around $55 million in new grants for the local quantum industry was announced in the May Budget and will flow from next year.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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