Australia and the United States have signed a formal cooperation agreement on quantum technology, pledging to work together on enhancing each country’s quantum industry through knowledge sharing and regular policy meetings between senior officials.
Signed on Wednesday, the Australian government announced the agreement on Friday, saying it would strengthen the allies’ “ability to exchange quantum knowledge and skills”, and elevate quantum technologies in bilateral engagements.
It follows the recognition of quantum as a “critical technology” this week by the federal government, which pledged to be develop and protect it as one of nine priority technologies identified for more state support and national security scrutiny.
The Joint Statement of Australia and the United States of America on Cooperation in Quantum Science and Technology was published by the United States Department of State on Wednesday.
It outlines an intent for the two countries to partner on quantum, including research and building a “trusted global quantum marketplace and the necessary secure supply chain through the engagement of the private sector and industry consortia”.
It also states Australia and the US will protect “sensitive” quantum technologies which have national security implications.
The areas of cooperation will be achieved by elevating quantum in bilateral arrangements and convening regular meetings of senior government officials in a “Quantum Policy Dialogue”, the details of which are yet to be determined.
Additional working-level meetings to advance specific topics will also be held, according to the agreement.
Minister for Science and Technology and the Defence Industry Melissa Price issued a statement on Friday welcoming the cooperation. Ms Price has held the Defence Industry portfolio for several years and was handed Science and Technology in a carve up of the Industry portfolio in August.
“Quantum technologies will help us overcome significant challenges that current computers struggle to solve, will help make our day-to-day lives safer and more convenient, and create more secure communications technologies,” she said.
“This is an important step forward for advancing quantum technologies in both Australia and the US, and will create more opportunities for Australian business and researchers to leverage the opportunities this technology will create.”
The Australian government recognised quantum as a “critical technology” earlier this week, bringing it under more national interest scrutiny. This included the announcement of a $111 million, ten-year quantum support package that will establish Australia’s first quantum commercialisation hub.
In the US, the Biden administration has committed $180 billion to “R&D industries of the future”, including quantum computing.
President Biden’s science advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr Eric Lander signed the Australia-US joint statement in Washington on Wednesday.
“I am delighted to affirm the United States and Australia’s commitment to work together to develop a healthy international marketplace for quantum technologies and grow the workforce for this emerging area,” he said.
“Jointly exploring new frontiers in quantum information science will accelerate discoveries and enable revolutionary approaches to computing, sensing, and networking that will benefit all of society.”
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