New IOP report calls for action on UK quantum sector growth

10 Nov 2022 Faye Holst

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has today released the report A Vision for Quantum Technologies in the UK, with the aim of providing support to the UK government’s quantum strategy.

The report proposes a vision for the UK quantum sector and makes 10 recommendations to enable the realisation of this vision, focusing on: roadmaps for the commercialisation of quantum goods and services; the development of a supporting ecosystem and the capacity for scale; the creation of a strong skills base to support quantum industries; and wider enablers including partnerships and communications.

It presents evidence drawn from a broad, member-led IOP engagement programme that included roundtables and workshops as well as exercises undertaken with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

This member-driven process has resulted in a report that will feed into the forthcoming BEIS strategy and identifies key areas where the IOP has the potential to support a UK quantum strategy.

The IOP argues that a UK quantum strategy needs to support each stage of the journey towards commercialised quantum-based products and services, from foundational research through to market, through the provision of direct and indirect support, co-ordination and planning, and aligned policies addressing skills and other enabling factors.

IOP director of science, innovation and skills Louis Barson said: “Quantum technologies have the potential to transform the way people live and to revolutionise industries as diverse as computing, communications, defence, security, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

“This report demonstrates that the physics community believes the government should target significant growth of the sector in terms of the its overall value, the numbers of businesses and employees, and the extent to which the quantum ecosystem is driven by high-productivity companies.”

The IOP has also announced a new prize awarded by the recently convened Quantum Business Innovation and Growth Group (qBIG), which is made up of leaders from some of the most influential businesses working in this area.

The new qBIG Prize is sponsored by Quantum Exponential, the UK’s first enterprise venture capital fund focused on quantum. The prize is for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working to develop quantum products and solutions, and aims to support innovation and the commercialisation of quantum technologies with a £10,000 award, access to mentoring and the IOP’s Accelerator space, and more.

Stuart Nicol, chief investment officer at Quantum Exponential, said the relationship with the IOP would help it maintain its focus on this commercialisation, adding: “We hope that the sponsorship of the IOP’s new innovation award will help drive increased support from across the industry and help accelerate market readiness.”