The UK government has pledged to invest £2.5 billion in quantum computing over the next 10 years, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced today.
The program is part of the new spring budget aimed at reducing inflation and the risk of recession.
The UK technology sector will play a central role in the plan. As part of the goal of making the UK a “science and technology superpower”, Hunt wants to build a world-leading “quantum economy” by 2023.
To achieve this, the government is more than doubling its previous funding commitment in this area. It aims to attract a further £1bn in private funding.
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“The next step is for a drastic increase in VC funding in the UK.
The new program aims to build on a strong foundation. The UK is currently second in the world for both the number of quantum companies and private investment in the sector.
Andrew Scott, founding partner at 7% Ventures, an early-stage fund backing UK quantum startups, said the new investment is “vital to the future prosperity of the UK”.
Scott reiterated the government’s call for more private sector funding.
“The next crucial step in support of the Prime Minister’s 10-year plan to make the UK a ‘tech superpower’ is a drastic increase in UK VC funding,” he told TNW.
In particular, Scott is hoping for significant growth in deeptech and later-stage Series A+ funding. To encourage this, he wants regional pension funds to allocate a percentage of their resources to deeptech VC investments.
“Someone like British Business Bank could manage and provide VC funds, like they already do through the ECF (Enterprise Capital Funds) and BPC (British Patient Capital) programs,” Scott added.
Quantum Motion CEO James Palles-Dimmock (right) hopes the UK can attract top talent. Credit: Quantum Motion
The government was also advised to proceed with patience. Sebastian Weidt, CEO of Universal Quantum, a University of Sussex spin-out, said the funding needed a long-term vision.
“Quantum computing is a marathon, not a sprint,” Weidt told TNW. “Therefore we need to support the wide range of promising approaches to quantum computing that we have access to across the UK. And we should avoid focusing only on the short-term.”
To support this, the government has made a number of commitments related to research and training.
“I’m excited to see how we continue to welcome the world’s best talent.
In addition, the plan includes a number of commitments to international cooperation. They include funding R&D partnerships with other countries, as well as a promise to attract and support overseas talent and companies.
James Palles-Dimmock, CEO of quantum movementwhich recently raised a UK record £42million, insists the ability to work across borders is vital to the sector.
“Manufacturing and talent are two key areas where the gains from collaboration far outweigh the risks,” he said. “And I look forward to continuing to welcome the world’s best talent to the UK so we can continue to accelerate the delivery of these key technologies.”