Australia’s quantum success a model for other technologies

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley, has released a paper that charts Australia’s success in quantum technologies, and highlights lessons for helping scale up other sectors, critical to shaping Australia’s industries over the next two decades.

Dr Foley said: “We need to think beyond the technology – and focus on developing the people aspects as well. The skills, the people, and the need for collaborative effort. I refer to this as ‘Science Plus’.

“I can’t emphasise enough the need for tech industries to garner skills from the humanities and social sciences, to ensure the regulatory and ethical frameworks are in place, as well as the design and creativity input from the arts.”

Australia has a vibrant quantum computing hardware and software scene, spawned by advanced research led by Professor Michelle Simmons at the University of New South Wales.

She is founder of SQC which is developing a silicon-based quantum computer, and is backed by a $130 million Series A capital raising.

Other young companies include Q-CTRL which is a software company specialising in error detection and correction in quantum computing, Silex Systems which is manufacturing zero-spin silicon needed to make quantum chips and Archer Materials which is developing a room-temperature operating quantum chip.

According to Foley, Australia’s world-leading reputation in quantum technologies didn’t happen by accident.

It came about because of patient investment in discovery research, and through the fostering of a vibrant and collaborative research sector, which made Australia attractive for international talent.

She said Australia must continue to build our domestic capability so that we can realise the transformative potential of new technologies.

The report concluded: “While Australia does not have the scale of private and public funding of some competitor economies, advantages include a strong university sector known for high-quality research, training and connectivity between institutions, and long-term investment.

“Patient investment in long-term collaboration initiatives between universities, the broader research sector, governments and industry, would be an attractor for leading STEM specialists and students considering STEM as a career.”

Further reading:

Picture: Dr Cathy Foley

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