Universities welcome NSW Government backing for Sydney Quantum Academy

9 March 2019
The University of Sydney is working with three other universities to establish the Sydney Quantum Academy, helping to ensure that cutting-edge quantum research translates into a sustainable industry and jobs.
Professor David Reilly from the School of Physics and Microsoft Quantum Laboratory.

Professor David Reilly from the School of Physics and Microsoft Quantum Laboratory.

The NSW Government has announced support for the establishment of a new Sydney Quantum Academy with $15.4 million in funding, bringing together four leading universities in NSW.

The Sydney Quantum Academy is the initiative of Macquarie University, UNSW Sydney, the University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney. It will help train the next generation of engineers and scientists in quantum computing, cementing Sydney’s place as the leading global city for quantum technology and ensuring NSW is a world centre for jobs in the emerging quantum economy.

The funding, combined with current university and future industry support, means the total investment in the Sydney Quantum Academy will be up to $35 million.

The Sydney Quantum Academy will develop the industry, attract talent and investment in Australia and internationally, and promote an understanding about quantum computing, simulation and software for local and global companies that want to use these emergent technologies.

The Academy will:

  • Encourage students to collaborate and train across the four universities;
  • Directly link students to industry through internships and research;
  • Support the development of quantum technology businesses; and
  • Promote Sydney as a global leader in quantum computing.

The four universities are already deeply involved in developing quantum technology, through the ARC Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) and the ARC Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology (CQC2T) harnessing academic talent from all four institutions.

In the past two years there has also been a flurry of commercial activity in quantum technology at the universities, with the establishment of Australia’s first quantum computing company, Silicon Quantum Computing, based at UNSW; the Microsoft Quantum Laboratory, based at the University of Sydney; and the foundation of Australia’s first venture-capital-backed quantum tech company, Q-CTRL, based at the University of Sydney.

These companies are already providing dozens of high-tech jobs in quantum technology.

Professor Michael Bremner, a Chief Investigator for CQC2T and a member of the Centre for Quantum Software and Information at UTS, said: “Sydney has an incredibly strong quantum computing community, with deep expertise across all areas – from the physics of qubit fabrication all the way through to software and application development. The Sydney Quantum Academy will help to cement Sydney as the world’s premier destination for quantum computing education, research and commercial development.”

Professor David Reilly holds a joint position as a Chief Investigator for EQUS at the University of Sydney and as Director of the Microsoft Quantum Laboratory. He said: “This announcement shows that quantum technology is moving out of the laboratory and into practical application. Already at Microsoft Quantum in Sydney we have dozens of people employed in new, high-tech jobs. But we will need hundreds, if not thousands, of trained quantum engineers to make the promise of quantum technology a reality. The Sydney Quantum Academy will help us achieve this vision.”

Laureate Fellow Professor Michelle Simmons, Director of CQC2T and a founding director of Silicon Quantum Computing from UNSW, said: “This is emerging as a hot area. It’s also a domain where the city of Sydney hosts some pretty extraordinary capability. This ramps things up a notch. Our UNSW spin-out, Silicon Quantum Computing, needs engineers and physicists with incredibly specialised skills in quantum science. We’re hoping this initiative will help us to nurture them here in Sydney.”

Mária Kieferová is a PhD student at Macquarie University. She is developing algorithms that will be needed to solve real-world problems on future quantum devices. She said: “I hope that the Academy will give rise to quantum companies in NSW that will offer industry research positions as an alternative to an academic career.”

“This commitment from the NSW Government will help to ensure that our city will emerge as a global leader in a technology that has promise to redefine the 21st century,” said a statement from the four institutions.

“We are thrilled that our four universities in Sydney are joining forces with the emerging commercial quantum ecosystem to develop the talent and jobs that will be foundational for a new quantum industry in Australia.”

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