Generic photo inside a quantum computer.

Ensuring Sydney's place as a global hub for quantum technology

7 December 2020
Sydney Quantum Academy officially launched today
The NSW Government has helped to bring together four Sydney universities to promote our harbour city as an international centre for excellence in quantum technology, supporting jobs, research and education.

Sydney Quantum Academy is working to create thousands of well-paid, high-tech jobs building on the city’s quantum strengths.

At an online forum officially launching the Academy on Monday, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP joined representatives from academia and industry to discuss plans to grow the city’s quantum economy, creating new jobs and attracting investment.

Sydney is already home to one of the highest concentrations of quantum research groups in the world and there is a burgeoning quantum tech industry with start-ups like Q-CTRL, government-backed enterprises like Silicon Quantum Computing and global tech giants like Microsoft.

The newly formed Sydney Quantum Academy – a partnership with four world-leading universities Macquarie University, UNSW Sydney, the University of Sydney and UTS, backed by the NSW Government – has been tasked with supercharging the sector’s growth.

Minister Ayres said: “The NSW Government is investing heavily in the infrastructure required to build a world-class technology precinct. This includes investing in support networks for emerging technologies where we have credible expertise.

“The Academy will keep us at the forefront of quantum technology by developing the future employers, entrepreneurs and the workforce required to sustain the industry’s growth.”

Future quantum leaders

Sydney Quantum Academy’s newly appointed CEO Professor Peter Turner spoke of the Academy’s plans to grow the talent pipeline through education and training programs, industry partnerships and internships.

Professor Turner said: “The potential for quantum is enormous, which is why we are seeing significant increases in effort and investment around the world. Quantum technologies will fundamentally change areas like computation and sensing. They will help us to solve problems that we simply can’t solve with classical information technology.

“The Academy’s unique model means we have the ability and the infrastructure to deliver work-ready graduates and leaders who can help translate quantum research into real-life applications. There are jobs already there with the technology maturing rapidly, but there are many more to come. We need to boost the talent pipeline and anticipate what skills will be required for the future. We can only do this by working closely with industry in Australia and beyond.”

University of Sydney quantum researchers Professor David Reilly and Professor Michael Biercuk were panellists at the event.

The University of Sydney's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Duncan Ivison, said: "The foundation of this wonderful academy is a tribute to the many years of foundational quantum research done by scientists across the city.

"With ongoing support from the Australian Research Council, international collaboration and the NSW Government, we are now at the stage of transforming this work into huge industry potential. This means a great future for jobs, research and education in quantum technology."

The quantum economy

Dr Cathy Foley, CSIRO’s chief scientist and Australia’s incoming Chief Scientist spoke on how Sydney will play a central role in developing the nation’s quantum technology sector.

Dr Foley said: “The investment by the NSW Government in the Sydney Quantum Academy is a great example of the steps that are needed to create and accelerate a quantum ecosystem that will allow the whole of Australia to come together behind an industry that will create jobs and prosperity.

“Quantum is an industry that is going to do more than create new products and services – it will also catalyse a broader capability that will be transformational for all industries, similar to the effect of the digital revolution. It is going to allow us to do new things and accelerate our ability to solve challenges that seem unsolvable today.”

Dr Foley is a member of the Sydney Quantum Academy’s External Advisory Board which has been established to help SQA bridge the gap between industry, academia and government. The board features 10 senior representatives from government, international and local start-ups, venture capital, and technology firms.

“We're very fortunate to have these global tech industry and government leaders involved. It demonstrates the significance of what’s happening in the quantum space in Sydney,” Professor Turner said.