University of Sydney awarded $18.4 million for national quantum centre

29 April 2024
Funding accelerates future of computing
A national centre of innovation and collaboration led by the University of Sydney aims to unlock quantum's potential.

The Australian Government has awarded $18.4 million to the University of Sydney to establish Quantum Australia to help grow the quantum industry and ecosystem in Australia.

Australia consistently ranks within the world’s top five countries for high impact quantum research and quantum computing patents. With one of the largest quantum workforces in the world, Australia is now the home of world-leading companies in quantum software, cybersecurity, sensing technologies and quantum computing.

“The University is thrilled to accept this grant on behalf of Australia’s quantum ecosystem. Our stewardship of this new centre is in recognition of our commitment to research excellence, collaboration and translation” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Emma Johnston.

“Quantum technologies of the future will lift our capacity to tackle major global challenges, and we want Australia to remain at the forefront of this transformative work.”

The Hon. Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science, and Dr Xanthe Croot from the University of Sydney Nano Institute. Photo: Fiona Wolf/University of Sydney

Quantum computing promises to radically change technology through the development of machines that can calculate in completely new ways.

By exploiting the strange nature of matter at the smallest scales, quantum machines offer pathways to develop new materials, design new chemistry and pharmaceuticals, and completely upend cryptography. The limits of its promise are unknown.

The new national centre, Quantum Australia, will raise awareness of quantum technology, foster collaboration between industry and universities, encourage the creation and growth of quantum startups, and connect quantum companies on a national and international scale.

Dr Ting Rei Tan, a quantum physicist at the University of Sydney's Quantum Control Laboratory. Photo: Fiona Wolf/University of Sydney

Professor Stephen Bartlett is a quantum information theorist and director of the University of Sydney Nano Institute. He led the formation of the consortium to establish Quantum Australia and is its foundation director.

"Quantum Australia gives muscle and momentum to the national quantum strategy. Its arrival is a signal that industry, government and academia can work together to further press Australia's quantum advantage,” he said.

"The University of Sydney is very proud to host this initiative. Quantum Australia will help accelerate and shape our quantum future: deepening our science, building entrepreneurial support, growing the quantum workforce, and ensuring an equitable and ethical ecosystem."

Quantum Australia will bring together some of Australia’s leading research institutions, industry partners and quantum companies, and will have a broad reach both at home and abroad.

Professor Peter Turner, CEO of the Sydney Quantum Academy. Photo: Fiona Wolf/University of Sydney

Quantum Australia will help grow the Australian quantum industry by:

  • supporting the adoption, development and commercialisation of quantum technologies and fostering collaborative research and development to drive innovation;
  • building connections and driving collaborations across industry, research and government in the quantum ecosystem, both nationally and internationally;
  • increasing awareness and educating industries across the broader economy and society on the implications and opportunities of emerging quantum technologies; and
  • supporting the responsible and inclusive development of quantum technology in Australia. 

The Hon. Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science said: “We want to make more things here and quantum computing will give us the technological muscle to do that.

“Australian researchers have been responsible for some of the most important quantum breakthroughs, so we have an edge in this critical technology.

“This investment and the Government’s support of quantum is about sharpening that edge and making sure it delivers an economic return for Australia in the shape of new jobs in new industries.”

Minister Ed Husic with a PhD student in the School of Physics. Photo: Fiona Wolf/University of Sydney

Together with Macquarie University, UNSW and University of Technology Sydney, the University of Sydney is part of the NSW Government-funded Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA), which has played a vital role in the establishment of Quantum Australia.

SQA CEO Professor Peter Turner welcomed the new consortium. He said: “SQA is proud to have played an instrumental role in the bid for the new centre, having delivered initiatives since our establishment in 2019 to build Australia’s quantum workforce and increase understanding of the potential of quantum technologies.

“We look forward to working with the University of Sydney and the consortium partners to accelerate Australia’s place in the global quantum economy.”

Establishing Quantum Australia builds on the Australian Government’s broader work to implement actions outlined in the National Quantum Strategy, which sets out a long-term vision of how Australia can take advantage of the opportunities that quantum technologies present.

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