Gov to invest £153m in quantum computing technologies

The UK government is set to invest £153 million in quantum technologies, with the move expected to have a significant impact on quantitative finance and data security in the financial services industry.

The investment, which will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will focus on the development of new products and services based on advances in quantum technologies.

Major banks, insurance providers and regulators are already assessing the opportunities and advising clients on quantum computers for quantitative finance, asset pricing and portfolio optimisation.

Potential applications of the technology already been addressed are precise quantum clocks for timestamping transactions to advance high frequency trading and quantum security solutions to protect sensitive financial transaction data.

The Commercialising Quantum Technologies Challenge, through UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), has so far awarded a total of £90 million across 42 projects to realise the potential of the new generation of quantum technologies.

The programme is part of a larger investment in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme which UKRI says is on track to deliver a total of £1 billion investment over a 10-year life span.

Among the projects to be awarded funding is a Rigetti UK partnership with Standard Chartered Bank, Oxford Instruments, Phasecraft and the University of Edinburgh, who have been awarded £6.4 million to accelerate the commercialisation of quantum computing in the UK.

The three-year project will develop an advanced commercial quantum computer, make it available over the cloud and pursue practical applications in machine learning, materials simulation and finance.

The UKRI said it is the UK government’s ambition to be the world’s first quantum-ready economy, by being positioned as a global leader in an emerging quantum industry presents a market opportunity estimated to be in excess of £10 billion by 2030.

Roger McKinlay, challenge director, commercialising quantum technologies challenge said, “Quantum technologies are expected to have a huge impact on the financial services industry. Banks, insurance providers and regulators are already thinking ahead to the implications this technology will have on businesses, the economy and society.

“We are looking to fund the best teams of UK companies and research organisations to help them develop their ideas for innovation and commercialisation.”

Over the course of 2021 the ISCF Commercialising Quantum Technologies challenge is running three funding competitions, with the challenges comprising four areas to support the UK quantum industry:

product and service innovations: funding for collaborative research and innovation, aiming to deliver new quantum-enabled product and service innovations

industry-led technology development projects: a programme of industry-led research activities, each addressing specific challenges

supply chain: a series of feasibility projects looking at innovative components and supply chain elements across the quantum sector

investment accelerator: supporting early-stage, spin-out and start-up quantum technologies companies to secure venture capital.

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