Sydney Uni to invest $7.4m in quantum tech

The University of Sydney has announced a $7.4 million investment to expand its quantum technology facilities and establish a research and training hub, the Future Qubit Foundry, as part of the Sydney Nanoscience Hub.

The intention behind this move is to have a “national-leading facility to invent the technology of tomorrow’s quantum computers, enabling them to operate at scale and be of use to society”, the University said in a press release.

The new hub is also hoped to better position Sydney for quantum tech partnerships with industry and government, and provide a dedicated hub to train a quantum workforce necessary to “operate tomorrow’s quantum tech” – all while leveraging the University of Sydney’s research in advanced quantum technology.

According to science research agency the CSIRO, quantum technology is set to become a $6 billion industry in Australia by 2045, employing close to 20,000 people, with quantum computers expected to solve “intractable problems” in drug design, cryptography and engineering outside the reach of classical computing.

Professor Stephen Bartlett, Associate Dean (Research) of USyd’s Faculty of Science said the Qubit Foundry would help ensure Sydney is one of the world’s best places to research quantum technology.

“By training the very best quantum technologists, the University will deliver tangible benefits to the Australian economy. And it will lock us into global supply chains as quantum computers come into their own,” he said.

Bartlett added: “Australians like Dr John Bartholomew, who was at Caltech, and Dr Xanthe Croot, who was at Princeton, have come home to establish research teams at Sydney to develop future quantum tech.”

At the same time, Bartlett, who heads the University’s quantum theory group in the School of Physics, believes the building blocks of tomorrow’s quantum computers are yet to be invented.

“That’s why it’s so vital to invest now into facilities like this to accelerate qubit research.”

‘Qubits’, or quantum bits, are defined as the quantum mechanical analogue of a classical bit.

According to USyd, the Future Qubit Foundry will bring together Sydney’s existing strengths in quantum computing research to focus on the fundamental science, engineering and industry partnerships needed to invent the next generation of qubits.

The Foundry will occupy the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, offering national-leading facilities for fabricating and characterising novel quantum devices and attracting and hosting new strategic hires in quantum materials and devices.