The Hub Director, Professor Tim Spiller, travelled to Canada for a week as part of an Innovate UK (IUK) Global Expert Mission into Quantum Technologies. Delivered by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) with support from the Catapult Centres, the Expert Missions help further IUK’s global strategy by providing the evidence base for where it should invest and by providing the opportunities for UK businesses to build partnerships and collaborations with key economies. Canada has invested over $1billion in quantum-related R&D over the past decade and is currently a global leader in this emerging field.
Starting in 2014, the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme is investing more than £270m over 5 years to commercialise quantum technology – the largest UK government investment in a disruptive technology ever made. This coordinated national programme, part of which is the University of York-led Quantum Communications Hub, builds on a world-class science base and will accelerate development and commercialisation of quantum technologies through the close collaboration of academia, industry and government.
In 2017, the UK and Canadian governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to science, technology and innovation. The MOU represents a commitment to enhance bilateral co-operation on complementary areas of research, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation, with the aim of accelerating the commercialisation of emerging technologies, and thus promoting the growth of jobs and businesses. Quantum technologies is stated as being one of four initial priority areas on which to focus.
The Canada Quantum Technologies Expert Mission visited Ottawa, Waterloo and Vancouver during the week of 19-23 March 2018. The UK and Canada have a history of world-class research and substantial investment in quantum science and quantum technology. There are two distinct industrial markets: specialist technology to support the ~1,500 laboratories world-wide engaged in quantum research, and end-user products incorporating quantum technology. This Mission is particularly interested in Canadian work on QKD in space (a key Hub priority for the future), and future mission and exploitation plans, and Canadian work on quantum computers.
The Mission was led by Sir Peter Knight and included senior programme stakeholders from all four UK Quantum Technology Hubs, the National Physical Laboratory as well as leading industry representatives. It specifically seeked to: develop a deeper understanding of the quantum technologies landscape in Canada; explore prospective areas for future collaboration on quantum technologies between the UK and Canada; identify synergies between the activities of the two countries; and gain a greater understanding of Canadian priorities in R&D and industrial, supply-chain, end-user and technology exploitation.
An official report on the Mission will become available later on in the year.