Australia’s emerging quantum technology sector could support 16,000 jobs and create over $4 billion annual revenue by 2040, according to a report by CSIRO.
Quantum technologies – which are powered by incredible advancements in quantum physics research – could accelerate drug and materials development, enhance national security, increase productive mineral exploration and improve secure communications, as outlined in the report Growing Australia’s Quantum Technology Industry.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said quantum technology can help Australia grow a sustainable technology industry.
“As Australia recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, we will need to create new industries to give Australia unfair advantage globally to produce unique high margin products that support higher wages,” Dr Marshall said.
“Science and technology are the key to economic prosperity in a world driven by disruption.”
CSIRO Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley identified quantum computing as the most promising long-term opportunity for Australia, but researchers and industry need to work together to overcome development challenges.
“Quantum computing has the potential to contribute more than $2.5 billion to the economy each year, while spurring breakthroughs in drug development, more efficient industrial processes, and accelerated machine learning systems,” Dr Foley said.
“The commercialisation of quantum enhanced sensors and communications technologies could also generate upwards of $1.7 billion revenue.
“To realise these opportunities, we need a national conversation about a coordinated, collaborative approach to growing a thriving domestic quantum economy.”
Phil Morle is partner at Main Sequence Ventures, which manages the CSIRO Innovation Fund and invests in quantum start-ups.
“As global competition heats up, Australia already has several early stage companies and start-ups built upon IP and expertise developed in Australian universities that have attracted over $125 million of investment and funding in recent years,” Mr Morle said.
“Main Sequence invests in deep-tech start-ups because they are truly transformative, and quantum is exactly the transformative technology the economy needs at a time like this.”
Professor Andrew White, Director of the Australian Research Council Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) and Professor at the University of Queensland, said Australia’s quantum research was internationally recognised.
“Australia’s world-leading research in quantum technology is driving us towards solutions we could only imagine a few years ago, across a number of sectors. For example, quantum sensors could give us early disease detection and quantum-enhanced communications could offer stronger security for sensitive data transmissions.”