QUANTUM LEAP: CSIRO predicts a new tech sector will generate $4 billion annually within 20 years

- May 22, 2020 2 MIN READ
You can't have warp speed without quantum physics for the USS Enterprise in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Image: CBS/Paramount
The quantum technology sector could be worth more than $4 billion annually and create 16,000 jobs by 2040, according to a report by CSIRO.

The Growing Australia’s Quantum Technology Industry report sees potential in everything from national security to mineral exploration, drug and materials development, and communications from spin offs resulting from quantum physics developments.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall believes quantum technology could give Australia an “unfair advantage” to exploit internationally and help deliver sustainability in the tech sector.

“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,” he said.

The report has four key recommendations, including the development of a national quantum technology strategy, investigating funding mechanisms to support quantum tech in its commercialisation for quantum startups, attracting and retaining quantum talent; and an assessment of industry capabilities and infrastructure facilities critical to the success of a domestic quantum industry, alongside developing business cases to address any gaps

Additionally, the CSIRO report recommends supporting entrepreneurship and accelerator programs that enhance the commercialisation skills of deep technology startups.

Source: Growing Australia’s Quantum Technology Industry

Phil Morle, partner in the CSIRO’s innovation fund, Main Sequence Ventures, is a convert and argues quantum is transformative technology the economy needs.

“As global competition heats up, Australia already has several early stage companies and startups built upon IP and expertise developed in Australian universities that have attracted over $125 million of investment and funding in recent years,” he said.

CSIRO Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley sees quantum computing as Australia’s most promising long-term opportunity, but believes more collaboration between researchers and industry is needed.

“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,” she 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.”

The report is available to download here.