This year’s Autumn Lecture was delivered by Professor Sir Peter Knight FRS.
Sir Peter has led the establishment of the field of quantum technology research and development in the UK, some would say almost single-handedly organising critical contributions from numerous sources including government, academia, and industry to assemble a ground-breaking programme. He is seen by many as an inspirational leader in science and engineering and is also a great friend to technology research in Scotland, in which quantum is one of the most promising and high-profile areas.
The Autumn Lecture was very kindly hosted by the University of Glasgow at the Charles Wilson Lecture Theatre.
The UK, through a mix of government and industry funding, has committed more than £1Bn over 10 years to a co-ordinated programme in quantum technology. Five years into this programme, Sir Peter described how we got there, and the goals for the future. The UK National Quantum Technology Programme has induced a step change in the UK’s capabilities for pushing forward a new sector in future information technologies. Sir Peter described how the programme arose and the activities it supported and influenced to deliver these new capabilities, building on a first phase of almost £480M investment across several UK government agencies. The UK programme is now entering its second phase, with a further substantial investment by UK government and global industries in the UK making a total of over £1Bn. Sir Peter described plans for ensuring the advanced quantum science and demonstrator platforms in imaging, sensing, communications and computing developed over the past five years will drive the formation of the QT sector and embed quantum tech in a broad range of industries.