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Australian agency invests $18m in ColdQuanta for new R&D centre

Prof Pascale Quester.jpg

The science arm of the Australian state of Victoria is taking a stake in quantum computing company ColdQuanta to set up a new research unit in Melbourne.

The Swinburne University of Technology in the city will house the quantum technology centre, following the investment of A$29 million (US$18.60 million) in the US company.

Swinburne’s vice-chancellor and president, Professor Pascale Quester (pictured), said: “By using atoms cooled to the lowest known temperatures in the universe, we are opening the pathway to a broad suite of quantum technologies that can potentially revolutionise the world as we know it.”

She said the team will be “working at the intersection of industry, research and investment”.

The money comes from Breakthrough Victoria, a state agency that funds R&D. The agency’s CEO, Grant Dooley, said: “Quantum technology has the potential to transform many sectors, including the pharmaceutical, energy, finance, transport and communications industries. … The investment will create jobs and develop world class skills development in quantum technology, while producing long-term, sustainable returns for Victoria.”

The investment will help establish an Asia-Pacific quantum computing and technology facility that will be known as the ColdQuanta-Swinburne Quantum Technology Centre.

ColdQuanta said it will partner with Swinburne “to bring world-class quantum capabilities to Victoria, connect the research community with industry and create opportunities for local job development and economic growth. It will provide a gateway to the broader quantum community across other universities and strengthen Australia’s sovereign capability in quantum technology.”

It said that one of the major challenges facing the quantum technology sector is the lack of a qualified workforce. “ColdQuanta will work with Swinburne University of Technology to develop new programmes to educate and train the next generation of workers to advance quantum information science, including STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and related fields.”

ColdQuanta CEO Scott Faris said: “Building this centre will attract new opportunities to Victoria and bring the expertise needed to leverage quantum technology to its fullest extent.”

Faris was appointed to lead ColdQuanta in 2021, when the company was led by Zayo founder Dan Caruso. ColdQuanta, which began at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has science teams working on a quantum computer in Oxford in the UK, as well as Madison, Wisconsin, and Boulder, Colorado, Caruso said in an interview with Capacity published in May 2021.