What is the NQCI?

SQA has been funded by the Australian Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) to manage the National Quantum Collaboration Initiative (NQCI), a core component of Theme 3 of Australia’s National Quantum Strategy. Since August 2023, SQA and an expert team from Nous Group have been leading the NQCI, exploring how to best support the development of a future diverse workforce and create a pipeline of quantum skills. A report on the outcomes of the NQCI was delivered to the Federal Government in April 2024.

Why is the NQCI needed?

While Australia is a recognised leader in quantum technologies, delivering the more than 19,000 people estimated to be needed in the quantum workforce by 2045 will require a rapid and sustained increase in the number and type of people undertaking quantum education and training.

The opportunity offered by quantum technologies is immense. In 2022, the CSIRO estimated that commercialising quantum technologies could generate nearly $6 billion in annual revenues and create 19,400 jobs in Australia by 2045. A November 2023 analysis suggests the opportunity may be substantially higher, with estimates for future jobs in 2040 potentially as high as 115,000.

While Australia is a recognised leader in quantum technologies – with strong levels of research expertise, a nucleus of respected global thought leaders, and universities with accomplished training programs – delivering the required quantum workforce will involve a rapid and sustained increase in quantum education and training.

The consultation process

The NQCI involved lengthy consultations with more than 200 stakeholders – in academia, industry, and government – via workshops, interviews and surveys.

It found that opportunities to further drive engagement between industry and academia, enticing students into the field and helping create a thriving entrepreneurial community will be needed, and some options have been explored. A need was also identified to boost the number of students undertaking study in quantum at undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD levels, with a special focus on increasing the diversity of any future quantum workforce. Doing so effectively and sustainably will require collaboration across government, industry and academia – and to this end, the enthusiasm and support received from participants to date was welcomed.

A proposal was submitted to the Federal Government for consideration in April 2024 which outlined the need for a nationally networked body that connects and facilitates efforts across the ecosystem to boost Australia’s quantum talent pipeline. If you would like further information please contact the NQCI team at nqci.project@sydney.edu.au.

people meeting around a table