Quantum Technologies in Canada – A Perspective by the Global Expert Mission Team

Global Expert Missions, led by Innovate UK KTN, play an important role in building strategic partnerships, providing deep insight into the opportunities for UK innovation and shaping future programmes. Following the agreement for closer collaboration signed between the UK and Canadian governments in September 2017, in March 2018, twelve of the leading experts in the UK quantum technology industry flew to Waterloo in Canada as part of Innovate UK’s Quantum Technologies Global Expert Mission.

Posted on: 23/01/2023


With underpinning experience in semiconductors, photonics and IT, Canada is positioning itself to be a global leader in quantum science and technology and its commercialisation and industrialisation. There is a feeling that this is a critical area for the future security, wellbeing and wealth of their nation – and one in which they can excel. The quantum technologies vision goes all the way to the Prime Minister.


Quantum Technologies in Canada

Organised in collaboration with UK-based representatives of the Canadian Government and led by Sir Peter Knight, UK delegates from industry, academia and government travelled to Ottawa, Waterloo and Vancouver, where they visited several quantum technology companies, universities and government agencies, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the National Research Council, the University of Ottawa, the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Create Destruction Lab and D-Wave.

Following the visit, Canadian stakeholders have been attending the annual UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase, and, five years on, the mission is still having a demonstrable impact. In November 2020, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and NSERC funded eight projects to foster quantum research collaborations between partners in the UK and Canada. The eight winning projects shared grants of £2 million from UKRI and CA$4.4 million from NSERC under the bilateral initiative. The competition resulted in the first industry-led partnership between any two countries to develop quantum technologies, paving the way for a new generation of quantum technologies with the potential to transform economies and societies.

In November 2022, a second collaborative research and development call was launched. Open until Wednesday 19 April 2023, UK registered businesses and Canadian SMEs can apply to collaborate on the development of quantum technologies and enable their commercial use cases. The total grant for all UK partners can be up to £450,000 for each application. NRC IRAP will provide a contribution of up to CA$500,000 to each eligible Canadian SME participating in the project.

We are delighted that the Global Expert Mission helped to cement the strong bilateral relationship in science and technology. The outcomes of the Mission will accelerate the development, scale up and commercialisation of quantum technologies, with the UK and Canada at the forefront.

I led the UK GEM Mission to Canada in 2018 which explored the commonalities and differences in our two nations’ approach to quantum technology. As a result, we developed a succession of joint collaborative calls bringing together innovative researchers and companies to explore novel quantum computing, quantum sensing and communications projects that laid the foundation for longer term engagement of mutual benefit. Lasting collaborative links were established not only between scientists and engineers but also with funding bodies from our two countries.

Prof. Sir Peter Knight, Chair – Strategic Advisory Board, ISCF Quantum


About Global Expert Missions

The Global Expert Missions (GEM) programme is funded by Innovate UK to support the Industrial Strategy’s ambition for the UK to be the international partner of choice for science and innovation. Led by Innovate UK KTN, GEMs play an important role in building strategic partnerships, providing deep insight into the opportunities for UK innovation and shaping future bilateral collaboration programmes.

Siân Summerton

Our Expert

Siân Summerton

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Related programme

Global Expert Missions

Global Expert Missions

Global Expert Missions (GEM) creates global opportunities for UK research and innovation by forging strategic partnerships with key countries and businesses.


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