The UK government's National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) has signed an agreement with IBM for the latter to give quantum computing access to UK organizations.

The agreement will see UK-based academics, researchers, and public sector organizations able to access via the cloud IBM Quantum's Premium Plan including its fleet of quantum computers.

IBM Quantum Computer
– Sebastian Moss

IBM Quantum provides access to processors with more than 100 qubits.

“Providing quantum computing access is an important step in contributing towards the national effort,” NQCC director, Dr Michael Cuthbert said. “The agreement with IBM will enable the NQCC to provide utility-scale quantum computing resources for the UK’s vibrant research community, which will open up new avenues of fundamental and applied research, with the prospect of boosting the development of novel technologies and drive new discoveries.”

In March 2023, the UK's Department for Science, Innovation and Technology announced a new "National Quantum Strategy," detailing plans to invest £2.5 billion ($3.1bn) over the next decade.

The NQCC, a co-sponsored program by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) aims to make the UK "quantum-ready" and to solve complex problems facing UK society. The NQCC is headquartered at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory site at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.

The STFC has another long-term partnership with IBM: the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation program, which uses high-performance computing, quantum computing, AI, and data science for challenges in engineering, materials development, life sciences, energy, and the environment.

IBM is currently developing quantum computers at a variety of academic locations globally, including New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Ikerbasque campus in Spain.