The UK government has announced a £45 million ($57m) funding package to accelerate the use of quantum technology across a number of sectors, including healthcare, energy, and transport.

Quantum technologies have been identified as one of five critical technologies set out by the UK government in its UK Science and Technology Framework. Artificial intelligence, engineering biology, future telecommunications, and semiconductors make up the rest of the list.

The funding is two-fold, with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Technology Missions Fund and the UK’s National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) putting forward a £30 million ($38m) investment into a competition for the development and delivery of quantum computing testbeds.

A quantum testbed provides a controlled environment where scientists and engineers can manipulate and study qubits.

Seven NQCC testbeds have been set up across the country: three in London hosted by Ocra Computing, Rigetti UK, and Quantum Motion; one in Oxford hosted by Oxford Ionics; one in Warwick hosted by Cold Quanta UK; one in Exeter hosted by QuEra UK; and one in Sheffield hosted by Aegiq.

The additional £15m ($19m) will come from the Quantum Catalyst Fund to “accelerate use of quantum in government” by inviting organizations to put forward projects that provide use cases for quantum technology in both the private and public sector. It will be funded by the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology and delivered by Innovate UK, with winners set to receive funding from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) fund to build physical prototypes.

The six Quantum Catalyst Fund finalists are Quantinuum, MoniRail, Cerca Magnetics, Delta g, Q-CTRL UK, and Phasecraft.

“As we steer towards an economy benefitting from quantum, this further £45 million in funding underscores our commitment to support bright UK innovators who are pushing boundaries and seizing the potential of this technology to transform our public services,” said science minister Andrew Griffith.

He added: “The UK is already one global leader in quantum and to maintain that position this government will continue to invest in this transformational technology propelling the UK into a new era of technological prowess and economic growth.”

Last year, the UK government outlined its five "Quantum Missions" it wanted to achieve over the next decade. Set out during the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement for Growth, the missions provide milestones for investment and research that will secure what the government called the UK’s “status as a world leader in the technology.”

Backed by a £2.5 billion ($3.13bn) Quantum Strategy fund, the government expects every NHS Trust to use quantum sensing-enabled solutions, alongside the deployment of quantum navigation systems on aircraft and mobile networked quantum sensors by 2030.

The final two missions have a deadline of 2035 and will see quantum computers capable of running one trillion operations, in addition to the deployment of an advanced quantum network that will enable the future Quantum Internet.