Understanding quantum readiness across Australian industry sectors
Project Duration: July 2023 – June 2025
As the research and development of quantum technologies continues apace, this project aims to assess the preparedness of Australian industries to adopt and use those technologies.
A key challenge facing major industries is knowing when and how to prepare for the implementation of quantum technologies. This especially relates to applications from quantum computing and communications technologies, which are predicted to have significant societal impact and may be realised sooner rather than later. From raising awareness, to increasing capabilities in the workforce, there are risks associated with starting preparation for our quantum future too late – or too soon.
Beginning preparations too soon may risk a ‘quantum winter’. In this scenario, support and investment lose momentum due to a perceived lack of immediacy. And as with any new technology, prolonged ambiguity around how it works and where it is to be implemented can generate ‘harmful hype’ potentially resulting in misinformation, setbacks, and decreased public trust.
Starting preparations too late carries implications for all quantum technologies. But at the forefront are quantum computing and quantum communications, with their potential impacts on cybersecurity, especially in sectors holding sensitive encrypted data. While quantum computers are capable of weakening cryptography in orders of magnitude faster than conventional computers, developments in post-quantum cryptography aim to support safe exchange of information using quantum-resistant cryptography.
There are measures organisations and institutions can take to safeguard data against potential future cybersecurity attacks using quantum technologies. But such measures require investment, planning, and awareness-raising ahead of time. That’s why it’s critical to assess the current state of quantum preparedness in key sectors across Australia.
Through a collaborative research project, CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform, together with the Quantum Technologies Future Science Platform and Data 61 will explore the concept of ‘quantum readiness’ in Australia’s key industry sectors.
With CSIRO at the forefront of responsible innovation in relation to quantum technologies, this project will assess industry preparedness by engaging with key stakeholders across Australia’s quantum ecosystem. The research will assess and prioritise sectors most at risk of disruption from quantum technologies.
By engaging with stakeholders now, before quantum technologies are realised and integrated in industries and society, there is the opportunity to work together to build the quantum future that achieves optimal outcomes and serves the needs of Australian society.
To work towards this goal, this project will assess (i) the overall state of preparedness of organisations in key industry sectors to effectively utilise and leverage quantum technologies; and (ii) the level of quantum cyber readiness that organisations possess to address the cybersecurity risks and challenges associated with quantum computing will also be examined.
In the National Quantum Strategy, the Australian Government has stated a commitment to ensuring that the growth of Australia’s quantum ecosystem supports economic prosperity while safeguarding national wellbeing.
This project seeks to contribute toward this outcome, by informing key industry sectors that are instrumental to the implementation and use of quantum technologies. By engaging in dialogue about the implementation and impact of quantum technology, this project aims to contribute to a responsible and safe quantum ecosystem in Australia.
This research will also inform the development of future dialogue with the public, by investigating where gaps in knowledge, awareness, and preparedness exist and signposting them for further study.