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UNSW to offer world first bachelors degree in quantum engineering

UNSW Scientia Professor Andrea Morello has been the driving force behind the new UNSW Quantum undergraduate degree. Photo: UNSW

The Sydney-based University of New South Wales has introduced the world’s first undergraduate degree in quantum engineering, in response to a growing need for a workforce that can help Australia share in a multi-billion dollar industry. The new major will train a new generation of engineers to help build a $4 billion Australian quantum industry.

UNSW Scientia Professor Andrea Morello, has been the driving force behind the new degree. He said an undergraduate offering in quantum technology will be key to building a world-class quantum workforce in Australia.

“As it stands, there simply aren’t enough qualified engineers to fill the jobs needing quantum skills in Australia – or anywhere in the world, in fact,” Professor Morello said. “Quantum engineering is the microelectronic and microwave engineering of the 21st century. It is not science fiction: you can already buy quantum-dot TVs and quantum-enabled mobile phones in the shops, right now.

“Developing and applying the cutting-edge technologies in these fields demands a deep understanding of their quantum nature. Moreover, this understanding can also be used to develop devices and capabilities that have no precedent, like quantum computers and quantum secure telecommunications. This is why we created the new degree.”

The Bachelor of Quantum Engineering (Honours) will train students in advanced electronics and telecommunication engineering, specialising in how to design and control complex quantum systems. The degree will cover nanoelectronics, microwave engineering and quantum technologies for advanced sensors, secure communications and computing.

Quantum computing, sensing and communication technologies have powerful applications in many industries, including medicine, defence, financial services and natural resources.

In its recently released Quantum Technology Roadmap, CSIRO states that the quantum technology industry could be worth over $4 billion in revenue for Australia by 2040 and create 16,000 new jobs.

CSIRO’s Chief Scientist Cathy Foley said, “Quantum technology is set to transform electronics, communications, computation, sensing and other fields. Australian science has been breaking new ground in quantum technologies for almost three decades. To maintain this position of leadership and ensure we capture our share of this high tech, high value opportunity, it’s crucial that education providers expand their quantum offerings.”

The new stream will also be available as a dual Bachelor of Engineering (Quantum Engineering) / Bachelor of Advanced Science.nThe first undergraduate intake will be Term 3, 2020. Interested students can find out more on the UNSW Engineering website UNSW Engineering website.

Further developments in quantum education are also underway between UNSW and members of the Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA), a joint initiative with the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University to expand Australia’s quantum technology ecosystem. The initiative will coordinate educational programs with the aim of training a workforce for the new quantum economy.

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