Networking for the next quantum technology leap


Where next for quantum technologies? About 50 participants will gather for the day-long workshop at the Copernicus Science Centre to identify where they can share resources, take advantage of funding opportunities, avoid duplicate research and turn results into new products.

Partnership for innovation

COST has also invited representatives from 15 COST Actions to contribute their experience of the achievements possible from networking for research.

For example, the COST Action ‘ Thermodynamics in the quantum regime ’ has established a better scientific understanding of how nanoscale engines or cooling technology might work. Its results have reached the popular technology press, with a recent article in Wired magazine highlighting Action participants and the scientific interest of its work.

Another participating Action, ‘ Nanoscale Quantum Optics’, is working on photonic technologies with applications in computing, sensing instruments and energy-efficiency. Results with potential for quantum computing headlined the December 2017 edition of Applied Physics Letter (Photonics) in a paper by Action grantee Tobias Heindel and other contributors. Other advances made through the network have commercial potential, set out by Action members in a market roadmap.

Publication success has also rewarded the ‘ XUV/X-ray light and fast ions for ultrafast chemistry (XLIC) ’ network, made up of 150 organisations. Its researchers have developed a theory that describes how molecules interact with light waves in the x-ray part of the light spectrum or with high-energy ions to help produce computer code for chemistry research. Of the Action’s 111 publications – many widely cited – 46 were in journals with impacts indexes greater than 10. The network also funded a record 122 short-term scientific missions, deepening potential long-term collaboration.

Finally ‘ Quantum Technologies in Space ’ is another network worth highlighting, because it is increasing scientists’ understanding of how the laws of physics work in space and counts with the European Space Agency in its management committee. Started in October 2016, the Action promises a fresh view on the fundamental mechanisms of physics.

Why is quantum so relevant?

Given the huge potential benefits for society of quantum technology, many influential organisations, including the European Commission, already have ambitious proposals to address these challenges. Building and operating Europe’s first quantum computer is proposed as a possible post-2020 objective in the Commission’s Lamy report on maximising impacts from EU research and innovation funds.

More concretely, a research agenda, calls and coordination and support action (CSA) have been launched for quantum technologies under the EU’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship research programme. In terms of information technology, an EU call to build a Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) testbed for innovative data security technology will open later this year.

The next stage of research development can only be achieved through greater levels of cooperation. The workshop will be an opportunity to identify synergies with other EU-funded activities and identify possible partnerships for the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

Although the event is by invitation only, it will be possible to follow the day’s events on Twitter through #COSTConnect. A news story and harvest document will also be made available online.