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Europe's Quantum Flagship presents Strategic Research Agenda to EC

06 Mar 2020

And 24 EU Member States are collaborating to develop quantum communications infrastructure across the continent.

Europe’s Quantum Flagship members of the Strategic Advisory Board, in a ceremony on Tuesday, March 3rd, presented their Strategic Research Agenda document to the European Commission.

The SRA document reviews the vision and goals for the Quantum Flagship in photonics-intensive quantum technologies research, innovation and development, giving insights and expected outcomes of the initiative.

Chair of the Flagship’s Strategic Advisory Board, Prof. Jürgen Mlynek gave the SRA to Dr. Roberto Viola, Director-General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology of the European Commission (DG CONNECT).

The document compiles and sets the goals for the Quantum Flagship in quantum technologies research, innovation and development over the next three years, with a longer outlook for six to ten years.

Dr. Viola commented, "Quantum is a highly strategic area for Europe. We need to master it, both to deliver life-changing benefits for European citizens in fields such as health, energy and cybersecurity, and to secure our technological sovereignty in this competitive field. The SRA is crucial to shaping European quantum researchers' work over the next few years, and it will also inform the wide-ranging European strategy in quantum technologies, which the Commission is currently preparing."

Prof. Mlynek also highlighted that "the presentation of this key document to the European Commission signifies a great achievement for the entire quantum community. Its completion has been possible thanks to the effort of more than 2000 quantum experts across Europe who have been consulted in an open and transparent process over the last 18 months to put together a document that represents the research and innovation that is taking place in Europe in this field".

SRA details

The SRA document includes the research, innovation, achievements and expected goals established for the near, mid and long-term future around four major applied areas in the quantum field: communications, computing, simulation, and sensing & metrology.

These application domains are anchored on basic science, to support the applied areas with novel ideas, tools, methods and processes. All of these are also supported by cross-cutting modes and functions covering: engineering and control, software and theory, education and training, further complemented by innovation and international cooperation plus gender equality.

The SAB was established by the European Commission as a supervising entity that provides advice for strategic decision-making for the Quantum Technology Flagship, with a long-term impact across the whole initiative.

Its main mission is to set the overall future goals that the Flagship would like to achieve, establish key performance indicators, set and determine benchmarks for international cooperation, assess how the involvement of the private sector and the start-ups should occur and advice on standardization and regulation, among others.

Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark and Romania join quantum communications project

The four EU Member States have agreed to work with 20 others on the development of a quantum communication infrastructure (QCI) across Europe. The purpose of the QCI will be to boost European capabilities in quantum technologies, cybersecurity and industrial competitiveness.

Planned to be developed within the next ten years, a European QCI would ultimately link sensitive public and private communication assets across the EU, including its outermost regions, to develop a secure communication shield based on quantum technologies.

The stated aim is "to protect national and cross-border critical infrastructures, sensitive communications, financial transactions and will ensure the long-term storage of sensitive data in areas such as healthcare and national security." Other major regions of the world are already investing in similar infrastructure.

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, said, "This project is critical to the EU’s technological sovereignty; it will prepare the next generation of communications security with quantum-safe encryption, building on quantum entanglement properties. Such European cooperation will be essential for the EU to be able to lead the way as a global competitor in the field of quantum communciations."

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