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Expert academic group appointed for 'flagship' European quantum project

08 Aug 2016

13 senior scientists make up high-level steering committee, chaired by Humboldt University’s Jürgen Mlynek.

The European Commission has selected a group of 13 academics to set priorities for the forthcoming flagship research effort focused on quantum technology.

Chaired by Humboldt University’s Jürgen Mlynek, an expert in nano-scale light-matter interaction, the high-level steering committee has a mandate for 12 months and is set for its first meeting in early September. An interim report is expected by the end of 2016, with a full-fledged plan anticipated a year from now.

Although industry is not represented directly among the high-level group at the moment, the European Commission says that it is “working on extending the group with representatives of industry”.

Familiar names from the optics and photonics community involved with the committee include Lluis Torner, the director of Barcelona’s Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), and Rainer Blatt from the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

Oxford University’s Ian Walmsley - one of the key figures involved in the UK’s own high-profile quantum technologies project and an expert in quantum entanglement and laser cooling of atoms – is also part of the committee, despite the recent Brexit vote.

The full list of academics is:

• Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek (Chair), Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
• Prof. Dr. Rainer Blatt, University of Innsbruck, Austria
• Prof. Dr. Vladimir Bužek, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
• Prof. Dr. Tommaso Calarco, University of Ulm, Germany
• Prof. Per Delsing, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
• Prof. Elisabeth Giacobino, CNRS, Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel, France
• Prof. Dr hab. Marek Kuś, Polish Academy of Sciences - Center for Theoretical Physics, Poland
• Prof. Eugene Simon Polzik, Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark
• Dr. Maria Luisa Rastello, National Institute of Metrological Research (INRIM), Italy
• Prof. Dr. ir. Wim Van Saarloos, The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO - Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter, Netherlands
• Prof. Dr. Lluis Torner, IFCO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Barcelona, Spain
• Prof. Ian Walmsley, University of Oxford - Department of Physics, UK

In addition, Maria Chiara Carrozza, from the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Trento, Italy, has been nominated to act as the committee's observer. She will ensure that links with the group in charge of the mid-term evaluation of the various ongoing flagship initiatives - which also include graphene and neuroscience - are maintained.

Last month Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said:

“The [high-level steering] group will work in an open and transparent way and together with the wider community of stakeholders from academia and industry, and in close collaboration with member states. It will propose a strategic research agenda with clear and ambitious goals, as well as an efficient approach to its implementation and governance.”

An intermediate report highlighting the overall approach for the flagship and the detailed priorities for the quantum technology flagship’s “ramp-up phase” is set to be delivered by the end of the year.

“It will serve as input to the preparation of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020,” Oettinger added. “We expect a final report addressing all aspects of the future flagship to be presented in one year’s time.”

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