Nowadays everybody is acquainted with quantum-based technologies. Probably you never thought of it this way, but without quantum mechanics there would be no transistor and no laser. Without these technologies of the first quantum revolution, computers and the Internet would be unthinkable. Meanwhile, physicists made another big step forward and routinely perform experiments in which single quantum bits of information are initialized, manipulated, and read out. This gives us the opportunity to produce disruptive technologies which are by far better than the existing ones in accuracy, sensitivity, safety and efficiency. With other words: the second quantum revolution.
This upcoming second wave of quantum technologies, while considered very promising from the high-tech industry, is also viewed as a high-risk endeavour. The main question is how one can bridge the “valley of death”. This is the gap between basic research at universities and government institutions on the one hand and applied research in the industry on the other hand and one of the main challenges when a new technology has to give birth to new products. When basic research on a new technology is finished, there is still a huge amount of early technology development necessary to eventually have a product. This is particularly true for quantum technologies. These early stages of technology development cost a lot of money before the resulting new product (or service) brings in revenue from customers. To bridge the gap, it is absolutely essential to have new models of cooperation between basic research at universities and applied research at the industry.
The Quantum Technologies European community, which counts more than 300 research groups and more than 70 start-ups, small and medium enterprises and industries, is in the position of developing Europe's capabilities in quantum technologies, placing it at the forefront of the unfolding second quantum revolution. The resulting transformative advances expected in science and industry will create new commercial opportunities addressing global challenges, provide strategic capabilities for security and seed as yet unimagined capabilities for the future. This will in turn lead to long-term economic and societal benefits, ultimately leading to a more sustainable, more productive, more entrepreneurial and more secure European Union.
As European citizens and members of the Quantum Technologies scientific and industrial community we look forward to the exciting times ahead of us, and we are committed to the huge responsibility of transforming the vision we just sketched into a plan, and that plan into a reality.