One month ago, the European Commission presented its "European Cloud Initiative – Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe" Communication, as part of the package of measures for Digitising European Industry. In this Communication and in the accompanying Staff Working Document on Quantum Technology, the Commission proposed to launch an ambitious, long-term and large-scale flagship initiative to ensure that Europe stays at the forefront of developments in Quantum Technologies and has a leading role in its future exploitation.
I welcome the fact that the Quantum Manifesto, handed over today to Commissioner Oettinger and Minister Kamp at the "Quantum Europe: a New Era of Technology" event, has been endorsed by more than 3400 individuals from academia, industry and governmental/funding institutions, showing a strong support from the community for an ambitious European initiative in quantum technologies.
This quantum flagship initiative cannot be 'more science as usual'. It has to make a difference for Europe and for European industry and the next steps are essential in this context.
So what are these next steps?
- Later this month, we expect that the Council conclusions on the Digitising European Industry package will welcome the preparation of a Quantum Technology Flagship (Competitiveness Council, 26-27 May).
- June 2016 – November 2016: Start of the Flagship preparatory phase, overseen by an independent High Level Steering Committee appointed by the Commission. It should deliver a Strategic Research Agenda, an Implementation model and a governance model for the future flagship. It should include a more detailed plan for the initial ramp-up phase which should start in 2018. This High Level Steering Committee is expected to build upon an already well-structured community and on their existing roadmaps. It will consolidate contributions from relevant stakeholders from academia, industry and Member States. It should also capitalise on the lessons learned from the existing flagships.
- As of 2017: Preparation for the launch of the ramp-up phase project with the view of an actual start of its operation in 2018.
I am convinced that we need to act together at European level to turn our scientific successes in Quantum technologies into benefits for our industry and society and the Quantum Technology flagship is a unique opportunity to do so in Europe.