This is a guest blog post by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, Humbold University, Chair of the expert group on Quantum Technology Flagship
By announcing the launch of a Quantum Technology (QT) Flagship, worth 1 billion € of EU and Member States investment, the European Commission recognised the window of opportunity for Europe and the potential of quantum technologies for digitising industry.
The Flagship is expected to turn Europe’s excellent research results in areas like quantum secure communication, quantum sensing and quantum simulation and computing into concrete technological opportunities that can be taken up by industry. This strategic European initiative can't be "research as usual": in order to have an impact, the Flagship has to be focused, with ambitious long-term objectives, and in synergy with national QT programmes.
The Commission Expert Group on Quantum Technology - High Level Steering Committee that I chair was established last summer with a mandate of one year. With 12 academic and 12 industry representatives' members, we collectively represent the diversity of stakeholders in Europe. Our mandate is to deliver recommendations to the EC on the strategic agenda, implementation and governance of the Flagship, with some preliminary recommendations in January.
Because we can't work in a closed group, we held a public workshop in Berlin to gather the community and hear the views of industries, SMEs, research institutes and organisations, on the agenda of the Flagship. Before the workshop, we also organised an online consultation in order to collect the community consensus about the possible structure and governance of the QT Flagship. The QT scientific roadmap, a living document from the QUTE Europe Coordination Action, is one of the existing key inputs. For me, it was fundamental to hear if there is a consensus within the community about it, and how to articulate it with industry perspectives.
I was pleased to see again the strong involvement of the community, as we received nearly 170 comments in the online consultation, and around 200 people joined us in Berlin. The workshop was the opportunity to stress again our openness, inclusiveness and participatory approach in designing recommendations for the EC, and to establish a feedback loop between the expert group and the community. The different panels (industry, scientific, cross-cutting challenges) presented the state-of-the-art in QT research and its applications, and allowed for more discussion. The fact that around of the forty companies present at the workshop, only four are making profit today from QT, clearly shows the need to boost applications from European excellent research, and the translation into commercial products.
Our next milestone, as expert group, is a first set of recommendations to the Commission, in January 2017, using all inputs received and gathered during the workshop. I would like to thank all of you for your active involvement and valuable feedback, which is now being further processed. We will maintain the feedback loop with the community by posting new results when available on QUROPE website, so stay tuned. Documents from our meetings are also available.