In 2018, the Quantum Technologies Flagship set sail. This was the start of what is expected to be a ten-year voyage supporting several thousand EU researchers as they explore the potential of quantum technologies. The Flagship recently reached the halfway point of its three-year ramp-up phase, an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved so far, and to set ambitious targets for the years ahead.

The Flagship funds projects in the areas of quantum computing, simulation, communication, and sensing and metrology, as well as the basic science behind quantum technologies. In addition, a coordination and support action runs the initiative. It works to raise the profile of quantum technologies in Europe generally. After a mere eighteen months, the Flagship projects have done a lot of excellent work and achieved many promising results. These results stretch from the discovery of new materials and proofs-of-concept to reaching higher levels of technology-readiness and the building of infrastructures.

Halfway through the ramp-up phase: time to acknowledge what has been achieved

Projects have, for example, designed quantum random number generators based on several different technologies; developed a proof-of-concept for building a scalable European quantum computer based on trapped ion technology and, following widespread industry standards, assembled a quantum computer demonstrator with 10 qubits; developed the next generation of atomic-based programmable quantum simulators (100 atoms in tweezer arrays, 50 ions in ion trap, 20 Rydberg atoms in arrays); made progress toward the next generation of extremely accurate integrated/compact optical quantum clocks; and achieved world record tune-ability of photon emitters for quantum communication. They bring us closer to being able to exploit the enormous potential of quantum technologies, in medecine, manufacturing, energy, security and a huge range of other fields. You can read more about the Flagship’s results so far in the mid-term review that is being published today.

As the review also shows, Flagship scientists have been active outside their laboratories. The 1400 or so researchers working on the projects have already attended more than 1000 conferences and workshops, while the projects themselves have organised events attended by more than 12,000 quantum experts.

The scientific results achieved by the projects have also been published in in over 500 articles, mostly in fully peer-reviewed journals. A number of these articles are the result of joint work between two or more projects. They reflect an impressive range of collaborations which are already underway, with more in the pipeline. Moreover, two thirds of the Flagship’s projects have filed at least one patent application so far, generating 60 applications altogether, and 16 patents have already been granted.

Reaching a world-leading European quantum technology ecosystem by 2030

Working together to find solutions to major science and technology challenges that will have a real impact on our economy and society is what the Flagship model is all about. The Flagship is on the way to achieving its wider objective: to expand and unite Europe’s quantum community, laying the groundwork for a world-leading European quantum technology ecosystem by 2030.

The Strategic Advisory Board: steering the Flagship and setting ambitious KPIs

The Flagship’s progress towards this objective is supported and guided by its Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) The SAB brings together leading quantum experts to devise targets for the Flagship to meet now and in the next few years, when its funding will continue under Horizon Europe. These targets are set out in a new Key Performance Indicators (KPI) document that has just been published. It covers the Flagship’s core research domains, but also broader areas like education, training, and diversity and equity. It reflects the need to ensure that our quantum technology community is as inclusive as possible, and is ready to support the next generation of quantum specialists. The KPIs complement the Flagship’s Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). The latest version of the SRA was published in March this year, and contains a roadmap for the Flagship’s activities over the next seven years.

We are both very pleased with the successes of the Flagship so far. Everything is in place for these successes to continue, and for the Flagship to achieve its goals. It is already clear that Europe’s future is quantum. Now that future must become a reality.

Related documents

Quantum Technologies Flagship mid-term review

Quantum technologies Flagship Key Performance Indicators