Europe is at the global forefront in the development of quantum technology. To strengthen this position, the European Union has granted a 19 million euros Specific Grant agreement (SGA) funding to upgrade the existing European micro, nano and quantum technology infrastructures and respond to a growing demand of pilot fabrication services by quantum technology companies. The initiative includes 24 member organisations from nine European countries, and it is led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT's share of the project's funding is 3.8 million euros.
Quantum technology is one of the key development areas of the European Union. To further enhance and expedite the commercialisation of quantum technology, it is important that European companies have a faster lab-to-market path with optimal technology and product development capabilities. Upgrading the existing micro, nano and quantum technology infrastructures in Europe will support this goal. The new initiative, Qu-Pilot, will facilitate this development by offering companies a direct path to design, develop and validate their hardware products and processes on a pilot-scale. This, in turn, will accelerate the commercialisation of these products.
The European consortium, led by VTT, involves 24 organizations, including both RTO’s and private companies from nine countries. The role of private companies is to be the first use cases of the services, which will also help aligning the upgrade with the needs of companies. Further use-cases with more companies are envisioned within the duration of the project.
“VTT is privileged to lead such a significant project, which will improve European competitiveness. This project is a natural continuation of the of the microelectronics and quantum technology development that VTT and Finland have done and achieved over the decades. It positions us to work with our European partners to make Quantum technology a European success story”, says VTT’s Research Manager Pekka Pursula.
European partnership and funding
The Qu-Pilot SGA is part of a broader Framework Partnership agreement (FPA), which was approved earlier this year by the European Union. The FPA aims to set the roadmap and framework for development of European pilot production capabilities in quantum technologies. There are multiple SGAs planned within the FPA for funding the actual work based on the roadmap. Qu-Pilot is the first SGA with 19 million Euros of approved funding. This will allow the consortium to work on the quantum technology infrastructure development for the next three and a half years. Based on the success of the work, there is a possibility for another SGA with similar funding.
“Significant amount of public money has been invested to develop the existing European infrastructures and it is important to utilise it for the benefit of the European companies and for creating value for the European society. We have a long journey ahead and a lot of work must be done. The FPA and the first SGA are expected to start on March 1st. We already have more than 10 companies involved in the initiative as potential use-cases, and we hope to serve an even wider community through this project. We welcome all companies developing quantum technology hardware products and processes and in need of piloting to contact us to discuss possibilities for cooperation”, says Himadri Majumdar, VTT’s Programme Manager in Quantum technologies and coordinator of the Qu-Pilot FPA and SGA.
The consortium involves 9 countries: Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, Italy, Spain and Czech Republic. The number of organisations is 24, including 11 research and technology organisations, 11 technology companies and 2 non-technology companies.