The results of the first three years of the Quantum Technology Flagship, the European Commission’s initiative to develop projects and know-how on quantum technologies and science have been published, and Europe’s positioning is now at the forefront of quantum discovery.
From 2018 to 2022, the ramp-up phase, 24 projects across 31 European countries in the fields of quantum communications, computing, simulation, sensing and metrology, and basic quantum science have been supported. For both the Flagship and QuantERA, which supports quantum research across 31 European countries, the EU has funded quantum research with over €175 million since 2016.
The ramp-up phase also saw significant steps towards bringing quantum research from the laboratory to commercial applications: 25 start-up companies have been founded, including quantum-computing start-ups, and 105 patents have been filed, with 64 of those already granted.
The achievements of these projects include, for example, world records in quantum communication, thus laying the groundwork for secure, faster-than-light information exchanges in the future, and demonstrations of quantum-powered imaging that will be thousands of times more accurate than now. As such, they show the potential of quantum technologies, for instance, to make faster and more accurate diagnoses and track the effects of medical treatments at a molecular level thus giving doctors new valuable insights; or providing transfers of sensitive information with very strong protection from hacking attempts, enabling the secure transmission of data such as medical records, financial transactions, and high-level communications between governments, in line with applicable rules in place.
The achievements in the projects funded in the first ramp-up phase of the Quantum Technologies Flagship were the result of the collaborative efforts of 1,654 scientists and 236 organisations participating in the Flagship, who have published 1,313 scientific papers (with a further 223 under review).
In addition to reviewing the successful results of the Flagship’s quantum research projects, the report takes stock of key lessons learned, as the Flagship’s next phase gets underway.
The Flagship will be key to achieving the goals set out in the Commission Communication “2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade”: by 2030, the EU should be at the cutting edge of quantum capabilities. The Commission will continue to support the Flagship in the period 2021-2027 with funding of at least €500 million under the Horizon Europe programme.