Policy, industry and science representatives discussed the connection between quantum technology and the upcoming Chips Act at the European Innovation Area Summit on Tuesday (28 June) in Brussels, an event under the patronage of the European Parliament.
“While for semiconductors, the EU is lagging behind so much already”, the EU should invest in the next technologies, such as semiconductor quantum computing, an area “where the EU is actually a leader”, said Tom Berendsen, Dutch MEP and member of the file’s leading European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
Although the Chips Act also aims to make the EU competitive in semiconductor supply chains, the main driving force is to become “strategically autonomous”, Berendsen added.
“We will never have the same money as in the US or in Asia, but we have the cooperation,” Berendsen said, explaining that cooperation among member states will be an important asset in achieving this goal.
While the EU is leading research on semiconductor quantum computing, it is not yet in the application state, according to Menno Veldhorst, team leader at the quantum research institute QuTech.
In order to move forward, further research, as well as an upscaling of production, is needed, the experts agreed, toward which goal increased investments and pilot lines via the Chips Act will be crucial.
Different types of quantum physics have different issues and also varying solutions, said Kristiaan De Greve, professor and scientific director and program director quantum computing at IMEC.
While for quantum computing, upscaling and noise control could be achieved via foundries, quantum communication and quantum sensing’s cost, mass-deployment and market adoption could be bridged via pilot lines as they are growth enablers, he argued.
Maud Vinet, Quantum hardware program director at the research institute CEA-LETI, said that while collaborations among research and technology organisations (RTOs) are already happening, they should be further fostered.
De Greve explained that this is because “collaborations are important to avoid wasteful duplications.”
While the EU Chips Act very much focuses on innovation and capacity building, experts also emphasised that already existing infrastructure should not be left behind and that first, capability building should be tackled before just increasing capacities.
The issue of attracting new talent was also addressed. “We should start with the young people in order to build and foster the ecosystem, i.e. with the universities and start-ups,” Somya Gupta, Lead, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at QuTech, added.