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The path forward for consolidating the commercialisation of Quantum Technologies in Europe

QuIC Executive Director, Dr. Thierry Botter writes about fostering collaboration in Europe alongside his presentation in techUK's International Collaboration Webinar. Part of techUK's Quantum Week. #QuantumFuture

Many companies are striving to develop quantum solutions capable of addressing existing and future problems that are impossible to solve using traditional means. Each has its own team of experts and business leaders, its own know-how and capabilities, and its own ambition to become a major force in the industry of tomorrow. But all share a common set of challenges that need to be overcome in order for this technology revolution to fully take hold.

Since the start of the Quantum Technology Flagship in 2018, more attention has been given at bridging the valley of death that separate the scientific research and the actual market. The support from this programme in combination with each national effort has allowed to move many of the potentially disruptive innovations up the Technologies Readiness Level scale. In spite of these, the level of commercialisation of QT in Europe is lacking in comparison to the US, and China. Indeed, the commercialisation of quantum technologies requires success on many fronts beyond the technologies themselves. Examples include a sustained demand for quantum solutions, a skilled and broad workforce, a reliable supply chain of parts and services, industry-wide standards, and a favourable environment to export and import quantum capabilities. Commercial success does not merely rest on the shoulders of each company pursuing quantum solutions. And yet it cannot be solely guided by the policy makers; it is a collective undertaking and the involvement of the companies that are fighting to bridge the commercialisation gap is essential, since no one better then them can identify the issues that need to be addressed. The European Quantum Industry Consortium (QuIC) unites these forces to achieve commercial success for the entire industry, by allowing the industry to identify the problem that hinder the commercialisation of QT.

QuIC is Europe’s largest and most influential non-profit association dedicated to establishing a thriving commercial quantum ecosystem. It brings together a large array of stakeholders, including large companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), startups, investors, research and technology organisations (RTOs), and others, to collaborate on topics of common interest. From a group of 14 founding members earlier this year, QuIC continues to grow and is today composed of more than 135 members from across the European continent, including Norway, the UK, Switzerland and Israel. Its members collectively span the broad landscape of quantum solutions – computing, communication, sensing and metrology, and enabling technologies – and have a combined public and private value in the trillions of euros.

QuIC, through its working groups (WG), aims at identifying the solutions needed to address the commercialisation problems that affect the European market. For instance, one of the first outputs with a direct impact on the status of the QT commercialisation will be the Strategic Industry Roadmap, which QuIC will share with the European Commission in the next months. This document will lay a clear path for the industry as a whole and will be crucial at identify all the current and future bottlenecks. Another working group focuses on the creation of a QT ecosystem with the aim of connecting start-ups and SMES to Venture capital. Also, the lack of standardisation could be a limiting factor for reacting the full potential of the European market: QuIC members define their needs and collaborate with standardisation bodies and policy makers.

There are of course other topics which are vital to the success of the QT, such as the creation of a quantum-aware workforce and an adequate IP protection, which are also addressed by QuIC working groups.

QuIC also works together with international associations and like-minded industry groups from other regions of the world to address common hurdles and create a favourable environment for these new commercial realisations to thrive and serve as a positive force for societies.

For quantum solutions to become a durable part of our technological future, achievements beyond the early demonstrations of ‘quantum advantage’ over classical means is necessary. An entirely new business environment needs to be established. QuIC serves as a collaborative hub to help create and mold such a fruitful quantum landscape.

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