Quantum technology and science are key components in future data and information processing, and in application areas with significant economic potential such as communications and materials. The federal government will invest in a variety of measures in this area of research from 2023 on, and the Swiss Quantum Initiative will play a central role in these efforts. The measures are designed to secure the prominent position of Switzerland in quantum technology and science and enhance international networking. Based on a mandate from the federal government, the initiative will be coordinated by the Swiss Quantum Commission of the Swiss Academy of Sciences.
"Many countries recognise the potential of quantum technology and are investing heavily in this field. The Swiss Quantum Initiative should enhance investment in universities and businesses, enabling Switzerland to maintain its leading position in quantum research," says Nicolas Gisin, President of the Swiss Quantum Commission. The Commission will design several calls for research projects, undertaken in cooperation with the Swiss National Science Foundation. Furthermore the aim is to create platforms for an exchange of knowledge and technology, develop attractive study programmes and other measures to promote specialists and build international partnerships. The initiative supports and connects both basic research and applied research and development. "We also want to develop proposals that demonstrate how Switzerland can encourage start-ups in quantum technology more effectively. Europe is much more active than Switzerland in this a respect," says Gisin.
CHF 10 million is available for the Swiss Quantum Initiative in 2023 and 2024, and an additional mid double-digit million figure should be pledged in the coming years of 2025–2028. The Swiss Federal Council will request this funding from parliament in the context of its dispatch on the promotion of education, research and innovation. The Federal Council launched the Swiss Quantum Initiative as one of a range of so-called complementary measures because Switzerland is currently not associated with Horizon Europe, the EU framework programme for research and innovation funding. However, the initiative will not depend on the future association status of Switzerland with Horizon Europe.
Switzerland is promoting quantum research and technology through a variety of measures, as evident in the signing of a joint declaration by Switzerland and the United States in October 2022 on strengthening cooperation in this area. The federal government and universities are also investing in quantum technology on a national level through a focus on different National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs). Currently the NCCR "Spin Qubits in Silicon" is running.
Prof. Dr Nicolas Gisin
University of Geneva
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