Building the French ecosystem for quantum technologies
Building the French ecosystem for quantum technologies needs to address the following:
- Explicitly supporting research and innovation efforts along the entire spectrum from basic research to industrialization. It is far too soon to determine which platforms will lead to large-scale industrialization in many fields, such as quantum computing or quantum communications. Not being ambitious in supporting basic research, which paves the way for future technological revolutions, would equate to denying oneself a future in these strategic areas.
- Encouraging early and sustained interactions between basic research and industry, via local activity hubs. Business and academia often operate in separate spheres, that don’t align easily. Relying on local ecosystems that bring together research capabilities, as well as key industry players, is probably the best way to achieve continuity in research, innovation and industrialization and to promote gateways between the two worlds.
- Organizing the French ecosystem, based on existing strengths. An organization similar to that of European Flagships, where all topics are covered, but unequally, would not permit optimal leverage of our strengths. This topic-based approach could also be detrimental to the more fundamental aspects of research, as these become sidelined. In addition, it would be more difficult to rely on existing or emerging ecosystems between higher education institutions and companies.
- Addressing the challenges that lie at the interface of physics, engineering, mathematics and information technology. National research and development efforts have long been driven by physicists and, more recently, by technologists. It is essential that organizations tackle the challenges now emerging at the interface of several disciplines, such as quantum algorithms and quantum engineering. Here too, interdisciplinary hubs are likely to provide the optimal conditions for addressing these challenges. They will draw on partnerships with companies who come with problems that need solving and with use cases.
- Making appropriate training resources available for these key issues. Conversations with industry executives reveal the increasingly pressing need for training, to provide input to both academia and business on these interdisciplinary issues. Dynamic, local quantum centers would also make it possible to implement these new training programs, within a continuum of higher education, research and innovation.
Paris-Saclay is a leading location in France and the University is fully equipped to meet international competition in quantum technologies.