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Quantum tech: The next global race to the top?

A private Science|Business online expert roundtable (15:30 – 17:00 CET)

Who needs a quantum computer?  Arguably, nobody does – unless someone else has got one. Driven by the promise of a new technology that could benefit all of society, but also the fear of falling behind strategic rivals, nations around the world are investing heavily in the field. When it comes to quantum tech, no-one wants to miss out – and that desire is triggering a kind of global arms race.

Across Europe, quantum’s importance has been underlined by a recent wave of new initiatives and spending pledges by member-states – not to mention the tensions over access to the EU’s future R&D programmes, and related delays to Horizon Europe. What is clear, however, is that the EU is trying to move fast to try and develop its capabilities – through the Quantum Flagship Project, Digital Europe and more – as other leading R&D nations scale up their own investments.

All of which raises a number of vital questions for policy makers, companies and researchers to answer going forward: why has quantum become such a sensitive political area, when cross-border cooperation with allies and neighbours has long existed? What are the areas that Europe should prioritise to build a world-leading technology and science base, and how might that be achieved? Can a strong pan-EU quantum network be built around multiple national initiatives? And with whom should Europe be pursuing international alliances to achieve its strategic goals? 

On July 6, the Science|Business Network will convene influential voices and experts from across the quantum tech spectrum to debate these issues and explore the ways forward.


Featured guests
Pascal Maillot
Deputy Head of Unit, High Performance Computing and Quantum Technology, DG CONNECT, European Commission
Inés De Vega
Head of Quantum Innovations, IQM
Kai Bongs
College Director of Innovation, University of Birmingham & Principal Investigator, UK Quantum Hub
Eleni Diamanti
CNRS Research Director at Sorbonne University
Nadav Katz
Director, Quantum Coherence Laboratory, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Daniel Adams
Chief Director, Basic Infrastructure and Technology, Department of Science and Innovation, Govt of South Africa
Yasunobu Nakamura
Director, RIKEN Center for Quantum Computing (RQC), RIKEN
Peter Knight
Chair, UK National Quantum Technology Programme Strategic Advisory Board, UKRI
Jérôme Béquignon
Senior Adviser, European Space Agency
Mikael Johansson
Strategist, Quantum Technologies, CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd
Elisa Ercolessi
Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics, Models and Mathematical Methods , University of Bologna
Fabrizio Gagliardi
Member, ACM Europe Technology Policy Council
Myungshik Kim
Professor & Chair in Theoretical Quantum Information Sciences, Imperial College London
Marten Teitsma
Professor of Applied Quantum Computing, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Christian Degen
Full Professor and Principal Investigator, Spin Physics Group, ETH Zurich
Jingyue Li
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Sachin Kinge
Senior Manager, Toyota Motor Europe
Torsten Siebert
Chief Scientific Advisor, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Bram Peeters
Chief Network Operations Officer, GEANT
Tomas Jakimavicius
Director, European Government Affairs, Microsoft


15:30 – Welcome & introduction

Opening remarks from Maryline Fiaschi, Managing Director, Science|Business

15:35 – Raised stakes: Why is it so hard to align policy and politics in quantum tech?

A discussion seeking to understand why quantum research and development has drawn so much attention in recent months – becoming a lightning rod in the “strategic autonomy” debate, delaying the launch of Horizon Europe, and affecting the association of third countries to the programme. How does the EU’s approach stand up in relation to other quantum programmes around the world, including its own member states? How open are they? What does this mean in terms of cross-border collaboration for quantum companies, institutes and scientists? Which safeguards could underpin a future framework for international collaboration to enhance quantum innovation, away from politics? 

With introductory remarks by:

  • Pascal Maillot, Deputy Head of Unit, High Performance Computing and Quantum Technology, DG CONNECT, European Commission
  • Peter Knight, Chair, UK National Quantum Technology Programme Strategic Advisory Board, UKRI
  • Daniel Adams, Chief Director, Basic Sciences and Infrastructure, Department of Science and Innovation, Government of South Africa

16:15 – Game changer: Is the world prepared for a quantum future?

A technology-oriented discussion around the next breakthroughs in quantum research, their prospective impact on economies and societies, and the biggest challenges (e.g., cryptography) to be resolved for Europe and the world to be “quantum ready”. Is a marriage between high performance computing and quantum computing possible? From an operations point of view, what should be the priority investment areas? What is required to democratise access to the technology so that it does not remain the property of tech giants? And finally, is Europe already lagging behind in the quantum global race?  

With introductory remarks from:

  • A lab perspective: Yasunobu Nakamura, Director, Centre for Quantum Computing, RIKEN Institute (Japan)
  • A company perspective: Inés de Vega, Head of Quantum Innovation, IQM Finland
  • A network perspective: Bram Peeters, Chief Network Operations Officer, GEANT

17:00 – Close of event



For more information on this event, please contact Sara Crepaldi at [email protected]