In our quest to accelerate the market adoption of quantum technologies, the Quantum Strategy Institute (QSI) looks at both enablers and hurdles businesses face in making these complex, forward looking decisions. For an industry that is on the verge of commercial expansion, this includes forming new industry consortiums, adding new working groups to existing consortiums, and forming an interactive industry relationship with the policy making governments.
In this series of papers under QSI’s Government and Consortium Relations pillar, we’ll explore the global landscape of these initiatives. This paper, second in the series, discusses the European QuIC, the European Quantum Industry Consortium.
Europe and Quantum
In 2018 the European Union (EU) launched a Quantum Flagship program, its most ambitious publicly funded R&D program to date. With at least 1 billion euros to be invested over 10 years, the flagship brings together research institutions, academia, industry, enterprises, and policy makers, in a joint and collaborative initiative “on an unprecedented scale”. This program is the equivalent of the National Quantum Initiative in the USA, equally launched in 2018 and allocating 1.25 billion US dollars for the first five years.
Unlike its American sister, the EU Quantum Flagship did not include a mandate for an industry consortium to be founded. Private companies would collaborate with each other, and with the academia under the research and innovation working groups. They could submit a proposal to Quantum Flagship’s innovation calls, or discover partners in the more than 5000 European researchers participating in the flagship.
European private companies felt this was not enough to advocate and grow European quantum businesses. In 2020 the industry took initiative and founded the European Quantum Industry Consortium, QuIC, to advocate for the specific needs of the industry.
QuIC operates as a non-profit, with all expenses covered by membership fees. QuIC does not receive any financial support from European taxpayers.
As explained by Enrique Lizaso, the Treasurer to the European Quantum Industry Consortium:
“The European Commission was very welcoming to the establishment of an independent industry consortium. Currently our membership – 21% large corporations, 59% small and medium sized enterprises and startups, and 20% academic or non-profit members – funds 100% of the costs. The European Commission does support its quantum industry indirectly through the Flagship calls, however.”
QuIC has been effective in coordinating European quantum companies around common goals. Equally, QuIC has undertaken a mission to communicate that quantum is not just a field of science, but a growing industry producing revenue and profits in private companies already now.
Membership in QuIC is not limited to companies headquartered in the European Union. The Membership is open to “any legal entity with quantum-related Research & Development and/or commercial activities, and with their headquarters (controlling entity/body) in the European Member States, the UK and the Candidate States and Associated Countries of the EU”.
How does QuIC work?
Following the well proven model of dividing work into selected objectives, responsibility for achieving these goals is given to working groups. QuIC currently operates nine working groups all led by one or several industry members.
|Market Trends & Use Cases||The “Market Trends & Use Cases” Working group engages in the active identification of market trends and use cases that are economically relevant to the European industry. These activities are designed to extend the reach of European QTs, offering ideas of new products and services to companies not yet active in the QT space and possibly expanding the portfolio of current QT players. Outputs from the “Market Trends & Use Cases” WG will help orient public funding programmes, inform the investment priorities of venture capital firms, and ultimately strengthen the European QT ecosystem.|
|Intellectual Property & Export Control||The “Intellectual Property & Export Control” working group seeks to understand the main challenges and identify solutions to improve the basin of patents and the creation of IP on quantum technologies and related fields in Europe. The group’s output is intended to support the creation of knowledge in Europe and help safeguard the intellectual property of European companies to ensure long-term economic benefits for the region.|
|Education||The “Education” working group seeks to address educational needs to enhance Europe’s workforce in the area of quantum technologies. Areas of focus include the identification of skills and gaps in Europe, the development of training for current professionals, and influencing educational bodies to best prepare the workforce of tomorrow on quantum technologies.|
|Standards||Standards are crucial ingredients to establish emerging markets and ecosystems in a durable manner. The “Standard” working group is the QuIC community forum that will produce the means to identify the needs and common alignments between QuIC members on standards across all quantum technology pillars. This WG will establish the channels of communication and synergistic activities on the identified needs and common viewpoints between the QuIC members and the Standardization Bodies and will create and interchange information for the benefit of its members and EU relevant bodies.|
|Market & Technology Intelligence||The “Market & Technology Intelligence” working group is the QuIC community forum to capture and track the status and progress of quantum technologies in Europe. Understanding the state of the art of Quantum Technologies is critical in identifying emerging markets and ecosystems in a durable manner. This WG will develop a living document capturing the state of the art of the quantum ecosystem and a set of recommendations for the QuIC and feed into the strategic roadmap for Quantum Technologies and identify the requirements for a successful industrial quantum ecosystem across all quantum pillars.|
|Strategic Industry Roadmap||The “Strategic Industry Roadmap” working group is responsible for the development of a comprehensive, industry-led roadmap across all four major quantum verticals: computing, communication, metrology & sensing, and enabling technologies. The group consists of a growing number of industry members from across technology sectors and across the European continent. Its primary output, the Strategic Industry Roadmap, will serve as a guide to inform policies, orient government support, extend the European value chain to cover all critical aspects of each quantum vertical.|
|Ecosystems||The “Ecosystems” working group brings together the diverse set of quantum communities present in QuIC. The group’s aim is to provide a semi-structured environment in which members can continue to strengthen their own role in the quantum ecosystem, while helping to shape the future of the Quantum Technology Industry in Europe and globally.|
|SME and funding||“SME and funding” working group looks at the role of SMEs within the Quantum Ecosystem and sources of funding for the research, development and commercialisation of quantum technologies. The working group will be benchmarking best practices in the creation and support of SMEs and start-ups as well as investigating innovative sources of funding for quantum technologies.|
|National Chapters||The “National Chapters” working group focuses on establishing strong, local chapters of QuIC across Europe. Each chapter is composed of selected QuIC members who serve as local points of contact and channels of communication for the association.|
Highest decision making body within QuIC is the General Assembly. The General Assembly appoints individuals to key positions, and approves official QuIC statements and positions. The Executive Team, consisting of the current Executive Director Thierry Botter, and Executive Assistant Mattia Giardini are responsible for day to day operations. QuIC also has a separate leadership team with 4 positions, and a Governing Board currently holding 11 seats.
It is noteworthy that neither QuIC, nor any other industry alliance do not operate in a vacuum. On Quantum Day 2022 – April 14th – QuIC together with the QED-C from the United States, Q-Star of Japan, and Quantum Industry Canada posted a joint statement for the advancement of the quantum industry.
Make most of membership
Any European quantum company, large or small will benefit from participating. QuIC’s mission is to boost the European quantum-technology industry’s competitiveness and economic growth and bolster value creation across the continent. For an individual company this means access to a strong, vibrant ecosystem between small and medium size companies, large corporations, investors, and leading researchers.
Specifically, QuIC and its members
- Develop and coordinate strategic goals and roadmaps for research, development, innovation and deployment of European Quantum Technologies, and supporting their implementation;
- Cooperate with the European institutions and other stakeholders;
- Foster industrial growth and competitiveness of Europe;
- Establish a collaborative hub and a vibrant ecosystem for Quantum Technologies industry;
- Position quantum technology products and services as key enablers for addressing Europe’s societal and environmental challenges;
- Engage in pre-standardisation activities, and collaborate with standardization bodies;
- Develop IP strategies to enable a competitive European Quantum Technologies industry;
- Determinate education & skills workforce needs and professional profiles.
Membership also participates in commercial industry events, conferences and trade shows as a collaborative effort. As the membership is from a wide category of companies, even a smaller quantum technology provider can find a partner or a paying customer. For larger companies it is reassuring to know your membership supports technology roadmaps, legislation, and financial environment that will not only benefit your company but your industry. Rising tide lifts all boats.
With a wide representation of European companies creating quantum hardware and software product, tools and instruments, and end users looking to adopt these technologies, QuIC sees room to grow.
“European industry will lead the quantum revolution” says Mr. Lizaso.
For this to happen QuIC welcomes more companies, especially startups and other small companies who will most benefit from accelerator type of support, funding, and growing together with the larger companies in size, power, and dynamism.
Petra Söderling is the Head of Government & Consortium Relations, Quantum Strategy Institute and has over 20 years of experience in the telecom industry, having held key positions in standardization, open source, research, and product management at Nokia. She has an MBA from Helsinki University of Technology, and executive education from Harvard Business School and Stanford University. Being Finnish-American, she has been instrumental in creating the quantum ecosystem in Finland, and ramping up trans-Atlantic relationships in quantum since 2020.
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