updated: 15-04-2021 | 16:26
Aalto University, University of Helsinki and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have signed an agreement to collaborate on quantum science and technology, under the umbrella of InstituteQ: The Finnish Quantum Institute. InstituteQ brings together expertise in research, education, and innovation to drive Finland’s world-leading quantum technology research.
‘Our goals are threefold,’ explains Professor Jukka Pekola, Aalto University, ‘firstly, to coordinate our national research efforts; secondly, to provide the best possible education, both in graduate and industrial programs; and thirdly, in driving innovation.’
‘It is widely recognised that the expertise level in the workforce is currently a major bottleneck in developing quantum technology,’ explains Professor Sabrina Maniscalco, University of Helsinki, ‘By combining and coordinating our resources, we will be able to grow expertise in new directions.’
All three of the founder institutions have decades of experience in the research, teaching and commercialisation of quantum science and technology. By joining forces through InstituteQ, the parties aim to keep Finland and Europe at the forefront of an increasingly competitive global field.
‘We see exponential and sustainable growth opportunities in quantum technologies for the future. We want to be inclusive and invite interested stakeholders – companies and institutions alike – across Finland to join. InstituteQ will be a global window of Finnish quantum expertise and facilitate new, international collaborations’ said Dr Himadri Majumdar, VTT, ‘Our aim is to all work together to leverage Finland’s quantum expertise to create new opportunities – for both research, and business.’
Supporting a growing ecosystem
‘Quantum technology’ is the application of phenomena that arise from the unique behaviour of quantum physics. The most widely recognised technology is quantum computing: making computers that can solve problems that are impossible for regular computers to solve. Quantum computing will be useful for problems like designing new medicines, securing digital communication and data storage, and others. Developing quantum computing requires whole new types of hardware, software, and communication technologies, with completely different logic from conventional computers.
Aalto University, University of Helsinki and VTT are already strong global leaders in the research and development of the technology needed for quantum systems, such as devices and sensors, novel quantum materials, and quantum information. Finland is currently building a 3-stage Quantum Computer in a co-development project led by VTT and together with Finnish start-up IQM. The project showcases Finnish expertise and provides an initial platform for both further research, innovation and commercial activities.
‘Finnish companies are already working in this area, both as technology enablers providing the hardware and software to exploit quantum phenomena; and as end-users providing services that use quantum technology to customers’ explains Dr Majumdar, ‘at InstituteQ we want to work with both.’
‘We have a lot of students, both domestic and international who are interested in studying quantum technology’ continues Professor Maniscalco. ‘By supporting the creation of new professorships and national educational programs across our partner institutions we will be able to grow the expertise here in Finland that industry and academia need to harness the capabilities of quantum technology.’
‘In Finland, we already have a strong environment for quantum technology, such as the OtaNano research infrastructure and the QTF Centre of Excellence’ says Professor Pekola, ‘We want the Institute to guide the development of current infrastructure, and have a role in generating new pathways and projects for quantum technologies. We are looking forward to growing the institute to include more partners, collaborators and stakeholders from across research and industry in Finland. Together we can get the maximum benefit out of our great research environment, and develop it further to meet the needs of the future.’