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The European Metrology Network for Quantum Technologies paved the way for possible future research projects
Formation of consortium
The European Commission supports European collaboration through ‘Framework Partnership Agreements’ (FPA). For scientific research projects, FPAs can create the possibility to obtain funding under Horizon Europe. These FPAs are EU funded initiatives to establish well-networked lab facilities that interact and support each other as well as European quantum technologies innovation actors (start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises). The FPA for open testing and experimentation for quantum technologies aims to improve the quantum technological infrastructure within Europe. ’Qu-Test’ is a project under the FPA umbrella that focuses on the following three testbeds: quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum sensing. Industry requests will be handled by a “Single Entry Point” (SEP) and directed to the appropriate facilities. Additionally, Qu-Test also offers business and management support and coaching. The aim is to provide a 'one-stop-shop' to unique facilities, competences and know-how, to what European national metrology institutes (NMI´s) can contribute a lot.
EURAMET’s European Metrology Network for Quantum Technologies (EMN Quantum), established for the coordination of the metrology effort supporting the development of quantum technologies, realised the potential for future collaborations. Therefore the EMN invited Dr Gabriele Bulgarini (TNO), coordinator of the project ‘Qu-Test’ to the network’s general meeting at the end of 2021.
Ivo Degiovanni, Chair of EMN Quantum states:
“As EMN Quantum we intend to support the participation of the NMIs and DIs in the Qu-Test activities, providing efficient information flow towards our associates.”
On 19 and 20 of April 2023 the kick-off meeting for the Qu-Test project took place in Prague, with over 80 quantum experts attending.
EMN Quantum took responsibility and gathered the skills and capabilities of each National Metrology Institute (NMI) and Designated Institute (DI) to create a portfolio of metrology capabilities and services that were offered. The organisations behind the FPA proposal draft considered the EMN’s portfolio as highly relevant and a subset of EMN Quantum members were invited to participate in the existing consortium at this preliminary stage. Those NMIs took part in creating the roadmap of two funding phases, each lasting 3.5 years between 2023 and 2029. On 15 December 2022, the first project under the FPA umbrella was officially approved.
Approval of the FPA and first steps
EMN Quantum supported the formation of the consortium as it will positively impact the European quantum metrology community overall. In the first 18 months the initial group of the FPA members comprising some of the EMN Quantum NMIs will start creating testing and experimentation facilities. In the first round (2023-2026), calls for new facilities will be launched, and all EMN Quantum NMIs will be in the optimal position to participate. Subsequently, another round of calls will be launched (2026-2029). This is a notable example of how an EMN opened accessibility to funding opportunities for research by linking NMIs with funding bodies. This will help to develop Europe’s metrological capabilities, and ultimately ensure that Europe’s achievements in science and technology remain competitive, including developments within quantum technologies.
During the lifetime of the FPA Qu-Test the EMN Quantum will act as an advocate for metrology, where latest information and needs from the FPA can be shared with other EMN members not involved. Based on that, all EMN members will be well informed on what is needed for future projects starting in 2026 under the FPA.
The FPA is still ongoing and facilitating long-term funding and research opportunities for European industries and academia. EMN Quantum continues to support European NMIs and DIs in coordinating research approaches to aid the expansion of the quantum technological infrastructure in Europe.
Marco Gramegna, EMN Quantum Manager comments:
“Our participation in the FPA is a concrete example of how EMN Quantum members are building a common strategy for supporting quantum technology research and industry in Europe, and deploying easy to access calibration facilities and dedicated services for a wide range of measurement requirements, to serve the rapidly-growing needs in this field.”
These advances will help in the development of new products and their successive commercialisation. Promotion of quantum technology research is essential to ensure the competitiveness of the European market. EMN Quantum will continue to promote collaboration between research institutes and industries, and work towards including metrology in quantum research activities.
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