Energy Invests Millions to Launch Strategic Quantum Research Centers

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Following a 2018 mandate from President Trump, the department will help build a more comprehensive ecosystem to spark quantum advancements.

The Energy Department pledged up to $625 million to help stand up two to five multidisciplinary quantum information science research centers between now and 2025.

According to a funding opportunity announcement launched Friday, the agency will abide by a mandate set forth in a 2018 law to support the creation of several QIS centers to expedite revolutionary advances in science and quantum-based technology—and ultimately continue to secure the United States’ position at the forefront of the global quantum computing landscape. 

"Critical to America's leadership in this field, the new quantum research centers provide training and collaboration opportunities for the next generation of QIS scientists and engineers,” Ivanka Trump, the president’s adviser and daughter, said in a statement. She went on to thank Energy for working to strengthen America’s “competitiveness in this industry of the future."

President Trump signed the National Quantum Initiative Act over a year ago, which helped catalyze a range of federal investments and industry advancements in QIS. On top of requiring coordinated, multi-agency efforts to boost QIS research and training, the law also called for the establishment of four to ten competitively awarded QIS research centers. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said in a statement Friday that the agency wants to help “ensure that America remains a world leader in this rapidly advancing field.” 

By bringing together talents from U.S. universities, national labs, institutions, agencies and the private sector, the centers will be established to help the nation build a comprehensive ecosystem needed to spark quantum advancements and discoveries in computing, communication, sensing and beyond.

At their core, the centers aim to bring together many diverse minds to tackle the complex topics, so the department notes that applications are expected to be structured in the form of multi-institutional proposals submitted by a single lead institution. The agency is accepting pre-applications until 5 p.m. on Feb. 10. Energy then plans to respond by email to each applicant by March 10, to encourage or discourage their submission of a full application. The deadline for full applications is April 10. 

“QIS is on the threshold of providing transformative technology that will impact discovery science and technological innovation in the coming decades,” Brouillette said.