Swiss quantum initiative to benefit from CHF10 million government investment
Three years into what many are calling the “quantum decade”, global investment in quantum technologies continues apace.
In November, the Swiss federal government announced it would be investing CHF10 million in the Swiss Quantum Initiative (CHQI) in 2023 and 2024, with further significant investment planned in 2025-2028. Launched in 2022, the CHQI was introduced in recognition of the immense potential of quantum technologies and the accelerated private and public investment in research and development across the globe.
The Swiss quantum community came together to create a grassroots initiative, with the intent of fostering the development of Swiss Quantum Programs. The aim is to create platforms for an exchange of knowledge and technology, develop attractive study programs and other measures to promote specialists and build international partnerships. Its strategic focus is on areas with significant economic potential such as communications and materials. Although Switzerland is excluded from EU research programs, it continues to have the ambition to develop and maintain a leadership position, with established businesses already at the spearhead of quantum innovation. Its position is further strengthened by the development of joint initiatives with other developed nations, such as the joint declaration signed with the US in October 2022.
Many countries recognize the potential of quantum technology and are investing heavily in this field. The Swiss Quantum Initiative will enhance investment in universities and businesses, enabling Switzerland to maintain its leading position in quantum research.
Nicolas Gisin, President of the Swiss Quantum Commission, and co-founder of ID Quantique
A global perspective
The global quantum effort is developing rapidly, reaching $30 billion early 2022, and projected at over $40 billion by 2027. In its Quantum Technology Monitor, consulting firm McKinsey itself puts a broad bracket of the estimated market by 2040:
- Quantum computing: between $9 billion and $90 billion
- Quantum communications: between $1 billion and $6 billion
- Quantum sensing: between $1 billion and $7 billion
In its letter of intent, the CHQI pointed to significant investment by the US, China, Japan, Australia, the UK, and the EU. China has invested heavily in quantum technologies for several years. Whilst the official level of investment is unknown, it is estimated to be in the region of US$10-15 billion. Other nations that have earmarked upwards of US$1 billion in public funding for quantum R&D to date include the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and India. Of the circa US$7 billion invested in quantum technologies by EU governments, Germany and France lead the way with around US$3bn and US$2bn respectively.
Of the three main areas of quantum investment (computing, communications, and sensing), quantum computing appears to be attracting most funding. In the US, for example, over 57% of investment is in computing. This is to be expected, as the advantages of being first to market with a viable quantum computer are enormously significant. Quantum photonics with single-photon detection systems and Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) have been to-date by far the most advanced quantum technology with commercially available products and operational deployments.
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