Experts call for focus on quantum computing in Chips Act –

Scaling up and investing in quantum computing should be incorporated into EU chip law as the EU is a promising leader in this field, experts insisted.

Representatives from politics, industry and science discussed the link between quantum technology and the upcoming chip law at the European Innovation Area Summit on Tuesday (June 28) in Brussels, an event placed under the patronage of the European Parliament.

“While for semiconductors the EU is already so far behind”, the EU should invest in the next technologies, such as quantum computing, an area “where the EU is in fact a leader”, said said Tom Berendsen, Dutch MEP and member of the dossier is leading Committee on Industry, Research and Energy of the European Parliament (ITRE).

Although the Chips Act also aims to make the EU competitive in semiconductor supply chains, the main driver is to become “strategically self-sufficient”, Berendsen added.

We will never have the same money as in the United States or Asia, but we have the cooperation,” Berendsen said, explaining that itCooperation between Member States will be an important asset in achieving this objective.

Expert requests

While the EU is researching quantum computing, it is not yet at the application stage, according to Menno Veldhorst, team leader at quantum research institute QuTech.

Moving forward, further research, as well as a scale-up of production, is needed, experts agreed, for which increased investment and pilot lines through the Chips Act will be crucial.

Different types of quantum physics have different problems and different solutions, said Kristiaan De Greve, professor and Scientific Director and Director of the Quantum Computing Program at IMEC.

While for quantum computing, scaling and noise control could be achieved via foundries, the cost of quantum communication and quantum sensing, mass deployment and market adoption could be met through pilot lines as they are catalysts for growth, he argued.

Maud Vinet, director of the Quantum hardware program at Leti Research Institute, said that while collaborations between research and technology organizations (RTOs) are already underway, they should be further encouraged.

De Greve explained that it is because “Collaborations are important to avoid unnecessary duplication.

While the EU’s chip law emphasizes innovation and capacity building, experts also stressed that the already existing infrastructure should not be left behind and should first tackle capacity building before simply increasing capacity.

The issue of attracting new talent was also addressed. “You have to start with young people to build the ecosystem, that is to say with universities and start-ups”, Added Somya Gupta from QuTech.

State Flea Act

The Chip Act is based on three pillars, namely supporting large-scale technology capacity building and cutting-edge chip innovation; a new framework to attract large-scale investment in generation capacity and ensure security of supply; and a coordination mechanism between the Member States and the Commission to monitor market developments and anticipate crises.

According to MEP Berendsen, the first pillar should not be too problematic when entering into discussions on the dossier.

The second pillar, says Berendsen, must ensure that not only a few countries will benefit, alluding to the theme of a level playing field which also emerged during a debate at the Competitiveness Council of 9 June.

Chip production is a very expensive business, which entails the risk that only large countries capable of mobilizing massive financial support will be able to secure investment. Thus, several MEPs stressed that all companies from large and small countries in all Member States should be included.

The third pillar leads to the question of whether there “should be an instrument that if we produce chips on EU soil, should we export them if there is a shortage,” Berendsen said. Other MPs also expressed that this could be a critical point for debate.

The incoming Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU has taken over the file and will organize a first drafting session on 21 June. The Industry Council working group will discuss it on 8 and 15 July.

[Edited by Luca Bertuzzi/Nathalie Weatherald]

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