Yale and the University of Connecticut are formally proposing Connecticut as a regional hub for quantum-related research, technologies and operations using a $1 million grant from the US National Science Foundation (NSF).
In the year The grant, announced May 11, is part of the NSF Motors program, a national effort to transform cutting-edge research into new technologies that create jobs and fuel economic growth. Congress authorized the program last year with the CHIPS and SCIENCE Act. Yale and UConn will use the grant to develop plans to nurture new quantum-related companies, identify ways quantum research can help existing companies, and train a new workforce for quantum manufacturing operations.
The planning project could be awarded $160 million from the federal government – money that will be used to implement the proposed ideas into the Quantum-City regional innovation engine.
“These NSF engine development awards lay the foundation for new innovation centers and future NSF engines,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “These awardees are part of NSF’s vision to create opportunity everywhere and enable innovation anywhere. Build strong regional partnerships based on scientific and technological innovation in all parts of the country.
Yale is a national leader in quantum research investigating the unique properties and dynamics of subatomic matter. Harnessing the power of quantum mechanics is a revolution in science that could revolutionize entire sectors of the economy, from financial services to drug development and computing systems.
“Yale has an outstanding reputation in quantum science and a thriving startup community in quantum technologies,” said Michael Cryer, vice provost for research at Yale and co-principal investigator of the NSF grant. “This is going to be a multi-billion dollar industry, and we would love for Yale and UConn to work with partners around the state to create the National Quantum Corridor in Connecticut.”
““Quantum science and technologies hold many keys to the future of Connecticut and the nation.” said Pamir Alpay, Yukon’s interim vice president of research, innovation and entrepreneurship. “By bringing together the expertise and research excellence of UConn, Yale and many partners, Quantum-City has the potential to be transformative for science, our economy and our workforce. This program will expand opportunities for communities and sectors left behind by recent economic downturns and promote equity across the state.”
In addition to Yale and UConn, the proposed Quantum-City Regional Innovation Engine brings together a broad coalition of public and private partners: the Connecticut Governor’s Office and several state agencies; municipal leaders from New Haven, Hartford, Waterbury and Stamford; Connecticut Association of Commerce and Industry; Companies, Raytheon Technologies, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Quantum Circuits Inc. (New Haven startup founded by Yale physicists) Connecticut Workforce Council; and business development and leadership groups including Advance CT, CT Next and the Connecticut Small Business Development Center.
Governor Ned Lamont said Connecticut is “ready, determined and eager” to become a national center for quantum technology.
“Our workforce in Connecticut is the best educated and talented in the country, equipped with the modern skills needed to make America a global leader in the future of quantum technology research and development,” said Lamont.
Yale, which has prioritized quantum research over the past decade, was heavily involved in the proposal. Crair of the Quantum-City leadership team; Richard Jacobs, vice president of federal and state relations; Josh Gabale, managing director of Yale Ventures (a university initiative that supports innovation and entrepreneurship); faculty members Charles Ahn, Victor Bautista, Yongshan Ding, Steven Girvin, Charalampos Papamantou, and Robert Scholkopf; and Jeffrey Brock, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
““Yale is conducting some of the most exciting quantum-related research in the world, with major breakthroughs in quantum computing — breakthroughs in chemistry, materials, sensors and electronics — that will likely change the way many companies do business,” Brook said. “We have added faculty in these areas and plan to build a new quantum research center in the next few years.”
In fact, Yale scientists have researched the development of superfine qubits – “bits” of quantum information – with controlled properties. Yale’s “Transmon” qubit has been used in quantum computing by private companies and researchers around the world. Yale researchers have made major strides in solving the challenges of error correction – one of the biggest remaining scientific hurdles in the development of quantum computing.
Yale is engaged in groundbreaking research to create new quantum materials and sensors and to explore fundamental quantum principles in mathematics and physics. Later this year, Yale will open the first phase of the Physical Sciences and Engineering Building (PSEB), which will house faculty in quantum computing, quantum engineering and materials science. PSEB is one of the largest facilities in the university’s history.
“Connecticut’s designation as a regional center for quantum technology will enable quantum advancement by translating Yale’s fundamental research findings into commercial products, and physics professor. “We are leaders in quantum computing and quantum sensing, where we can collaborate with industry and government stakeholders to develop new solutions to humanity’s existential challenges.”
A key component of the grant program involves translating cutting-edge research into high-tech jobs and economic growth. Quantum-City’s leadership team develops plans for a variety of new jobs, including technical positions that don’t require advanced degrees.
“We have a real opportunity here to design a statewide strategy to promote a new industry sector that creates new companies and jobs. In the year In 2019, Yale startup Quantum Circuits Inc. opened its New Haven development and testing facility for quantum computing, and this is just the beginning of what we can do with our public and private partners.
With the planning grant now in hand, Yale, UConn and state partners will focus on four areas of development:
- Identify industry partners with interests that can be aligned with emerging quantum discoveries
- Building an innovation-impact model that includes seed grants and incubator space for new quantum technology startups
- Create a plan to train government workers with the skills needed to develop new quantum-related products
- Designing an “innovation engine” – a leading role in implementing a three-pronged strategy in research, innovation-impact and workforce training
““Quantum science is a place where we have a clear research development opportunity with great potential, and where the community is interested in translating that potential into novel goods and services such as quantum computers and cryptography,” said Cryer. “Certainly any related industry translates into high-quality jobs for New Haven and Connecticut. It’s a natural fit.”