The Netherlands is in an excellent starting position to capitalise on the opportunities offered by quantum technology. Dutch universities and knowledge institutes have a leading position in the worldwide development of quantum hardware and software and the associated algorithms and applications. The Netherlands wants to maintain and further develop this position through the National Quantum Technology Agenda.
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Quantum technology is considered a key technology by both Dutch and European public authorities. Together with other Dutch knowledge institutes and companies, TNO has identified what needs to be done in order to achieve the Dutch ambitions in the area of quantum technology. This was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) and the top sectors HTSM (High Tech Systems and Materials) and ICT. The National Quantum Technology Agenda (NAQT) is the result. The authors are TNO, QuTech, QuSoft, EZK, NWO, QT/e, the Lorentz Institute, AMS-IX, StartupDelta (now Techleap.nl) and Microsoft.
The NAQT was presented in the Hague on 16 September 2019. The agenda describes how the Netherlands can further strengthen its globally-leading position in the coming years. The agenda works towards the following objectives:
The agenda divides quantum technology into four application areas: quantum computation, quantum communication, quantum simulation and quantum sensing & metrology.
The Dutch starting position is excellent: Dutch universities and knowledge institutes are at the forefront of the fields of qubits, quantum internet, quantum algorithms and post-quantum cryptography, for example. In addition, the Netherlands is strong when it comes to systems engineering and in combining technologies into working systems, which is crucial for innovation. TNO contributes to this through knowledge of the entire breadth of quantum technology and related disciplines. In total, many dozens of TNO employees are directly or indirectly involved in quantum technology. Within different units, they work on all facets of quantum technology, including quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing, the development of quantum algorithms and post-quantum cryptography. This fits in perfectly with the application areas on which the agenda focuses.
TNO is also active in the three leading catalyst or KAT programmes that define the agenda:
The aim of these ambitious programmes is to make developments in quantum technology ‘tangible’ by means of demonstrators and to get them to society and industry more quickly. For TNO, the emphasis lies on translating academic knowledge into applications and helping to realise new, added value for companies and the Netherlands as a whole. Ecosystem development and the social embedding of technology are an integral part of this.
In addition to carrying out applied research, TNO works to bring together and connect parties in the programmes and action lines of the national agenda. This takes place at QuTech, a joint venture of TNO and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), among other locations. Together with industrial partners, QuTech focuses on the development of quantum computers and quantum internet, serving as a global leader in this field.
Although the Netherlands has a good starting position, we cannot afford to stand still – the world around us is also starting to get to work on quantum technology. The National Quantum Technology Agenda describes what needed.