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Europe aiming to win global race for quantum talent

Published on November 16th, 2022
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20 universities from ten European countries will revolutionise education and training in quantum technologies in Europe with 16 brand new specialised Master’s degree programs.

“Preparing the workforce and talent for the future quantum technologies is crucial if European business wants to play a leading part on the international markets in the years to come. Competition will get increasingly tough, and if you don’t prepare now, it will be too late to catch up later,” says Professor Jacob Sherson of Aarhus University, Denmark.

He is coordinating DigiQ (Digitally Enhanced Quantum Technology Master), the primary workforce development project of the Quantum Flagship. It is funded by a Euro 17.6 million grant over four years through the European Commission’s Digital Europe Programme.

 “With the DigiQ educational innovations in the quantum domain, we not only create a quantum-ready workforce but also develop methods that can inform the much needed upcoming transformations in other advanced digital areas such as AI, data science and robotics,” Professor Sherson says.

Participating students will benefit from access to remote experiments and world-class quantum facilities, a wide array of specialist courses taught both on-site and in hybrid formats, 2 Million Euros of travel grants, and a direct route to employment through research and industry internships in over 100 European companies and labs. At the same time, innovative teaching resources developed in the project will be made available for free for the whole of Europe, accelerating development of new programs over the next four years. Finally, participating students will become part of year-long specialised international networks consisting of leading researchers and industry partners, providing the program with a social structure and an all-important web of contacts for future careers.

DigiQ has spun out of two community-driven pilot efforts, organised under the Flagship’s former education support project, the QTEdu CSA. The Quantum Technology Open Master, coordinated at Aarhus University and Czech Technical University of Prague, has set up an open ecosystem of specialist Quantum Technology courses among 26 partners. Empowering the Future Experts in Quantum Technology (Strasbourg University and Heidelberg University) has developed and trialled the network structure which will form the backbone of the student experience in the DigiQ Master degrees. The project will also be run in close synergy with the wider coordination efforts of the ongoing QUCATS CSA. DigiQ Partners ICFO and Portuguese Quantum Institute will, together with Aarhus University, help to ensure that DigiQ will support the strategic objectives of the Flagship in developing and retaining top talent.

Over 2021-2027, the Digital Europe Programme will enhance businesses, citizens and public services with new and emerging digital technologies. These include areas such as high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics and quantum technologies. Quantum Technologies are recognised as an essential part of the ecosystem of emerging digital technologies, in which Europe intends to become a leading global power.

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