U.S. National Science Foundation Soliciting Proposals for Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes. The Quantum Leap initiative augments a wide range of NSF investments in quantum information science and engineering. These efforts, combined with activities supported by other entities, including other government agencies and industry, indicate that the community of quantum information scientists and engineers is well-positioned to collaboratively identify challenges whose solution will catalyze breakthroughs.
The QLCI program is intended to strengthen such cross-disciplinary research efforts, forge new partnerships between universities, non-profit organizations, industry, and government agencies and thus accelerate foundational discoveries, innovations and technological developments.
The scope of the Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes is aligned with that of NSF multidisciplinary centers for quantum research and education as described in the National Quantum Initiative Act, passed by Congress and signed by U.S. President Trump, December 21st, 2018.
The Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes are expected to foster multiple research approaches, integrating expertise from domains such as physics, materials science, engineering, mathematics, chemistry, computer science and biology.
In collaboration with industry and other research institutions, the Challenge Institutes are expected to develop new cross-disciplinary approaches for education, training and workforce development. Combining these elements, the Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes will promote a sustainable innovation ecosystem where expertise from various disciplines, research institutions, and industry can be leveraged, as needed, to overcome scientific, technological, and workforce challenges in quantum information science and engineering.
The multidisciplinary scope of quantum information science and engineering, in turn, holds promise for the development of radically new and more powerful scientific and technological tools that will open new science and engineering vistas.
From the NSF, a synopsis of the QLCI program solicitation:
“Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes are large-scale interdisciplinary research projects that aim to advance the frontiers of quantum information science and engineering. Research at these Institutes will span the focus areas of quantum computation, quantum communication, quantum simulation and/or quantum sensing.
The institutes are expected to foster multidisciplinary approaches to specific scientific, technological, educational workforce development goals in these fields. Two types of awards will be supported under this program:
(i) 12-month Conceptualization Grants (CGs) to support teams envisioning subsequent Institute proposals and
(ii) 5-year Challenge Institute (CI) awards to establish and operate Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes.
This activity is part of the Quantum Leap, one of the research Big Ideas promoted by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes program is consistent with the scope of NSF multi-disciplinary centers for quantum research and education as described in the National Quantum Initiative Act.”
Taking a step back, it is interesting to see how quickly the U.S. government is moving to get quantum computing and quantum information science up to par and ahead as the global leader. Because quantum is coming. Qubit.