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Framework Partnership Agreements in Quantum Communications (FPA)

Proposals for FPAs are expected to develop quantum communication technologies with improved performance and security to ensure European leadership. They are expected to build on the ongoing projects supported under the Quantum Flagship ramp up phase and on those currently defining the EuroQCI initiative.

Their focus should lie mainly in realising a quantum communication/information network, over very large distances, well beyond what is currently possible, and enabling advanced application functionality for distributing resources such as entanglement. This includes the development of quantum memories and quantum repeaters that are the building blocks of long-distance quantum communication networks on the ground, and could be deployed in a European quantum communication infrastructure (EuroQCI).

Proposals for the first FPA (on “building the Quantum Internet”) should focus on the development of a quantum internet interconnecting quantum computers, simulators and sensors via quantum networks. These quantum networks should allow long-distance (>500 kilometres) entanglement-based quantum communication involving quantum memories, and will be inter-liked via a fully functional prototype of quantum repeaters. The FPA proposal should also address the proper functioning of a platform-independent software and network stack for managing and programming the quantum communication network consisting of at least two quantum computing nodes with quantum memories.

Proposals for the second FPA (on “quantum encryption and future quantum network technologies”) should focus on the development of (i) a robust, non-dependent and sustainable supply chain of future-proof Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technologies; (ii) integration and interoperability in cybersecurity systems and classical communication networks based on optical fibre networks; and (iii) the development of the next generation of quantum communication systems (e.g. device-independent, twin field QKD) with improved performance and security protocols, and increased deployability through miniaturisation, compared to the first generation of QKD systems. Proposals should advance quantum network technologies in the above mentioned areas with the aim to achieve improved performances (e.g. higher key rates, fidelities, link distances, robustness, …), post-processing of key generation, key management, including interface to security applications (point-to-point link), achieving higher level system integration and robustness, combining quantum network technologies with conventional network infrastructures (including infrastructures based on post-quantum cryptographic technologies) and applications for point-to-multipoint links, including new protocols, applications and software and interface management between space and ground infrastructures.

Proposals for FPAs should also cover: (i) the cooperation with complementary projects launched specifically in the area of quantum encryption and future quantum network technologies (see topic 2), including also the need to establish from the beginning of this cooperation appropriate IP exploitation agreements, (ii) the collaboration with other initiatives or programmes at regional, national, transnational or global level; (iii) any additional support they may receive in their activities from relevant national, or regional programmes and initiatives; and (iv) contribution to the governance and overall coordination of the Quantum Technologies Flagship and (wherever relevant) EuroQCI. They should also contribute to spreading excellence across Europe; for example, through the involvement of Widening Countries.

The partnership will have a duration of 4 years.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.