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Quantum Technology Flagship Coordination and Support Action

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - QFlag (Quantum Technology Flagship Coordination and Support Action)

Reporting period: 2020-10-01 to 2022-05-31

QFlag was the central coordinating and support action of the European Quantum Flagship initiative, covering five key objectives:
I. Coordinate the relevant Flagship stakeholders and link the Flagship to national programmes.
II. Coordinate access to infrastructure, foster applications of Quantum Technology (QT) and facilitate the transfer of results to industry.
III. Increase awareness of QT in Europe, both with (potential) end-users and the general public.
IV. Foster education and training in QT, both of students and young researchers and engineers, in the field of QT, as well as a “quantum aware workforce”.
V. Support the efficient governance of the QT Flagship and monitor its progress.
Linking up the family of quantum initiatives and beyond:
QFlag continued to act as a central contact point for the different quantum bodies, ensuring synergy and collaboration between them. This became even more important in the second half of the project as this quantum family continued to grow: Alongside the Strategic Advisory Board (SAB), the Science and Engineering Board (SEB), and the Quantum Community Network (QCN), there was now the European Quantum Industry Consortium (QuIC), the two spin-off CSAs, and the new infrastructure initiatives EuroHPC and EuroQCI to consider. QFlag also reached out to other quantum-relevant fields. For example, a joint focus group with the European Photonics Partnership lead to a call on quantum photonic integrated circuits in the Horizon Europe 2023/2024 work programme.

Ensuring a community-driven Work Programme 2023/2024 for quantum:
QFlag served as a switchboard between the European Commission (EC) and the quantum community for the Horizon Europe WP23/24. Input from the various Flagship bodies was collected during multiple rounds of feedback. An open consultation was also held, in which QFlag asked the 3500 registered members of the Flagship community for input. The entire process ensures a fair, well-tailored quantum strategy and, moreover, a trustful relationship between policy makers and the wider quantum community.

Redefined Key Performance Indicators:
Due to the ever-growing, multifaceted quantum ecosystem, the Flagship’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were updated in 2021. In close discussion with the SAB and the EC, the KPIs were redefined, measurement ‘recipes’ were outlined and target values for 2030 were set. These will monitor progress not only in the four scientific pillars, but also in the ecosystem as a whole, in education, and in diversity and equality. Importantly, first KPI values were measured for the year 2021 by surveying the SAB, the SEB and the QuIC.

The central Quantum Flagship community communication platform has now grown to more than 3500 registered members from across Europe. This diverse community is regularly informed about project activities, events and job opportunities, and is asked to voice their opinion on strategic matters like WP23/24 and key issues like gender equality in quantum. To maintain a lively and collaborative quantum community in Europe, QFlag organized a series of virtual and hybrid events during the second half of the project, with a total of over 2000 attendees.

Standardisation, applications & IPR activities:
QFlag continued to systematically address ongoing and prospective standardisation efforts in QT. QFlag contributed to the standardisation roadmap “Towards European Standards for Quantum Technologies” published March 2022, and fostered QT applications and their market adoption through BtoB meetings and collaboration with QuIC. The first in a series of joint workshops with the European Patent Office (EPO) was held (December 2021) to introduce quantum engineers and scientists to the fundamentals of IPR and patent law.

Fostering QT education and the future workforce:
In collaboration with the spin-off CSA QTEdu, QFlag organised various education activities, such as workshops during the EQTC2021, World Quantum Day, and the Quantum Careers Symposium. Information on educational opportunities – like summer schools and QT curricula – have been collected and made available on the and now

The Flagship’s gender-equality working group (GE-WG) was also active in the pursuit of a fairer, more balanced future for the field. This included a wide-reaching survey of the quantum community, with the results publicised in a video and presented at the EQTC conference. Finally, a concrete set of actionable initiatives was presented to the SAB and EC in April 2022.

Continued and increased outreach via online platforms and public events:
The Flagship’s PR office, established in the first project period, has widened its outreach via the Flagship’s website (with now almost 1M page views), YouTube channel (40K total views) and social media (16K total followers). While the COVID-19 pandemic made ‘live’ outreach difficult for most of the project, in the final few months some in-person events were possible again. Via the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Europe Day exhibition in Brussels, and exhibits in Italy, QFlag was able to highlight the benefits and opportunities afforded by QT to much wider audiences, from across industry and society in general.

Laying groundwork for the Quantum Flagship’s future:
Various actions were undertaken to secure a healthy future for the Flagship, beyond its ‘ramp-up phase’ and the end of the QFlag project. This included the Cluster Day, which reflected on the ramp-up phase and what could change going forward. QFlag also gathered opinion from the other initiatives in order to give early informal input to funding programmes beyond Horizon Europe, such as Digital Europe and the Chips Act. Finally, QFlag worked closely with its successor CSA QUCATS, while the project was still forming and during our overlap, to ensure a smooth transition into the next phase of the Flagship.
QFlag provided the support mechanism to implement a well-coordinated European initiative in Quantum Technologies through its critical ‘ramp-up phase‘. It brought in relevant stakeholders, linked up with corresponding international and national programmes, and collaborated closely with the other initiatives of an ever-growing European quantum ecosystem. QFlag acted as the main switchboard between the various initiatives, the wider quantum community, the Flagship governance, and the European Commission. The technological benefits of this support are visible in the success of the recently concluded Quantum Flagship ramp-up phase projects.

The transparency, openness and inclusiveness established by QFlag – including community consultations involving 3500 members – has already impacted how the Quantum Flagship (and European QT in general) is perceived by stakeholders and the wider public. For the former, this means being open to engagement and having trust in community-driven strategic decisions. For the latter, this means confidence in sensible funding policy, and the willingness to perhaps one day join the workforce in a modern, dynamic field. This was aided by the PR and outreach efforts of QFlag, which went beyond expectations to reach huge audiences of all kinds.

QFlag set out to help establish a broad, competitive, community-based research and industry ecosystem for QT across Europe. We believe that this has been achieved, with the Quantum Flagship on an excellent course for the future.