(FedScoop) The Department of Energy has awarded $61 million in funding to quantum information science (QIS) projects developing quantum devices, or paving the way for a quantum internet.
DOE awarded $30 million to projects strengthening U.S. competitiveness in QIS, $25 million to projects creating quantum internet testbeds and $6 million to projects developing quantum internet building blocks through a competitive, peer review process.
The grants come a month after private sector experts urged agencies, including DOE, to invest more of their budgets in practical quantum projects that advance the industry and a little more than a year after the department released its nationwide quantum internet blueprint.
Industry experts criticized DOE for investing in esoteric, moonshot-type quantum projects — whereas foreign adversary China has seen success mobilizing its industrial and academic bases to work on more practical projects — at a Center for Data Innovation event in July.
The experts pointed to quantum infrastructure and enabling technologies like lasers and cryogenic cooling as starting points, and DOE’s latest awards include $2.8 million for projects to develop devices that send and receive quantum network traffic and another $3.2 million across research and infrastructure projects that will hopefully accelerate discoveries enabling nationwide quantum internet.