(ScienceBusiness.net) The French government has announced a €1.8 billion strategy to boost research in quantum technologies, and especially quantum computers, over five years, a move that increases public investment in the field from €60 million to €200 million per year, putting France in third place behind China and US for quantum funding.
The goal is to build a business environment around the country’s expertise and to keep the experts its universities nurture in the country. With these efforts, France has a chance to become “the first state to acquire a complete prototype of [a] quantum computer,” said President Emmanuel Macron introducing the plan on 22 on January.
Imminent commercial application of quantum technologies has set off furious global competition for research, innovation and talent.
“A country like France cannot win every tech race. Quantum seems like one that is winnable,” said Théau Peronnin, co-founder and CEO of Alice & Bob, a start-up building a quantum computer.
“We need to keep our talents, and also keep certain technologies so as not to depend in particular on the two great international powers [China and the US],” Macron said. Keeping “complete control of this value chain is absolutely key to keeping research free at all times, and for our sovereignty in terms of know-how and industrial applications,” he added.
The fear of missing a technological revolution is kicking governments everywhere into action.
“If you waited until you were sure quantum computers would work, you’d be 20 years too late,” said Zaki Leghtas, a researcher and European Research Council grant holder at Mines ParisTech, whose research aims to overcome errors found in quantum computing.