Collaboration & Community

Quantum technologies are complex. So complex, that no single research group or organization can realize the promise of quantum computing alone. Collaboration is essential for innovation, and leaders from academia and industry are looking to work together to realize the promise of quantum computing. In 2019, QuTech worked hard on strengthening its community of collaborators.

Partnerships to accelerate development 

  • ABN AMRO and QuTech announced a new collaborative agreement to investigate advanced quantum key distribution via glass fiber and through the air, to ensure optimally secured data traffic and make the safety of online and mobile banking future-proof. The partners join forces in the TKI project “SeQure” that targets a first proof-of-principle experiment to combine a fiber based and free-space link for fundamental secure communication. Read more

  • KPN and QuTech signed a new cooperative agreement to work together on making quantum internet a reality. KPN will be providing the infrastructure and locations that QuTech will use for research and development of the first quantum link that connects two quantum nodes. Read more

  • QuTech has started a collaboration with the Routing Institute for National and International Information Streams (RINIS) to explore the possibility of adding an extra layer of security to the services they provide to their clients. This will be based on the MDI-QKD technology available at QuTech.

  • To transport quantum information over long distances with glass fibers and pave the way for the quantum Internet, QuTech and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) launched the ICON project QFC-4-1QID. Read more

  • Intel visited QuTech for the annual review of the research collaboration between Intel, TU Delft, and TNO. Afterwards, the new managing director of Intel Labs, Dr. Rich Uhlig, stated that he was very satisfied with the progress and the positive vibe, and that he looked forward to continuing the cooperation in the coming years.

  • The long-standing collaboration between Microsoft and QuTech has been intensified by the establishment of a Microsoft research lab on TU Delft premises. The work within the collaboration has yielded several joint publications and patents. Additionally, QuTech has received a TKI-HTSM grant of €1.2 million for a proof-of-principle demonstration of the simplest topological qubit in collaboration with Microsoft.

QuTech entrepreneurs: spin-offs,
spin-outs and patents

QuTech’s mission implies a close cooperation between science, engineering, and business. Business development is therefore an activity of growing importance within QuTech. 2019 was a year of defining a strategy for business development in QuTech and in further expanding the ecosystem around the institute, in collaboration with a growing number of partners. The following events indicate our fast development curve:

  • Spin-out company QBlox was launched. Focusing on qubit control electronics, QBlox secured its first investments (NWO Take-off grant and Casimir-NanoFront seed grant) and already boasts its first international customers. Five valuable business ideas are currently being investigated in a pre-seed phase.

  • We increased our alertness to intellectual property, leading to a growing number of Invention Disclosure Forms coming in. A joint TU Delft/TNO intellectual property procedure was created to build the portfolio.

  • A funnel approach was introduced to optimize QuTech’s external engagement. It allows good communication, and it supports prioritization and decision-making.

  • As described above, several new industrial partnerships were set up.

Quantum Delft: Building an ecosystem for innovation

Quantum technology is a key technology about to break through. With its unique concentration of quantum academia and industry, Quantum Delft is the focal point of the quantum activities in the Netherlands. It has a strong position and proposition in the global quantum race to grow into one of the leading quantum hubs in the world. Partners include QuTech, TNO, Kavli, Microsoft, Bluefors, Single Quantum, Delft Circuits and several startups making use of the same state-of-the art research facilities.

The economic and scientific opportunities of quantum technology are strong, especially for Delft. The current QuTech ecosystem employs about 300 FTE with the expectation to grow to 700 FTE in 2023. Including indirect employment it is expected that 7000 jobs will be created around Delft, of which 25% at MBO level.

The number of parties wanting to establish themselves in Delft is growing. This calls for a local infrastructure geared to the growth of a Quantum ecosystem in Delft in which knowledge institutions and companies work together: Quantum Delft. In 2019, Quantum Delft's program team was formalized. The organization has been primed with agreements on staffing, financing, mandate, and management. In order to attract companies, attract talent and better position Delft as 'the place to be' for quantum-related research, the priority was acquisition and relationship management at Quantum Delft. This involved participating in trade fairs and conferences, and maintaining an informal network of relations. A start was also made in building up the community, including account management (making sure companies are serviced from a one-stop-shop) and the relationships between quantum organizations, support services, and government. We launched a new website and logo for Quantum Delft. Another priority topic that received a lot of attention in 2019 is the development of a consistent strategy for housing new companies. Availability of suitable physical space is an absolute prerequisite for Quantum Delft's success.

Highlighted event:
Inside Quantum Technology Europe

In October, QuTech co-organized an exciting new event called Inside Quantum Technology Europe. There are numerous conferences on the technical aspects of quantum technology; this event was the first in Europe to focus on business and its connection to research, as quantum technology becomes commercialized.

The event offered comprehensive insights into the commercial future of all areas of quantum technology, presenting both opportunities available today and future applications for businesses and governments.

“The first edition of IQT Europe was highly successful, with more than 200 participants. The event focused on interaction between professionals from academia and industry, and with about 50% industry participation, the event delivered on its promise.”

Kees Eijkel

Director Business Development

IQT Europe took place at the Louwman Museum in The Hague on 29 and 30 October, and was jointly organized by QuTech and 3DR Holdings.