The National Quantum Mission (NQM) has reached a significant milestone with the launch of the call for pre-proposals for establishing Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs), marking a pivotal step in advancing quantum science and technology in India. The announcement was made by Professor Abhay Karandikar, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), during the 9th edition of the India International Science Festival on January 20, 2024.
The call for pre-proposals invites academic institutions and research and development labs to submit innovative pre-proposals in consortia mode, aligned with the objectives of the National Quantum Mission. The proposed T-Hubs will focus on Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing and Metrology, and Quantum Materials and Devices.
Professor Abhay Karandikar emphasized the significance of this launch, stating, “The pre-proposal is an important step in the National Quantum Mission approved by the Cabinet last year.” He outlined the mission’s commitment to substantial progress in the coming months, with plans for collaboration between academia, industry, and startups to translate research into deployable technologies.
The pre-proposals are expected to demonstrate quantum technologies that advance the application of quantum science and technology. Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Adviser DST and Secretary SERB, provided insights into the call’s highlights and additional details, emphasizing the role of collaboration in achieving meaningful impacts at both national and global levels.
The National Quantum Mission, approved by the Union Cabinet on April 19, 2023, with a total outlay of Rs 6003.65 crore for eight years, aims to seed, nurture, and scale up scientific and industrial research and development in Quantum Technology. The mission seeks to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem, accelerating quantum technology-led economic growth and positioning India as a leader in the development of Quantum Technologies and Applications.
The launch of pre-proposals follows the approval at the 1st meeting of the Mission Governing Board (MGB) of the National Quantum Mission. The MGB had endorsed the decision to invite pre-proposals for setting up four technology hubs under the NQM in consortia format. Professor Abhay Karandikar expressed optimism about the mission’s trajectory, stating, “The NQM will work in collaboration with industry and startups to translate research into deployable technologies.” He urged researchers to actively participate in the pre-proposal submission, underscoring the Department of Science and Technology’s commitment to providing necessary resources for success.
Opinion: This initiative by the National Quantum Mission is a crucial step towards harnessing the potential of quantum technology and its application in different sectors. The collaboration between academia, industry, and startups will not only advance scientific research but also drive economic growth and position India as a leader in quantum technology development. The focus on establishing T-Hubs for different aspects of quantum technology showcases a comprehensive approach towards achieving meaningful impacts at a national and global level.