Over the next four years, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will be providing a total of €878 million in funding for the development of quantum technologies and quantum computing, and for related practical applications. The bulk of the funding, €740 million, will go to the German Aerospace Center (DLR). DLR is to team up with large industrial partners, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), start-ups, and research organisations to form two consortiums that will be tasked with building a quantum computer in Germany and with developing the relevant software and applications.
Said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier: “Quantum computing has the potential for revolutionising key sectors of our economy – for instance it can be used to control the demand side of our energy system, to guide traffic, or to test new active ingredients. It is our goal to ensure that Germany is among the most successful nations where the development and application of quantum computing is concerned. The funding we provide is to ensure that excellent research results translate into innovative applications. We want to quickly establish an industrial base that uses quantum computing in its practical work and uses its potential for the benefit of our economy and our society.”
In addition to supporting the establishment of the two consortia, the Economic Affairs Ministry also wants to provide funding for an industrial innovations centre. This institution will be informing industrial companies, SMEs and start-ups, no matter what sector they are from or what application they are interested in, about the potential of quantum technologies. Overall, DLR will be receiving €740 million for the above measures by 2025. Some 80% of the funding earmarked for the quantum computer will be passed on to the companies and start-ups involved in the cooperation.
Thomas Jarzombek, Commissioner for the Digital Industry and Start-ups at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: “Start-ups play a key role in the development and use of quantum computers. This is why they will be among the key beneficiaries of the funding. There are German start-ups that have already developed innovative approaches in this field. We would like these innovations to be included in the consortia formed around the German Aerospace Center and developed into marketable applications as a result of cooperation between start-ups, industrial companies and SMEs. Parallel to this, we want even more innovative start-ups working in the field of quantum computing to choose Germany as their base.”
In addition to the funding provided via the German Aerospace Center, the Economic Affairs Ministry also uses other channels to fund research into quantum computing:
The existing PlanQK project (platform and ecosystem for quantum-assisted artificial intelligence) is receiving an extra €50 million. This funding will be used to explore additional applications for quantum computing in business, and to give SMEs and others easy access to relevant expertise and algorithms.
Funding under the National Space Programme will be topped up by €63 million, a sum dedicated to the development of quantum technologies tailored to space applications.
Germany’s national metrology institute, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), is setting up a Centre of Excellence for Quantum Technologies. This Centre will use its long-standing research experience in the field of quantum technologies to develop new basic technologies, services for business and science, and a research infrastructure that can be used by external users, especially SMEs.
All these measures are undertaken by the Economic Affairs Ministry as part of the Federal Government’s overall concept designed to promote quantum technologies and quantum computing. Under this plan agreed by the Federal Government on 3 June 2020 as part of the Stimulus and Future Packages, an overall €2 billion worth of funding will be provided. The concept is being jointly implemented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Federal Ministry of Finance.