At the initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, Austria is investing EUR 107 million in funding from the NextGenerationEU Development and Resilience Plan to accelerate the development of quantum research and technologies. The aim is to enhance Austria's competitiveness and increase European cooperation in this strategic key technology sector. Funding is available for both basic research as well as the development of practical applications. The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) are working closely together on the allocation of funding. Submissions are possible at the FWF from November 26, at the FFG from December 15.
Quantum computers that solve certain, highly computationally intensive tasks much faster than traditional digital computers; tap-proof communication channels; measuring instruments of unprecedented precision—quantum technologies promise answers to challenges that cannot currently be found with any other technology. Far-reaching innovation leaps are emerging, and Austrian researchers are at the forefront. In order to generate sustainable economic momentum during the Corona crisis with an eye on the future, the federal government, under the leadership of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, is currently providing EUR 107 million in funding from the NextGenerationEU Development Plan for quantum research and quantum technology.
Better chances in the race for knowledge, technologies, and new applications
The strategic goal of the funding initiative is to intensify basic research into quantum technologies and to promote the utilisation and market launch of highly innovative products and services. Quantum Austria is embedded in the Austrian RTI strategy and supports its objectives from the area of excellent and cooperative research to the expansion of digital infrastructures.
“Through the long-standing support of the federal government, researchers at universities and in companies have been able to explore the possibilities of quantum technologies together with the best minds in the world. Quantum Austria now draws on this enormous potential. We are consciously investing during the crisis in a very promising future sector to further improve Austria’s chances in the race for knowledge, technologies, and promising applications”, said Minister of Science Heinz Faßmann at the launch of Quantum Austria.
“It is important for Austria as a business location that companies invest early on in future technologies and distinguish themselves with innovative products ‘made in Austria’. This also applies particularly to quantum technologies, which offer enormous potential. The funding instruments of FFG and FWF provide tailor-made support here for local stakeholders along the entire innovation axis. In addition, through its European network, FFG is contributing to strengthening transnational cooperation on this important key technology”, said FFG Managing Partner Henrietta Egerth.
“Quantum research is creating entirely new opportunities that will dwarf everything we’ve seen so far, and giant innovation leaps are emerging. Through Quantum Austria, we are working together with FFG to improve the chances of Austrian researchers continuing to be among the top of their field worldwide in the future too”, said FWF President Christof Gattringer, emphasising the added value of the close cooperation between FWF and FFG.
Quantum Austria runs until 2026
Starting on 26 November (Start of the call for proposals at FWF, FFG as of December 15), interested researchers, universities, non-university research institutions, and companies from the quantum research and technologies sector can choose from existing programmes of FFG and FWF. A total of three calls for applications are planned until 2026.
The cooperation between FFG and FWF makes it possible to cover a wide spectrum of funding needs—the offer ranges from funding for researchers at universities to R&D activities by start-ups, companies, and industry. Funds are available, for example, to research basic technologies for quantum systems or to set up high-performance laboratories and technical equipment. At the same time, Austria’s capacities in the field of high-performance computing are to be massively expanded.
Funding through the existing portfolio of FFG and FWF
Funds are awarded within existing and proven funding programmes to make it easier and faster to reach a funding decision. FFG has funding instruments, for example, for cooperative R&D projects, stand-alone projects in industrial research, lead projects, BRIDGE Knowledge Transfer, or R&D infrastructure. It is possible to submit applications to FWF in the Stand-Alone Projects, 1000 Ideas Programme, and the two career programmes ESPRIT and Schrödinger.
International experts support Quantum Austria
Leading quantum experts are involved in the implementation of Quantum Austria to take into account the European dimension and to provide international expertise. Christine Silberhorn, an eminent German researcher and winner of the Leibniz Prize, acts as the chairperson of the scientific advisory board.
www.ffg.at/quantum-austria (only available in German)
Information on the EU Development Plan (only available in German)