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Europe is struggling for talent to help develop quantum technologies. A consortium of 24 universities, including the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of the CTU in Prague (FJFI), has now received funding of CZK 215 million for the DigiQ project. However, the total budget is actually double in size, with the other half funded by the participating organisations from the nine EU countries themselves.The main objective of the project is to create professionally and technically well-resourced educational programmes in the field of quantum technologies at the participating universities. It will be officially launched in autumn 2022 and is spread over four years. Among other things, it will offer students their own DigiQ diploma.

The four core elements of DigiQ are

  1. creating a comprehensive ecosystem of didactically innovative short modules
  2. expansion of existing courses to increase both focus and quality and remote accessibility
  3. Running ongoing networks of students, university staff and industry partners, facilitating workshops, QT events and curating the social element of the programme,
  4. A comprehensive mobility programme supporting student exchange as well as research and industrial internships in a network of more than 100 industrial partners.

In order to ensure compatibility of the different training initiatives, core competences in quantum technologies will be established. These will be aligned with the emerging specification of the Qualification Profiles developed by the Quantum Flagship project.

"Quantum technologies will find more and more practical applications in the coming decades. It is already clear that quantum solutions will offer the highest level of data security, efficiently and for a wide range of users. We do not yet have a clear idea of the other areas in which quantum technologies will be applied, but we must prepare for their arrival. The best way to do this is to offer students the widest possible educational opportunities. With DigiQ, we will be able to expand the range and depth of knowledge and skills available to CTU students, so that they can be among the top in Europe and the world," explains Aurél Gábris from the Department of Physics at the Faculty of Physics, who is in charge of the DigiQ project at CTU.

The European Union is trying to stay at the forefront of quantum technology development. The first quantum computers are gradually emerging, promising extraordinary computing power for the most demanding computing tasks that would take existing supercomputers thousands of years to complete. This is a technology that is, from the outset, quite different from conventional computers based on digital values of ones and zeros. Quantum communication networks, on the other hand, ensure completely secure communication that cannot be hacked in principle. These are the reasons why the world's leading powers are investing more and more resources in research and development of quantum technologies. And the demand for experts who understand these technologies is also growing significantly.  This is also why the European Union is investing billions of euros in various activities in the field of quantum technologies.

In addition to FJFI, the Faculty of Information Technology will also participate in the DigiQ project at CTU. A total of 13 scientists, mostly from the Department of Physics and the Department of Physical Electronics of the FJFI, are participating in the project in the Czech Republic. The internationally renowned research group Quantum Dynamics, Optics and Information at the Department of Physics will play a major role. The latter is working on quantum optics, quantum walks, quantum simulation, quantum computing and quantum networks. The Physical Electronics Department has strong expertise in theoretical and numerical modelling of photonic and plasmonic nanostructures.

The DigiQ project is partly related to another project supported by European funds - Quantum Flagship, or its educational and scientific part QTED Open Master, in which FJFI also participates. CTU is also, together with other members of the DigiQ consortium - Technical University of Munich (Munich, Germany), Technical University of Denmark (Lyngby, Denmark) - a member of the EuroTeQ alliance of universities.