These technologies, that are in a fledgling state but have huge future potential, are already present in research fields in Gipuzkoa.
Why quantum technologies?
Quantum technologies attempt to take advantage of properties that appear on a microscopic scale on which the laws of quantum physics now apply and not Newtonian laws. These phenomena that occur on a subatomic scale will make it possible to produce highly disruptive technologies with a huge impact on society.
Quantum technologies will represent a paradigm shift in many fields. Quantum computing will allow us solve problems that have been impossible to solve up to now, and to facilitate the optimization and evolution of artificial intelligence or the handling of large amounts of data.
Quantum technologies will make it possible to create a large number of applications in practically all sectors: communications and encryption, medicine, transport, industry,… With the aim of playing a leading role or not getting left behind in these future technologies, significant investments are being made in all developed countries; there is an international movement to explore, research into, develop, experiment with and take advantage of them. In the Basque Country we have also made a commitment to these technologies. As a result of this, the Euskadi Next Basque Recovery and Resilience programme and the IKUR strategy include quantum technologies as one of the very few areas that have been selected.
Although these technologies are at an incipient stage, Gipuzkoa has research groups working on them in various centres, such as the Donostia International Physics Center, MPC, CIC NANOGUNE, or TECNUN, and a start-up has already been created, MULTIVERSE. Gipuzkoa has a series of companies that could apply these technologies and has a favourable surrounding ecosystem.
What has been done up to now?
Based on this existing ecosystem, work has been begun to construct Gipuzkoa Quantum, that is, to make Gipuzkoa a Quantum Technology Hub. This is not so much a physical centre, as a commitment by the Territory which brings together the capacities that exist under the umbrella of a strategy, and detects the needs that will make it possible to construct this hub and the necessary resources to achieve this.
To do this, Gipuzkoa Provincial Council began to work to establish certain foundations, connections and a strategy. So, in September 2021 an action protocol was signed with the Basque Government to launch a Quantum Technology Hub in San Sebastián. This protocol is considered to be a model for what we want to achieve in the field of Quantum Strategy Governance, which is collaboration, cooperation, and ensuring that working to achieve this aim for Gipuzkoa is in line with the policies established for the Basque Country. Furthermore, as part of the Gipuzkoa Next funding line, the Quantum Technology area has been selected and research projects have been launched. In addition, work was carried out throughout 2021 on defining a strategy in the field of Quantum Technology that would allow us to move forward and construct the Hub in Gipuzkoa.
Why in Gipuzkoa?
The main aim is to make Gipuzkoa a quantum technology hub, which entails facing up to challenges related to the need to generate advanced knowledge, to have infrastructures available that enable scientific progress and to apply this in real cases, to have people able to generate and apply this knowledge, to enhance the creation of new businesses that can make these profitable, and to achieve all this in a small province, with limited resources in emerging technologies. They are demanding challenges. However, we are not starting out from scratch, we already have an ecosystem that works, there are research groups, there are dynamic innovative companies, there is an established system of support for entrepreneurship and there is a willingness to face the challenges and tools to address them. These challenges are demanding but achievable.
What is the strategy and the next steps?
The strategy sets out activities in 4 core areas:
Based on which an action plan will be launched that will make it possible to develop industrial projects, generate and attract talent, create new businesses, search for funding and create an ecosystem.
We have started out on the path of supporting research in these technologies and this year in 2022 we want to take a step further along these lines, by boosting the introduction of quantum technologies in businesses. At this stage it is necessary to continue working on developing the actions set out in the strategy, detecting any international developments that occur in a sphere that is constantly evolving, connecting the various nodes that provide to be significant in this field, and taking advantage of the funding tools that are being created. In short, we want to progress and make the Quantum Technology Hub in Gipuzkoa a reality.