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Chips Act: ‘Goal is not to beat competition, but to become autonomous’ 

 

Experts call for focus on quantum computing in Chips Act 

 

Upscaling and investing in quantum computing should be integrated in the European Chips Act as the EU is a promising leader in this field, experts urged at the European Innovation Area Summit in Brussels (28 June). 

 

Policy, industry and science representatives discussed the connection between quantum technology and the upcoming Chips Act at the European Innovation Area Summit, which is under the patronage of the European Parliament. 

 

“While for semiconductors, the EU is lagging behind so much already”, the EU shall invest in the next technologies, such as quantum computing, “where the EU is actually a leader”, Dutch MEP and member of the file’s leading European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Tom Berendsen said. 

 

Although the Chips Act also aims to make the EU competitive in semiconductor supply chains, the main driving force is to become “strategically autonomous”, Berendsen added. 

 

Cooperation among member states emerged to be an important asset within the European Union that could help achieve this goal. 

 

“We will never have the same money as in the US or in Asia, but we have the cooperation,” Berendsen said. 

 

Experts’ demands

 

While the EU is leading the research in quantum computing, it is not really in the application state yet, according to Menno Veldhorst, team leader at the quantum research institute QuTech. 

 

In order to move forward, further research as well as up-scaling in the production is needed, the experts agreed. This shall be achieved through increased investments and pilot lines via the Chips Act. 

 

The different types of quantum physics have different issues and also varying solutions, according to Kristiaan De Greve, professor and scientific director and program director quantum computing at IMEC. 

 

While for quantum computing, upscaling and noise control could be achieved via foundries, quantum communication and quantum sensing’s cost, mass-deployment and market adoption could be bridged via pilot lines as they are growth enablers, he argued. 

 

Collaborations among RTOs, Research and Technology organisations, are already occurring, but they should be further fostered, said Maud Vinet, the Quantum hardware program director at the research institute Leti.

 

“Collaborations are important to avoid wasteful duplications,” said Kristiaan De Greve respectively.  

 

While the EU Chips Act very much focuses on innovation and capacity building, experts also emphasised that already existing infrastructure should not be left behind and that first, capability building should be tackled before increasing capacities. 

 

The issue of attracting new talent was also addressed. “We should start with the young people in order to build the ecosystem, i.e. with the universities and Start-ups,” Somya Gupta from QuTech added. 

 

State of the Chips Act 

 

The Chips Act consists of three pillars, namely 1) the support of large-scale technological capacity building and innovation in cutting-edge chips; 2) a new framework to attract large-scale investments in production capacities and ensure the security of supply;

3) a coordination mechanism between the Member States and the Commission to monitor market developments and anticipate crises.

 

According to MEP Berendsen, the first pillar should not be too problematic when entering the discussions on the file. 

 

The second pillar, however, must make sure that not only a few countries will benefit, alluding to the level playing field theme that also emerged at a debate at the Competitiveness Council on 9 June: Several MEPs had emphasised that all companies from big and small countries across all member states should be integrated. 

 

The third pillar leads to the question whether there “should be an instrument that if we produce the Chips on EU soil, should we export them in case of shortages,” Berendsen said. 

 

The upcoming Czech Council Presidency has taken over the file and will organise a first drafting session on 21 June and the Industry Council Working party will discuss it on 8 and 15 July.

 

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