Atom (drawing)
9 January 2020

Quantum plan

Amid the submission of the parliamentary report "Quantum: the technological revolution France fully intends to embrace", French ministers announced the creation of a taskforce bringing State representatives together alongside its research (CEA, INRIA and CNRS) and financial (BPI and SGPI) operators.

On 9 January, Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Cédric O, Minister of State for the Digital Sector, received the conclusions of the parliamentary report written by Paula Forteza, LREM MP for French citizens abroad (2nd constituency), Jean-Paul Herteman, Honorary Chair of GIFAS and former CEO of Safran, and Iordanis Kerenidis, Research Director at the CNRS.

In the medium term, the economic stakeholders who embrace quantum technology and computers are set to gain an undeniable strategic advantage, not least in the fields of molecular medicine, logistics, CO2 capture and storage, the manufacture of “green” fertilisers, advanced material design and geological exploration.

The report outlines six strategic recommendations:

1. Deploy cutting-edge quantum computing infrastructure for research and industry

The roll-out, on French soil, of world-class infrastructure incorporating different quantum accelerators and simulators grounded in a range of technological principles could act as a powerful driver, particularly helping providers of world-class French and European quantum computer providers to emerge.

Closer cooperation with European partners, Germany in particular, could pave the way to a joint provision and portal, aimed at providing access to the full range of European quantum computing technologies.

2. Launch an ambitious technological development programme

With research & technological development programmes involving public and private stakeholders alike, France will have:
  • the means to overcome the various scientific and technological barriers to the development of quantum computing;
  • the necessary cryptographic devices for securing sensitive communication in the quantum era.

3. Implement a programme for supporting the development of applications

“Quantum challenges" involving application as well as technology sectors, in both the fields of quantum computing and quantum sensors, would help not only to strengthen the competitiveness of sectors downstream but also to secure the short-term opportunities for the technology sectors.

4. Create an effective environment for innovation

The creation of quantum centres based on research & development clusters with international recognition for their academic and industrial expertise alike would be instrumental in achieving interdisciplinary exchanges. By developing skills and accessing high-quality venture capital, the barriers to innovation and to the creation of start-ups can be lifted – a key stage in technology transfer to the economic fabric.

5. Deliver a tailored economic security strategy

France’s position in terms of quantum technology is drawing the attention of certain organisations or States to the French ecosystem and to certain global leaders. Protection of scientific and technological assets and economic diplomacy will be the pillars underpinning an effective economic intelligence strategy.

6. Establish effective governance

In light of the uncertainties over some development pathways for quantum technologies, the long timelines for action and the capital deepening required, the State will need to adopt agile governance and decision-making powers, involving the State, research organisations and manufacturers.

The taskforce set up this year is thus in charge of drawing up, within the framework of the Productivity Pact, the multiannual research programming act and the Investments for the Future Programme (PIA), a detailed road map for addressing the report’s six recommendations.

This road map, expected during the first quarter of 2020, will specify the five-year agenda for each ministry and operator as well as the State, private and European sources of funding for the quantum plan.