DigiQ: boosting talent and teaching resources in quantum technology

By December 9, 2022BIST Community, ICFO, ICN2, IFAE

The DigiQ project, a higher education initiative to help face the global challenge of digital transformation, aims to promote training for professionals and create innovative teaching resources in quantum technologies. The Master in Quantum Science and Technology Barcelona, which includes participation from three centres in the BIST Community (ICN2, ICFO, and IFAE) will also be part of DigiQ.

DigiQ (Digitally Enhanced Quantum Technology Master), a new European initiative based on a previous project by the Quantum Flagship and coordinated by the University of Aarhus (DK), aims to drive transformation of the education ecosystem by introducing a number of educational innovations and a multinational programme structure to prepare the workforce and talent for future quantum technologies. It is funded by a €17.6 million grant over four years through the European Commission’s Digital Europe Programme.

Twenty universities from ten European countries will participate in DigiQ. The Master in Quantum Science and Technology Barcelona, which is coordinated by the University of Barcelona, and includes participation from three centres in the BIST Community (ICN2, ICFO, and IFAE) will be part of DigiQ as well.

Quantum technologies: a revolution in knowledge
The DigiQ project is funded by the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL), the first finance tool from the European Commission aimed at enforcing the advanced digital competencies in areas of public interest and in the private sector and, thus, accelerate the economic recovery. During the 2021-2027 period, this programme will boost the resources and know-how in the field of supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, training of advanced digital skills, and the generalisation of the use of digital technologies in all society sectors. In this international context of challenges, quantum technologies are an essential element in the ecosystem of the emerging digital technologies in Europe.

DigiQ, led by Aarhus University (Denmark), will become a turning point in higher education and training in quantum technologies in Europe, and it will have a total of 16 new specialised master’s programmes.

Preparing professionals and the talent for future quantum technologies is crucial if European companies want to play an outstanding role in the international markets over the next years”, comments Prof. Jacob Sherson, member of Aarhus University and coordinator of this project. “With DigiQ’s educational innovations in the quantum field, we are not only creating a working force ready in quantum technologies but also methods that can inform about the future transformations, which are necessary in other advanced areas, such as artificial intelligence, data science and robotics”, concludes the coordinator.

About the Master in Quantum Science and Technology
The Master’s degree in Quantum Science and Technology, coordinated by Prof. Bruno Juliá, member of the Faculty of Physics and the Institute of Cosmos Sciences (ICCUB) at the UB, was launched during the 2021-2022 academic year, at the same time as the emerging community in quantum technologies, QuantumCat, was set up. This degree enables students to acquire advanced knowledge in order to conduct state-of-the-art research —both theoretical and experimental— in quantum simulation, quantum computing, quantum sensing, quantum communications, and other formal aspects.

From the master’s coordination section we participated actively in the work of the DigiQ project, which will define higher education in quantum sciences and technologies in Europe and will enhance all the participating European programmes,” comments Prof. Bruno Juliá. “In our case, it will allow us to improve training in many aspects, such as promoting student exchanges between European institutions, enriching subjects with content developed at the consortium, adding experimental sessions to existing subjects and, in general, providing our students with the opportunity to be part of this project.”

DigiQ: challenges and innovation in higher education
DigiQ is the result of two pilot efforts promoted by the scientific community as part of the QTEdu CSA Project: the open master on quantum technology, coordinated by Aarhus University and the Czech Technical University in Prague (Czech Republic), and the quantum technology programme “Empowering the Future Experts in Quantum Science and Technology for Europe”, launched by the University of Strasbourg (France) and Heidelberg University (Germany).

Students taking part in the DigiQ project will access remote experiments and the top-level quantum facilities, besides having a wide range of specialised courses to take place in situ and under a blended learning format. The programme will allocate funding to travel grants and will promote work placements through research and internships in the industry in a sector with more than 100 businesses and laboratories in Europe. At the same time, all the teaching resources carried out in the DigiQ project will be available for free to all stakeholders in Europe.

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