2021 BIST Conference

Quantum Technologies: Present and Future

November 2-5 & 16, 2021 | La Pedrera Auditorium & Online

Please note there are a limited number of in-person spots available due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Spots will be made available through the BIST centres by invitation. 

The 2021 BIST Conference will focus on a key BIST research initiative: quantum technologies. Leading experts in the field will present and discuss the current status of quantum technologies in Catalonia, Europe, and the World, their applications in industry, and their influence in creative fields such as cinema. Four online satellite sessions (November 2, 4, 5 and 16) will complement the main conference on November 3.


We are amid the second quantum revolution, with enormous strides being made to exploit quantum physics for technological applications that will change life as we know it.

From smartphones, computers, GPS, and data security to traffic optimisation, weather monitoring, medical diagnostics, and drug design, quantum technologies have the potential to radically impact every facet of society. Quantum computers, the most well-known quantum technology, use the quantum properties of single atoms or particles of light and could perform complex computing tasks a normal computer would need millions of years to solve.

Research and development on quantum technologies has sped up in recent years, evolving from a niche area of research to a new source of practical technologies for research, industry, and government. More research is needed however, to reach the full potential of these technologies.

Once again, the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) invites its entire community and its many stakeholders and partners to meet at the annual BIST Conference, this year to discuss the status of and latest developments in quantum technologies, a key area of priority for BIST research.

The 2021 BIST Conference ‘Quantum Technologies: Present and Future’ will include keynote talks, round-tables, and satellite sessions with leading experts in the field of quantum research and its applications and influences. Professor Ignacio Cirac, Director and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, will give the opening keynote, exploring the current status of quantum technologies in Europe and globally. Closing the conference will be Professor Spyridon Michalakis, mathematical physicist at Caltech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, and science consultant for movies including Ant-Man and its sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, coming out in 2023.

The conference will also include two panel discussions: Quantum in Catalonia, where speakers will discuss the latest developments in Catalonia the areas of communication, simulations, computing, sensing, and infrastructures, and Quantum in Industry: Corporations and Spin-offs Developing Quantum Applications, with industry professional discussing existing and future applications of quantum technologies.

Finally, four satellite sessions will take place to complement the conference: How to Communicate Complex Scientific Topics (November 2), Presenting the research breakthroughs of the next generation of scientific leaders (November 4),  Wellbeing and mental health in science: towards a more enjoyable research career (November 5), and Què són i per què serveixen les tecnologies quàntiques (‘What are quantum technologies and what are they good for?’, delivered in Catalan for secondary school students and teachers on November 16, in the framework of the Setmana de la Ciència.)


Wednesday, November 3    Registration - Nov 3


9.00h Conference OpeningAlba Cervera Lierta, BSC
9.10h Welcome – Gabby Silberman, Director General of BIST
9.20h – 10.20h



Keynote speech

Overview of quantum technologies in Europe and in the world 

Ignacio Cirac, Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics

10.20h – 10.45h Coffee break
10.45h – 12.45h


Panel I: Quantum in Catalonia

Moderator: Verònica Ahufinger, Optics Group, Physics Department, UAB


  • Andreas Winter, Grup d’Informació Quàntica, UAB
  • Valerio Pruneri, ICFO


  • Anna Sanpera, Physics Department, UAB
  • Leticia Tarruell, ICFO


  • Artur García-Saez, BSC-CNS
  • Pol Forn-Díaz, IFAE


  • Morgan Mitchell, ICFO
  • Mario Martinez, IFAE


  • Jordi Arbiol, ICN2
  • Sara Martí-Sánchez, ICN2
12.45h – 15.00h Lunch break
15.00h – 16.30h Panel II: Quantum in Industry – Corporations and Spin-offs Developing Quantum Applications

Roundtable Moderator: Mar Galtés, Journalist & Writer, Corporate Development Director, Tech Barcelona


  • Rami Barends, Peter Grunberg Institute for Functional Quantum Systems, Julich Research Center (ex-Google)
  • Thomas Strohm, Bosch
  • Marta Pascual Estarellas, Qilimanjaro
  • Sebastian Etcheverry, Lux Quanta
  • Carlos Abellán, Quside
16.30h – 16:45h Coffee break
16.45h – 17.45h Keynote speech

The Quantum Realm goes to the movies: How quantum physics saved the multiverse, twice

Spyridon Michalakis, Mathematical Physicist (CalTech) and Cinema Science Consultant

17.45h Closing

Satellite Sessions

Tuesday, November 2    Registration - Nov 2

15.30h – 17.00h










How to Communicate Complex Scientific Topics


Communicating science effectively is challenging, especially with complex topics such as quantum physics and its applications. Increasing the public understanding of science is important for building a more informed society however, and we need ways to effectively engage and inform the public of scientific and technological advances.

This session offers us the opportunity to learn new ways of bringing complex scientific knowledge closer to society.

Moderator: Guillermo Orts, Head of Communications and Outreach at IBEC


  • José Luis Crespo, Quantum Fracture
  • José Ignacio Latorre, Quantum physicist and science disseminator. Scientific Advisor of CERN/CCCB’s “Quàntica” exhibition
  • Mónica Bello, Curator and Head of Arts at CERN. Co-curator of “Quàntica” exhibition


Thursday, November 4     Registration - Nov 4

15.30h – 17.00h








Presenting the research breakthroughs of the next generation of scientific leaders


This flash-talk session will give participants a glimpse into projects by the leaders of tomorrow. Our talented PREBIST and PROBIST fellows are part of H2020 European projects and come from all backgrounds and continents, working together to push the frontiers of today’s multidisciplinary scientific landscape ever further.

Moderator: Mónica Pérez-Temprano, Group Leader at ICIQ


  • Claudia Patricia Valdés (PROBIST), ICFO
  • Valentin Maffeis (PROBIST), ICIQ
  • Maria de la Cruz Cardeñosa (PROBIST), ICN2
  • Pablo Sanchez-Puertas (PROBIST), IFAE
  • Thomas Mortimer (PROBIST), IRB Barcelona
  • Craig Day (PREBIST), ICIQ
  • Clara Borràs (PREBIST), IRB Barcelona

Friday, November 5     Registration - Nov 5

12.30h – 14.00h








Wellbeing and mental health in science: towards a more enjoyable research career


Being a scientist comes with many demands and challenges. In this session, we will learn about the importance of a healthy work environment, wellbeing, and mental health. Experts in the field will guide us towards a more enjoyable research career by sharing experiences and providing helpful tips.

Moderator: Elena Redondo, Talent Programme Manager, BIST


  • Kate Jones, Head of Learning and Professional Development at Vitae (UK)
  • Elena Martínez, Talent & Training Deputy Director at IBEC
  • Victòria Conesa, psychologist and coach, director of Onbalance
  • Hanna Kranas, PhD Student at IRB Barcelona


Tuesday, November 16 (Setmana de la Ciència) 

Registration for schools / Registre per a escoles


11.30h – 12.30h











Què són i per què serveixen les tecnologies quàntiques?


In this session for 14-18 year old secondary school students, three researchers from three BIST centres (ICFO, ICN2, and IFAE) will explain in an engaging and inspiring way what quantum technologies are and why they have become so important. The session will be delivered in Catalan.

En aquesta sessió, adreçada a estudiants de segon cicle de secundària i batxillerat (14-18 anys), tres investigadors/es de l’ICFO, l’ICN2 i l’IFAE —tres centres BIST— explicaran d’una forma amena i entenedora què són les tecnologies quàntiques i per què han esdevingut tan importants.


Introduction and moderation: Federica Beduini, Outreach, ICFO


  • Maria Auxiliadora Padrón, Postdoctoral Researcher, ICFO
  • Sara Martí-Sánchez, Postdoctoral Researcher, ICN2
  • David López Núñez, PhD Student, IFAE


Ignacio Cirac
Director & Scientific Member (Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics)

Spyridon Michalakis
Mathematical Physicist, Outreach Manager (IQIM) & Science Consultant

Alba Cervera Lierta
Senior Researcher (Barcelona Supercomputing Center)

Verònica Ahufinger
Associate Professor, Quantum and Atom Optics Group (UAB)

Andreas Winter
ICREA Professor, Quantum Information Group (UAB)

Valerio Pruneri
Group Leader, ICREA Professor (ICFO)

Anna Sanpera Trigueros
ICREA Professor, Physics Department (UAB)

Leticia Tarruell
Group Leader (ICFO)

Artur García-Saez
Recognised Researcher (BSC-CNS)

Pol Forn-Díaz
Group Leader (IFAE)

Morgan Mitchell
Group Leader, ICREA Professor (ICFO)

Mario Martínez
Group Leader, ICREA Professor, Head of Experimental Division (IFAE)

Jordi Arbiol
Group Leader, ICREA Professor (ICN2)

Sara Martí-Sánchez
Postdoctoral Researcher, ICN2

Mar Galtés
Journalist & Writer, Corporate Development Officer, Tech Barcelona

Rami Barends
Peter Grunberg Institute for Functional Quantum Systems, Julich Research Center (ex-Google)

Thomas Strohm
Senior Research Scientist (Bosch)

Marta Pascual Estarellas
Senior Quantum Engineer (Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech)

Sebastian Etcheverry
Chief Technology Officer (LuxQuanta)

Carlos Abellán
Cofounder & CEO (Quside)

Guillermo Orts
Head of Communications and Outreach (IBEC)

José Luis Crespo
Founder & Director (Quantum Fracture)

José Ignacio Latorre
Quantum physicist and scientific advisor of CERN/CCCB’s “Quàntica” exhibition

Mónica Bello
Curator and Head of Arts at CERN. Co-curator of “Quàntica” exhibition

Mónica Pérez-Temprano
Group Leader (ICIQ)

Claudia Patricia Valdés

Valentin Maffeis

Maria de la Cruz Cardeñosa

Pablo Sanchez-Puertas

Thomas Mortimer
PROBIST Fellow (IRB Barcelona)

Craig Day

Clara Borràs
PREBIST Fellow (IRB Barcelona)

Elena Redondo
Talent Programme Manager, (BIST)

Kate Jones
Head of Learning and Professional Development at Vitae (UK)

Elena Martínez
Talent & Training Deputy Director (IBEC)

Victòria Conesa
Psychologist and coach, director of Onbalance

Hanna Kranas
PhD Student at IRB Barcelona

Federica Beduini
Outreach (ICFO)

BIST centres

Institutional Members of the Board of Trustees