09 Quantum Communications
06 Quantum Computing & Simulation
Societal Impact
13 September 2022Juliette de la Rie

3 questions to Ulrich Mans about QDNL’s white paper

Mapping quantum’s global supply chains

Today, Quantum Delta NL published a white paper on supply chains for quantum technology. The paper was prepared with the support of TNO and includes a unique methodology to assess and visualise supply chains for critical components needed to develop quantum computing hardware. It highlights the number of suppliers for each of the components, as well as the potential for EU suppliers to oer the same product.

Ulrich Mans, Strategic Partnerships Lead at QDNL, answered 3 questions on the why and how of the paper.

Quantum is a global tech race. Why does Quantum Delta NL focus on Europe?

Quantum is a highly complex technology field. We need the best people from all over the world to help us move closer to systems that are fully functional. The good news is that the European ecosystem is well-positioned in quantum: our researchers and start- ups are leading in many of the areas that will determine whether we can accelerate the transition from academia to industrial application.

At Quantum Delta NL we believe that a single nation cannot succeed in building a quantum sector. Our national quantum ambitions need a strong, interconnected European ecosystem – if we want to create a viable quantum industry.

This is why we invest heavily in working with our European partners on all fronts: quantum computing, communications and sensing. To be clear, this is not an exclusive focus. In quantum, like many other high-tech sectors, we need to join forces with our non-EU partners – whether it is about talent, investments or standard setting. This is why we work very closely with the leading quantum nations in the rest of the world, in particular with the United States and Japan.

It is still early days for quantum. Why a white paper on supply chains?

New technology comes with great responsibility. Quantum has the potential to have a major impact on Europe’s digital infrastructure – and on its future economy. This means that we cannot wait until the technology is fully developed. We have to look ahead and ask ourselves: what are the potential consequences for the technology sector, and for future customers in the healthcare, telecom, automotive or financial industries?

Our team decided to give priority to the potential impact on (future) supply chains. We began working on the first project back in 2021. Even though it is too early to speak about ‘supply chain management’ in the quantum sector, it is not too early to get started. When you look at today’s hardware developments, you can already see where things are going – and in which areas we might see potential bottlenecks. For example, we want to prevent our scientific labs and start-ups from being dependent on a single supplier for critical sub-components. And we would like to explore which components could be produced in the EU. Mapping helps to make such an analysis.

As a first step, we developed a unique methodology to assess the supply chains for quantum computing hardware. With this white paper, we hope to continue our conversations with universities, companies and policy-makers about how these insights can support the growth of the European quantum ecosystem.

What are the next steps?

We are working with a number of partners to expand the current assessment methodology. For example, we would like to add more data points from other EU countries (we started with our national information), make it broader (add more hardware platforms), and explore how we can use quantitative data (trade data for example). At the same time, we have already started with the next phase: assessing the supply chain for quantum communications technology.

We expect the first results in October and will present our findings at an expert meeting in Brussels. We are also exploring supply chains for pilot lines for chips manufacturing. Stay tuned!

Download the white papers here:

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