On January 21, French President Emmanuel Macron presented a national strategy for quantum technological development. The plan is designed to transform France’s IT and technology industries. It will last for five years and is worth €1.8 billion. France can potentially become a world leader in the quantum industry with the help of this new strategy.
For the next five years, the French government will release €200 million annually, which totals up to €1 billion. The remaining €800 million will come from different sources. €500 million will be from members of the industry, €200 million will come from European funding, and French startup investors will contribute the remaining €100 million.
Half of the announced public funds originate from the Future Investment Programme, and the other half will come from a number of companies involved in the quantum industry, such as Inria, CNRS, and CEA among others.
President Macron claims that by tripling France’s financial effort, the proud nation will join the leading trio quantum nations, after the United States and China.
The strategy has two main axes, namely technological development and strengthening French innovation. Technological development must start from the beginning, from concept to consumer product. On the other hand, France must also train personnel to enter the local quantum industry and recruit talented experts to bolster its scientific community.
In the strategy, the funds are neatly divided into specific parts. €430 million will be used to work on a universal quantum computer. €350 million will go to quantum simulation projects. Quantum communication will require €320 million, quantum sensors €250 million, and €150 million are going to see use in other quantum technologies and equipment such as cryogenics. If the strategy is executed well, France has a chance of being the first state to complete a general-purpose quantum computer prototype.
The January 2020 report called ‘Quantum: the technological shift that France will not miss’ is the inspiration behind this strategy. The report showed that French research was brilliant but financially, the country was not equipped for making innovations a reality. Investments and transferring technologies to the industry were sorely lacking. With the help of the plan, about 100 thesis grants and around 50 post-doctoral contracts can be financed to help quantum talent enter the industry. This makes it possible to finance ten new quantum prospective personnel a year.