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Ireland risks missing next wave of quantum technologies, experts warn

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Seamus Davis is among those calling for action

Seamus Davis is among those calling for action

Seamus Davis is among those calling for action

Leading scientists working in quantum technology research here and abroad have pointed to a risk that Ireland could miss out on the next wave of quantum tech without a clearly defined strategy to develop it.

Prof Seamus Davis, a world-renowned experimental quantum physicist who works between University College Cork and Oxford University, pointed to how Denmark and the Netherlands have concentrated on the sector in the past decade.

In 2017, Microsoft invested in a quantum computing R&D lab at Copenhagen University, while the Netherlands is ploughing €135m into a quantum technology institute.

Prof Davis said: "Most quantum discoveries haven't been made. We've already got US tech giants and other advanced tech firms here. Ireland could punch above its weight on the scientific side. It's about people, resources and a strategic decision being made. It's no longer a question of making a modest bet."

Dr Venkatesh Kannan, who heads a quantum computing project at the Irish Centre for High-End Computing, added: "Efforts to develop software, programming expertise and education programmes are very limited. They're needed alongside ICHEC's focus on developing commercial-scale quantum computers."

Dubliner Dr Joe Fitzsimons, founder of a quantum tech startup in Singapore, said: "Ireland is behind somewhat because the community of quantum researchers there is small."

Prof Mark Ferguson, head of Science Foundation Ireland, said: "We intend to strengthen our support of quantum technologies through further recruitment, specific research challenges, and by supporting Irish researchers to lead major research projects, for which the EU has a €5bn fund."

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