Imperial College London

Imperial’s Provost urges global collaboration in quantum research in Brussels

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Man in lab

Professor Ian Walmsley spoke about quantum technologies and collaboration at the Brussels-based Science Business conference yesterday.

Imperial’s Provost Professor Ian Walmsley set out how essential international collaboration is for research in quantum technologies at the Brussels-based Science Business conference yesterday. Opening the session entitled Quantum tech: Will a global strategy emerge? Professor Walmsley explained why quantum technology is so promising. He then joined in a discussion on whether the world should be competing or cooperating on the development of urgent new technologies like quantum and how open or closed flagship programmes like Horizon Europe should be.  

He was joined by other distinguished panellists Member of the European Parliament and Imperial alumna Maria da Graca Carvalho, Yuko Harayama, Executive Director of Japanese research institute RIKEN and Antoine Petit, Chairman and Chief Executive of France’s CNRS.

Collectively, we have best chance to find the ideas that will be transformative in the field. Professor Ian Walmsley Provost

Professor Walmsley set out that the barriers to applying and scaling quantum technologies have only really being understood in last years, making collaboration important. "Collectively, we have best chance to find the ideas that will be transformative in the field," he said, adding that "competition and collaboration are both vital to any development of technology but we need to manage the trade-offs. Early-stage collaboration followed by later-stage competition might be the best recipe for success." 

The panel agreed that collaboration in particular in early stages was essential and discussed ways in which policymakers can manage the tension between competition and collaboration. Approaching this on a case-by-case basis, with clear frameworks and at higher stages of development emerged as a possible solution. The panel closed with emphasising the importance of involving the public in these discussions. 

Key points from the event are available on the Science Business site

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Lisa Bungeroth

Lisa Bungeroth
Office of the President

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