Backed by the National Quantum Strategy, NGen and DIGITAL team up to launch $30 million for quantum projects

Global innovation clusters NGen and DIGITAL announced yesterday that they have partnered to launch C$30 million in projects aimed at driving the commercialization of quantum technologies.

NGen, based in Hamilton, Ont., is a global innovation cluster for advanced manufacturing while DIGITAL, formerly known as the Digital Technology Supercluster, is a global innovation cluster for digital technologies based in Vancouver, B.C..

The clusters will receive C$14 million under the National Quantum Strategy, which they seek to leverage with partners to attract more than C$30 million in total investments for the quantum projects.

NGen and DIGITAL will conduct the project selection process in parallel and then identify which clusters are best suited to undertake each project. Those projects, which are slated to be completed by March 2028, will be funded on a reimbursement basis.

Over the coming weeks, the clusters will provide more information on the mechanics of the program, including priority sectors for applications and a formal call for proposals, as well as eligibility criteria for the projects.

The release, however, notes that the quantum projects will focus on the following key areas:

  1. Quantum sensors – photonics and transducers, chip-based quantum systems
  2. Quantum networks – quantum communications, quantum key distribution, quantum internet
  3. Quantum computing – quantum software, cryptography, algorithms, information processing, hybrid applications, hardware, and middleware

This five-year funding initiative will see the two clusters working with companies to develop their projects and create strategies to protect and commercialize their intellectual property (IP) as well as identifying project partners.

“We’re set up to invest in collaborative projects,” said chief executive officer (CEO) of Ngen, Jayson Myers. “Quantum is a really powerful technology on its own. But it needs to be integrated with other technologies. It’s fabulous computing power, but what are you computing and how are you computing?”

The key to quantum being successful, he added, is that it’s able to leverage other technologies and that it is focused on a particular problem or application.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne praised the work of the innovation clusters and said that these cutting-edge projects will shape the future, support a resilient economy and give Canada a competitive edge for decades to come.

The government’s C$360 million commitment to R&D, developing and retaining quantum talent, and commercialization of quantum products under the National Quantum Strategy, announced earlier this year, is the single biggest investment made towards the budding technology.

Myers explained that while Canada is leading in R&D, the country is not in a position to fully take advantage of quantum. And the technology is not going to be used for everything or be meant to tear down existing computing systems. It’s “a whole level up”, he said, be it to enable applications of AI, autonomy, and control, or developing new materials for EVs or batteries.

But what would get Canada ready for quantum, he said, is the pace at which companies can demonstrate the use cases of their quantum projects, scale these capabilities in Canada itself, and be able to commercialize on a global level.

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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