Quantum technologies: Assessing Switzerland’s competitive landscape

Quantum technologie s

In the global race for quantum technology leadership, Switzerland is at a pivotal juncture in maintaining its competitive edge in innovation. Quantum physics, with its potential to revolutionize computing, communication, and encryption, stands as the frontier of scientific and economic advancement. Despite recognizing this potential, Switzerland's investment in quantum technology falls short compared to its global counterparts.

Nicolas Gisin, Head of the Chair of Quantum Physics at Constructor Institute of Technology in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, President of the Swiss Quantum Initiative, and co-founder of ID Quantique, highlighted the urgency of the situation in a recent interview with SwissQuote Magazine. "The potential applications of quantum physics are immense," Gisin remarked. "It would be catastrophic if Switzerland missed out on this technological shift."

While countries like the United States, China, and various European nations invest billions into quantum research, Switzerland's efforts appear modest, with only CHF 5 million annually allocated to the Swiss Quantum Initiative for 2023 and 2024. In contrast, the United States has allocated nearly $1 billion annually to quantum-related projects since 2018 through its National Quantum Initiative, and China has invested $10 billion in its National Quantum Laboratory. Meanwhile, the European Union has committed one billion euros over ten years to its Quantum Flagship program, supplemented by significant national investments from member states like Germany and France.

The repercussions of Switzerland's lag in quantum investment are significant. While fundamental research may receive support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), applied research and industrial development suffer. Swiss start-ups lack crucial EU subsidies for R&D, and established companies face barriers in accessing the broader European quantum market. This exclusion prompts companies like ID Quantique to establish branches abroad, with the announcement of a new branch in Vienna, Austria, to maintain participation in the Quantum Flagship program, further eroding Switzerland's competitiveness.

Switzerland's exclusion from European initiatives not only hampers its quantum endeavors but also undermines its global competitiveness. At the heart of the matter lies the imperative for Swiss policymakers to navigate the complexities of international collaboration and negotiation. While joining Horizon Europe appears crucial, it is only part of the solution. According to Gisin, Swiss policymakers must prioritize quantum technology and secure inclusion in European programs like the Quantum Flagship program. Failure to do so risks squandering Switzerland's potential and exacerbating its technological marginalization.

Switzerland stands at a crossroads. The implications of Switzerland's exclusion from European initiatives extend beyond mere financial concerns. It undermines the country's competitiveness in a field poised to shape the future of technology and industry. As Gisin emphasizes, "Switzerland needs to wake up, because the time to act is now."

Join us at Constructor Institute of Technology in Schaffhausen, where innovation knows no borders. Explore our quantum programs and be part of Switzerland's quantum revolution: https://institute.constructor.org