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European Innovation Council
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EIC Pathfinder Challenge: Alternative approaches to Quantum Information Processing, Communication, and Sensing


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The Quantum Flagship is currently focused on mainstream quantum technologies, in qubit implementation, sensors and other areas. Nevertheless, alternative implementations/platforms and so far, unexploited (controllable) quantum principles exist and could become key elements in future quantum systems. Such new implementations and principles could lead to breakthrough innovations and enable new players to offer unique solutions for the architecture and critical building blocks of new quantum systems. This could represent a significant opportunity for European researchers and companies in this competitive field.

The scope of this call is to develop innovative approaches to encoding, manipulating, or storing information in quantum objects, or to exploiting quantum phenomena for information processing, communication, and sensing in a way that differs from the mainstream approaches currently being pursued in quantum research. Proposals should clearly identify the limits of the current quantum information processing paradigms they are trying to improve upon and propose relevant metrics to track progress and demonstrate success or a superior paradigm compared with conventional quantum information processing approaches.

Specific objectives  

The proposals under this EIC Pathfinder Challenge:

  • are expected to contribute to the development of information processing, communication or sensing components, for terrestrial or space applications, exhibiting similar advantages to the mainstream quantum technology approaches, in terms of sensitivity, accuracy, energy efficiency, etc;
  • should describe how their proposed information processing or communication system would be controlled and could lead to the development of an information processing or communication device using a non-classical information theory approach;
  • should aim to show how information processing or communications principles and architectures would be developed that demonstrate a clear and quantifiable advantage with respect to classical approaches and mainstream quantum technology alternatives. This should be applicable to a class of relevant problems or applications;
  • should show how the foundations for novel approaches to encoding, manipulating, and storing information that could lead to practical applications would be established. Such novel approaches could find their roots in, for example, new phases of matter, exotic physical systems, biological systems, or other approaches;
  • should describe how the proposed information processing or communication system would be controlled, programmed, and measured and should address relevant interfacing aspects.

Expected outcomes and impacts

This EIC Pathfinder Challenge aims at the following:

  • technology breakthroughs that form the basis for future information processing, communication, and sensing technologies on ground and in space;
  • synergetic collaboration with existing European platforms, infrastructures, and innovation eco-systems in quantum technology;
  • increased diversity of information processing technologies platforms exploiting non-classical information theory approaches.

The activity must clearly achieve the proof of principle and validate the scientific basis of the breakthrough technology (TRL starting at 2 and reaching 3-4). Proposals are expected to demonstrate collaboration in order to create a critical mass of cooperation between EU research, industry and other relevant actors in the emerging area of quantum information processing. The overall goals are to enable new players to offer unique solutions as building blocks for new information processing or communication systems, and to foster the interdisciplinary communities and innovation eco-systems that are driving this forward.

For more details, see 

EIC work programme - 2022
(1.76 MB - PDF)
2022 Challenge Guide: Alternative approaches to Quantum Information Processing, Communication, and Sensing
(818 KB - PDF)


How to apply

The call deadline for submitting your proposal is 19 October 2022 at 17.00 Brussels local time. (The call will open on 15 June 2022. The Director-General responsible for the call may decide to open the call up to one month prior to or after the envisaged date(s) of opening. The Director-General responsible may delay the deadline(s) by up to two months).

You must submit your proposal via the Funding & tender opportunities portal.

Sections 1 to 3 of the part B of your proposal, corresponding respectively to the award criteria Excellence, Impact, and Quality and Efficiency of the Implementation, must consist of a maximum of 25 A4 pages. For more details, see the EIC Work Programme 2022.

You will be informed about the outcome of the evaluation 5 months after call deadline (indicative), and your grant agreement will be signed by 8 months after call deadline (indicative).