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Finnish Quantum Flagship receives significant funding – Tampere University participates in quantum matter research

The Finnish Quantum Flagship received its first round of funding from the Research Council of Finland in January 2024. @ Mikko Raskinen/Aalto University

The Research Council of Finland awarded €13 million to the Finnish Quantum Flagship (FQF) project. Tampere University is one of the home organisations for the quantum matter research programme, which is one of the Flagships’ five main programmes. The programme includes research on current solid-state quantum materials and considers their applications in such fields as quantum information technology. The research group led by Professor Teemu Ojanen, focuses on topological and strongly correlated matter in the programme.

The topological substances studied by the Theory of quantum matter research group have very exceptional material properties that stem from exotic quantum physics phenomena. The theoretical understanding of strongly correlated materials is very challenging due to the quantum entanglement of many particles.

“Regardless of possible future applications of quantum matter, the research programme is pure curiosity driven basic scientific research which probes the boundaries of the possible and the impossible,” Ojanen mentions.

He emphasises the possibilities quantum simulations and quantum information allows for new methods in the study of quantum materials.

“It is possible that in the time frame of the flagship, the quantum computers now under construction can help understand the use of complex materials,” he notes.

The Flagship strengthens Finnish expertise in quantum technology

The Finnish Quantum Flagship (FQF) project was added to the Research Council of Finland’s flagship programme in October 2023. The funding awarded now is for the first five years of the programme.

The flagship, planned for eight years, i.e. from 2024 to 2031, will start operating in the beginning of 2024. FQF comprises the following host organisations: Aalto University (coordinator), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä, Tampere University, the University of Oulu, and CSC – IT Center for Science.

According to FQF Director, Professor of Physics at Aalto University Peter Liljeroth, the launching of this flagship will serve as a catalyst in bolstering Finland’s excellency in education, research, and industrial development in quantum technologies internationally.

“With funding in hand, FQF is now armed with the necessary resources to broaden interdisciplinary quantum expertise and translate it beyond the scientific community. This is important. Finland is one of the known forerunners in quantum technologies, and our national collaboration is flexible. Although global competition is getting fierce, the spirit of collaboration among Finnish universities, research institutions, government agencies, and industrial partners is what sets us apart from other countries,” Liljeroth says.

Support for building co-operation and increasing competence

Other than sponsoring cross-collaboration between the dozens of research groups in FQF, the newly awarded funds will be used to attract, train, and retain international talent – a major challenge in the field and a key focus area for the flagship. In addition, the funds will be used to initiate new research activities and industrial endeavours, as well as to raise awareness of quantum technology in Finnish society via open-access educational programmes and trainings.

In addition to the funding granted now, the Research Council of Finland is supporting doctoral researchers via the flagships with a new doctoral education pilot. The first phase of the pilot begins in autumn 2024, when a group of doctoral students begin their work at the Computational Physics Laboratory.

The flagship is building cooperation in Europe and with the United States based on official declarations. In the future, particular emphasis will be placed on strengthening the networks between the Nordic countries.

FQF is hosted within InstituteQ, which is the Finnish quantum institute, founded in 2021 between Aalto University, VTT and the University of Helsinki, serving as an umbrella collaborative organisation in quantum science and technology.

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