$25 million for Quantum Engineering Programme

Singapore's National Research Foundation is funding QEP, with CQT's Kwek Leong Chuan as a co-director, to drive translation of quantum science and technology
18 September 2018

Codirectors of the Singapore Quantum Engineering Programme The $25 million Quantum Engineering Programme will be co-directed by Kwek Leong Chuan (left) and John Thong (right).

Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF) will invest $25 million over five years in a new Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP), it was announced on 17 September. CQT’s Kwek Leong Chuan is a co-director of the initiative, along with John Thong from the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

QEP will build engineering capabilities in quantum secure communication, quantum devices, and quantum networks.

“Singapore has been actively involved in quantum research for about 20 years. The timely establishment of this new programme will attract more people working in engineering to contribute to these efforts, so that in the long run, we can play a greater role in commercialising quantum technologies,” said Kwek, who is a Principal Investigator at CQT who also holds an appointment with the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

The programme was announced by Singapore’s Minister for Finance and Chairman of NRF, Heng Swee Keat, who said it is “related to our efforts to help Singapore’s industries compete at the global forefront of innovation and enterprise, by tapping world-class expertise in our scientific research community.” He was speaking at the official opening of the annual Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology.

With the new funding, the goal is to translate quantum science and technology into engineering devices and capabilities that meet industry needs.

“The programme will connect Singapore researchers in quantum information, photonics devices, system engineering together with industry partners from the onset of the translation and development process to advance quantum technologies. Through this, we also build up a strong base of engineering talent who can tackle the technologically challenging aspects of fabricating quantum devices,” said George Loh, Director (Programmes) at NRF.

A Steering Committee, chaired by Chua Kee Chaing, Dean of NUS Engineering and having CQT’s Director Artur Ekert as a member, will oversee the QEP. NUS will host the programme office for the national initiative.

“QEP is an exciting and ambitious R&D programme that will accelerate the translation of research in quantum phenomena into robust and scalable quantum technologies,” said John Thong, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Research under QEP will create commercialisation opportunities in quantum cryptography to safeguard against cybersecurity threats, a robust ground-based time network, enhanced imaging and sensing technology and advanced manufacturing capability.

Funding will be awarded in grants of up to $5 million, with the work undertaken by publicly-funded researchers, in collaboration with local and international industry partners.

Find media coverage of the launch by Channel News Asia, The Straits Times, Yahoo News! and others.

Update: In February 2019, NRF announced seven projects to be funded under the Quantum Engineering Programme - find a full listing here - with CQT PIs leading two projects and participating in three others.