Quantum science is just getting started, and although we've already hit some important milestones in both theory and practice, basic research is still needed in just about every nook and cranny of the field. To that end the National Science Foundation has dedicated $75 million to the establishment of three brand new scientific institutes.
"Through the Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes, NSF is making targeted investments. Within five years, we are confident these institutes can make tangible advances to help carry us into a true quantum revolution," said the agency's director, Sethuraman Panchanathan, in a press release.
The three $25 million grants aren't for individual facilities but rather a community or researchers spread out over 16 academic institutions, eight national labs and 22 other partners.
Although each grant is meant to advance quantum science and engineering, each institute will be focusing on a different aspect:
The Institute for Enhanced Sensing and Distribution Using Correlated Quantum States will focus on creating sensors using quantum technology that could be more sensitive and accurate than anything used today. Led by the University of Colorado.
The Institute for Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks will build networks of small-scale quantum processors to design new algorithms and see if they can be used for practical purposes. Led by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
The Institute for Present and Future Quantum Computing will work to advance quantum computing into its next form: larger and more error-tolerant platforms that could outpace classical computers in ways that quiet the critics of quantum supremacy theory. Led by the University of California, Berkeley.
The hope, as with much fundamental research work, is to advance the science but also to engage students and graduates in this lively and relatively well-funded field.
The NSF has a number of other opportunities for quantum-related grants and collaborations, including for startups and smaller research projects — you can browse through them here.