Quantum Computing

University of Michigan Launches $55 Million Quantum Institute to Accelerate Research, Education

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Insider Summary

  • The University of Michigan invests $55 million in the Quantum Research Institute.
  • The Quantum Research Institute will recruit up to eight new faculty members and connect the university’s current quantum community.
  • Led by Steven Cundiff and Mack Kira, the institute is designed to strengthen research collaboration between UM faculty, government, and industry partners.

PRESS RELEASE — The quantum revolution could introduce computers that operate millions of times faster, a quantum internet to distribute information more securely, and quantum engineering approaches that lead to sustainable innovations such as carbon capture and energy harvesting.

Now, with a $55 million investment in people and lab space, the University of Michigan will help drive this development.

Newly launched Quantum Research Institute will recruit up to eight new faculty and bring together existing quantum expertise at UM—ranging from physics to electrical engineering and computer science, materials science, and more.

The institute is designed to strengthen research collaboration between UM faculty, government, and industry partners. QRI will appoint 20 UM faculty colleagues who, over the next six months, will identify and implement a strategic plan to support cross-disciplinary quantum research. It is a joint venture led by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the College of Engineering and the College of Literature, Science and Arts, with support from the Office of the Provost.

“Quantum science and technology will remain a top national research priority for many years to come, and through this new institute, the University of Michigan has a tremendous opportunity to harness its breadth of expertise to accelerate and translate quantum knowledge and discoveries for the benefit of society.” says Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research.

Steven Cundiff, (left) and Mack Kira

Steven Cundiff, Harrison M. Randall Collegiate Professor of Physics, and Mack Kira, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, will serve as co-directors of the institute. Between them, they have authored numerous books and more than 300 scientific publications on semiconductor quantum science and technology. They also played a major role in the 2022 formation of Midwest Quantum Collaborationwhich has enhanced collaboration between quantum researchers at UM, Michigan State University, and Purdue University.

The institute builds on the university’s strengths in quantum materials and quantum light research. QRI will operate a research incubator designed to provide services and resources to faculty, including seed funding, so they can compete for large-scale external grants that advance bold research ideas.

Since passing the National Quantum Initiative Act in 2018, the federal government has prioritized funding quantum research to help enhance national security, drive economic growth, and strengthen the United States’ position as a global leader in quantum engineering, science, and technology. And as part of the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act, the National Quantum Initiative Act was amended to support the future of semiconductors beyond classical information technology, to expand quantum network infrastructure, and to integrate quantum awareness into academic curricula at all levels of education. .

“Advancements in quantum science, engineering and technology can lead to new ways to address some of society’s most pressing challenges in areas such as sensing, information transmission and security, computing and AI. Building on UM’s expertise in photonics and quantum materials, this institute will help accelerate fundamental discoveries, develop technological applications, and educate the talented workforce that will enable quantum technology to reach its potential,” said Alec D. Gallimore, Robert J.Vlasic Dean of Engineering.

Beyond research, the institute will identify opportunities to expand the academic curriculum to include new courses that help prepare students for the quantum workforce of the future. Through the QRI scholarship, UM also aims to recruit talented and diverse graduate students and postdoctoral research associates to the Ann Arbor campus so they can collaborate with faculty on multidisciplinary research projects.

“We are excited to partner with the College of Engineering and OVPR on the launch of the Quantum Research Institute,” said Anne Curzan, dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Geneva Smitherman Collegiate Professor of English Language and Literature, Linguistics and Education.

“Through this cross-college collaboration, the University of Michigan can continue to lead in this cutting-edge research space, building on our long history of research excellence in photonics, quantum theory, and quantum materials. The promise of quantum science and technology is extraordinary in its implications and applications, and QRI represents our investment in this fast-moving field to support our research and educational missions.”

Cundiff is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Kira is also a professor of physics. Gallimore is also the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of aerospace engineering. Curzan is also an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and a professor of English and literature and linguistics.

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