Promoting training for professionals and the creation of innovative teaching resources in quantum technologies facing the global challenge of digital transformation is the main objective of the DigiQ project, an initiative in higher education for master studies promoted by the European Commission.
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The DigiQ project, in which twenty universities from ten European countries take part, includes the participation of the master’s degree in Quantum Science and Technology, coordinated by the University of Barcelona. As part of the European project, this master’s degree is represented by four of the participating entities; in particular, the University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2).

This interuniversity program —the only one in Spain to take part in the DigiQ project— includes the participation of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE).

Quantum technologies: a revolution in knowledge

The DigiQ project (Digitally Enhanced Quantum Technology Master) is funded by the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL), the first finance tool from the European Commission aimed at enforcing the advanced digital competencies in areas of public interest and in the private sector and thus, accelerate the economic recovery. During the 2021-2027 period, this programme will boost its resources and the skills in the field of supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, training of advanced digital skills and the generalization of the use of digital technologies in all society sectors. In this international context of challenges, quantum technologies are an essential element in the ecosystem of the emerging digital technologies in Europe.

DigiQ, led by Aarhus University (Denmark), will become a turning point in higher education and training in quantum technologies in Europe, and it will have a total of 16 new specialized master’s programmes.

“Preparing professionals and the talent for future quantum technologies is crucial if European companies want to play an outstanding role in the international markets over the next years”, notes Professor Jacob Sherson, member of Aarhus University and coordinator of this project. “With DigiQ’s educational innovations in the quantum field, we are not only creating a working force ready in quantum technologies but also methods that can inform about the future transformations, which are necessary in other advanced areas, such as artificial intelligence, data science and robotics”, concludes the coordinator.

The only master’s degree in Spain to take part in the DigiQ project

The master’s degree in Quantum Science and Technology, coordinated by Professor Bruno Juliá, member of the Faculty of Physics and the Institute of Cosmos Sciences (ICCUB) of the UB, was launched during the academic year 2021-2022, at the same time the emerging community in quantum technologies, QuantumCat, was set. The master’s degree enables students acquiring advanced knowledge in order to conduct state-of-the-art research —both theoretical and experimental— in quantum simulation, quantum computing, quantum sensing, quantum communications, and other formal aspects.

«Here in the master’s coordination section, we participated actively in the work of the DigiQ project, which will define higher education in quantum sciences and technologies in Europe and will enhance all the participating European programmes”, notes Professor Bruno Juliá, from the Department of Quantum Physics and Astrophysics of the UB.

“In our case —the professor continues— it will allow us to improve training in many sides of knowledge, such as promoting student exchanges between European institutions, enriching subjects with content developed at the consortium, adding experimental units to existing subjects, and in general, providing our students with the opportunity to be part of this project”.

DigiQ: challenges and innovation in higher education

DigiQ is the result of two pilot efforts promoted by the scientific community as part of the QTEdu CSA Project: the open master on quantum technology, coordinated by Aarhus University and the Czech Technical University in Prague (Czech Republic), and the quantum technology programme “Empowering the Future Experts in Quantum Science and Technology for Europe”, launched by the University of Strasbourg (France) and Heidelberg University (Germany).

Those students that take part in the DigiQ project will access remote experiments and the top-level quantum facilities, besides having a wide range of specialized courses to take place in situ and under a blended learning format. The programme will allocate funding to travel grants and will promote work placements through research and internships in the industry in a sector with more than 100 businesses and laboratories in Europe. At the same time, all the teaching resources carried out in the DigiQ project will be available for free to all stakeholders in Europe.