National Quantum Mission (NQM) took a major step forward with the first meeting of its governing board and the launch of a call for proposals for four key technology hubs.
The mission aims to position India as a global leader in quantum technologies, with a focus on developing practical applications in fields like computing, communication, sensing, and materials.
Professor Abhay Karandikar, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on January 20 during the 9th edition of the India International Science Festival said, “The launch of the pre-proposal is an important step in the National Quantum Mission approved by the Cabinet last year. With a brainstorming session with researchers to identify expertise, strengths and opportunities scheduled soon, the National Quantum Mission is expected to see substantial progress in the next few months. The NQM will also work in collaboration with industry and startups to translate research to deployable technologies. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will provide necessary resources for the success of submission and to facilitate researchers so that India evolves to a competitive position at the international level.”
He highlighted that the spirit of collaboration in the mission could help make a meaningful impact at the national and global level.
The pre-proposals should demonstrate the quantum technologies to advance the application of quantum science and technology. The highlights of the call as well as other details were elaborated upon by Senior Adviser DST and Secretary SERB Dr Akhilesh Gupta.
The board also discussed the implementation strategy and timelines of the Rs 6,003 crore NQM as well as the formation of the Mission Coordination Cell (MCC).
MCC will be set up as a coordinating agency for the mission and will work in coordination with the Mission Secretariat at the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The MCC will be set up in an institution identified by the DST based on merit and existing infrastructure and will function under the overall supervision and guidance of the Mission Technology Research Council (MTRC).
Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, Prof A K Sood, said creation of human resources is critical and suggested empowering the hubs to build human capacity.
The board also approved a “Call for Pre-proposals” for going ahead with inviting proposals for setting up of the four technology hubs under NQM in a consortia format.
“The focus should be on developing our own system rather than importing systems not developed here. Industry has to play a key role in technology sharing as well as in fund sharing,” said V K Saraswat, Member Niti Aayog.
Samir K Kamat, Chairman, DRDO; Rajat Moona, Director, IIT Gandhinagar; and Akhilesh Gupta, Secretary, Science and Engineering Research Board also attended the meeting.