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Trinity and Microsoft Join Forces to Accelerate Next-Generation Quantum Technologies

10 Jun 2021

Trinity College Dublin and Microsoft Ireland today announced details of a new collaboration focused on accelerating advancements in next-generation quantum technologies and attracting and training future world-leaders in the field. The collaboration will further strengthen Ireland’s position as a key player in quantum research globally.

Microsoft will provide significant funding to support PhD students working on cutting-edge quantum research at Trinity and the establishment of a female scholarship programme for Trinity’s MSc in Quantum Science and Technology, which will start in September 2021. The programme will place a unique emphasis on direct engagement with wider industry via Trinity’s MSc internship programme. Applicants are encouraged to apply from today at https://www.tcd.ie/Physics/quantumtech/.

The collaboration, which comes after the announcement of Microsoft’s Azure Quantum (the world’s first full-stack, open-cloud quantum computing ecosystem), will support quantum research teams in Trinity’s School of Physics and foster interactions with some of the leading research teams in the private sector to further ignite activity in the field in Ireland.

The collaboration is spearheaded by Trinity Professors John Goold and Stefano Sanvito. Professor Goold, who will direct the new MSc in Quantum Science and Technology course, said: “We are thrilled to team up with Microsoft to pursue exciting research in a field of increasing scientific and societal significance. Having emerged from fundamental science over the last two decades, quantum research is now blossoming and promises to revolutionise technology in the coming years with discoveries and innovations that promise to power a more sustainable, advanced future.

“We are also delighted that Microsoft is supporting a female-only scholarship programme for the new MSc in Quantum Science and Technology. As diversity has grown in my research team at Trinity, we have been more creative in pursuing and delivering high-quality science. Female uptake in certain STEM subjects remains low but initiatives like this are helping to drive positive change.”

Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland said: “Quantum computing presents unprecedented possibilities to solve society's most complex challenges and help to secure a sustainable future. At Microsoft, we’re committed to responsibly turning these possibilities into reality for the betterment of humanity and the planet.

“That is why we are so excited to team up with the team at Trinity to put a focus on advancing research in this area and help to position Ireland as a leader in quantum technologies. The introduction of the female scholarship programme is a welcome one and I believe more focused mechanisms such as this will help us to attract more females not only into the area of next-generation quantum technologies but also wider STEM related industries. Applications for this scholarship are open and I’d encourage anyone with the right skills and interest to apply, it’s an amazing opportunity.”

Commenting on the collaboration, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, said: “I am delighted to see this strong collaboration between Trinity College Dublin and Microsoft. Quantum computing technology will be instrumental in solving some of society’s biggest challenges and seeing Ireland at the forefront of this research is tremendously important. In particular, the female scholarship programme for the MSc in Quantum Science and Technology is a most welcome initiative, bringing more diversity into cutting edge science and education is crucial for Ireland’s higher education system.”

Kieran McCorry, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Ireland, said: “Quantum computers can solve, in seconds, problems that would take today’s fastest computers thousands of years to solve. As such, it brings within reach the opportunity to address climate change and drive significant pharmaceutical advancements, amongst other things. The collaboration  between Trinity College Dublin and Microsoft Ireland ensures greater support for the next generation of researchers in the emerging area of Quantum computing by enhancing students’ capabilities in computational thinking and cloud-based research models. Additionally, it will enable us to lead the way in advancing next generation technology.”

Professor Stefano Sanvito, Trinity, added: “Technologies are being miniaturised at such a rate that quantum effects, synonymous with the microscopic world, are firmly in the spotlight. For example, entanglement is being exploited to offer faster, higher performance in certain computational tasks. Our burgeoning field of quantum technologies aims to exploit such effects for technological gain and research partnerships between leading universities and industry partners like this one are key in driving things forward --  we very much look forward to working with Microsoft in this area.”

Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland and Prof Linda Doyle, who will become Provost of Trinity College Dublin later this year, were pictured at the Campanile as Microsoft and Trinity announced they are joining forces to accelerate advancements in next-generation quantum technologies. Microsoft will fund quantum research PhD students and a female scholarship programme for Trinity’s new MSc in Quantum Science and Technology.