Scientific Context

Quantum Information has been a topic for research and development for several decades. Based upon fundamental first principles of quantum physics new technologies emerged, some of which have already achieved a state of innovative maturity that allows for commercial exploitation. Systems for Quantum Key Exchange as well as Quantum Random Number Generators can nowadays be bought off the shelf. Other technologies still inside research laboratories such as Quantum Computers are promising candidates for completely novel products and services in the future. Scientific progress has deepened our understanding and revealed learned substantial new knowledge and insight about processes in the microscopic world ruled by quantum laws. Experience has been gathering on how to handle entire quantum systems and how to carry out measurements on it. The knowledge base has been increased significantly during the last few years and lead to the technological developments mentioned above. But the gained knowledge and the experiences made might as well be useful for other scientific and technological areas. Indeed, it might influence research and development in many different fields leading to completely new approaches that make use of hybrid (classical, quantum) information systems. At the moment we do not know exactly where the most promising fields for synergy between quantum information and other disciplines might be, but we might want to start talking to and engaging other scientific communities to identify possible candidates now.       

Goal and objectives

The Forward Look FARQUEST is a prospective analysis (or “foresight” process) devoted to quantum information science and technology (QIS&T), with the ultimate goal to synthesise scenarios of future developments of QIS&T cross-disciplinary fields, which cannot yet be thoroughly quantified, as well as to raise the awareness of the current and future potential of quantum information and its technologies. Such future developments are plausible but uncertain; still they can be meaningfully anticipated, pictured, and narrated in terms of assumed cause-consequence relationships – based on inevitable, predictable, or uncertain but plausible/possible events or trends and the driving forces (‘drivers’) behind them –, including measures for their realization and impacts of their consequences.  

Foresight

  • The value of foresight lies in Providing a suitable process-oriented methodology to reach beyond the state of the art or already forecasted (facts & figures) roadmaps and beyond individual envisioning, through a participative process and the involvement of different stakeholders.
  • Deriving strategic knowledge for orientation and to come to better informed decision making for policies needed for shaping a desired future.

To this end, FARQUEST builds on joint expertise, insight, dialogue and integrative stakeholder processes to envision the outcome of cross-disciplinary fields nurtured in academic contexts, places of higher education, or science-based businesses. What new quality and problem-solving innovations might emerge from QIS&T cross-disciplinary fields?

Objectives

The main objectives of FARQUEST are: 

  • Identify the context, features, trends, and influencing forces which affect research, businesses, and the society
  • Systematically obtain projections of anticipated futures of the influence of quantum information in yet unaddressed areas of high utilization, with the focus on cross-disciplinary topics 
  • Assess the impact and future potential of such ‘story lines’ for orientation and prioritization of European science policy to shape the future, including signals to monitor.     

FARQUEST takes an about 10-year horizon on selected research fronts originating at cross-roads of QIS&T with, e.g., solid state physics, laser physics, optics, material science, supra-conductivity, semi-conductors; electronics, mathematics; or biophysics, biology (life sciences), or hard- and software (traditional IT). Members of the scientific community having a stake in FARQUEST are theoretical, pure and applied scientific researchers and engineers driving or having a keen interest in advancing QIS&T, European science policy and law makers as well as national and regional funding bodies. In a larger context, the project serves to strengthen links between science and science policy making, with a focus on the role of the ESF.