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Prof. Richard J. Warburton and his SPIN team want to build a quantum computer (img: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

Prof. Richard J. Warburton and his SPIN team want to build a quantum computer (img: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)


Basel leading the way on quantum technology

The federal government has launched six new National Centers of Competence in Research. Two of these are to be located at the University of Basel. This will now see the groundwork on new information-processing technology conducted in Basel.

The University of Basel has received a grant for two of the six new National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCR) focused on antibiotic research and quantum technology. As detailed in a press release issued by the University of Basel, the federal government of Switzerland is providing total funding of CHF 34 million for the two programs in the first funding phase to 2024. One of the new NCCRs is known as “NCCR SPIN”, where research work will be focused on the development of “small silicon-based, rapid and scalable qubits as the basis for a new information-processing technology”, as detailed by the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (WBF) in its own press release.

Professor Richard J. Warburton of the Department of Physics and his team will be developing technology in conjunction with IBM Research Zurich that should “enable the construction of a universally usable quantum computer”, the University of Basel explains. The researchers will be seeking to leverage benefits of silicon in their research, as silicon technology is “highly promising in the on-chip integration of billions of components”. The Basel-based researchers have already worked in the field of spin qubits, albeit with other semiconductors. However, it is hoped that silicon should enable “a particularly high-performance quantum computer” to be developed.

The second new NCCR at the University of Basel is the “NCCR AntiResist”, which the WBF explains will focus on research and development of new approaches to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. has supported activites in the field of antimicrobial resistance in different ways. An innovation event in May 2018 together with the applying NCCR team around Prof. Christoph Dehio strengthened the exchange with the industry. And as member of the CARB-X Global Accelerator Network provides a global access to resources and a good possibility for funding, e.g. the Basel biotech company BioVersys is receiving up to almost 9 million dollars from the CARB-X network.​​​​​​​

Fundamentally speaking, NCCRs receive federal funding for up to 12 years, with both of the new centers at the University of Basel set up to run for this length of time too. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, the President of the University of Basel, commented that the approval from the federal government “not only vindicates our scientific achievements to date, it also signals the future. Both projects align with our approach of linking basic research and application more closely, positioning the University of Basel regionally and internationally as a top-class research center and an attractive partner for industry.”

The NCCR Nanoscale Science, NCCR Iconic Criticism, NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering and the now-ended NCCR Sesam have all previously been established at the University of Basel.

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