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NIST Launches Consortium to Support Development of Quantum Industry

photo of a quantum processor
Credit: ©Amin Van/Shutterstock

GAITHERSBURG, Md.—The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with SRI International to lead a consortium focused on quantum science and engineering. SRI International is a nonprofit, independent R&D center headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

The Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QEDC) aims to expand U.S. leadership in global quantum research and development and the emerging quantum industry in computing, communications and sensing. Quantum technologies take advantage of the unusual rules that govern the behavior of the fundamental building blocks of matter, including electrons, protons, neutrons and photons.

“The Trump Administration is proud to support groundbreaking advances in controlling quantum systems, which hold great promise for America’s economy and national security,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. “This new consortium will effectively align resources and quantum research and development efforts between federal, academic and industry partners to ensure America’s position at the forefront of scientific discovery and development.”

Announcement of the new consortium follows a Sept. 25, 2018, Quantum Information Science Summit sponsored by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. At the summit, the administration released its National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science, which outlines its commitment to maintaining and expanding American leadership in quantum information science.

With funding from both the government and private-sector member organizations, the QEDC will:

  • determine workforce needs essential to the development of quantum technologies;
  • provide efficient public-private sector coordination;
  • identify technology solutions for filling gaps in research or infrastructure;
  • highlight use cases and grand challenges to accelerate development efforts; and
  • foster sharing of intellectual property, efficient supply chains, technology forecasting and quantum literacy.

“The consortium provides a forum for industry to share views on development of a quantum economy,” said Acting Director of the NIST Physical Measurement Laboratory Carl Williams. “These industry insights can then help NIST, the Department of Commerce, and the rest of the federal government scale our basic R&D portfolio.”

QEDC members will collaborate on precompetitive R&D such as quantum device design and prototyping, increase efficiencies while sharing resources, and leverage their own research investments with those of the federal government and other members. The intent of the consortium includes enabling access to quantum engineering capabilities to efficiently create, test and validate potential technology platforms and processes.

NIST and SRI plan to announce workshops addressing the consortium’s structure, governance and major R&D areas essential for the emerging quantum industry in the coming months.

NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. To learn more about NIST, visit

Released September 28, 2018, Updated September 6, 2022