Opinion: Colorado and Rocky Mountain West are critical to the development of U.S. quantum technology and federal funding should come this way

Opinion: Colorado and Rocky Mountain West are critical to the development of U.S. quantum technology and federal funding should come this way

The quantum revolution is sweeping through Colorado. Our state is home to some of the nation’s top science labs and federal research facilities, as well as a thriving technology industry. And now we are ready to strengthen our leadership as the country’s premier hub for quantum technologies.

Quantum has been designated a key technology by the CHIPS and Science Act, a bipartisan bill we worked on in 2022. It is already accelerating technological breakthroughs and discovering new solutions to our world’s most pressing challenges. Quantum targets the behavior of the smallest particles in our universe, can be used to rapidly accelerate complex computer calculations and has the potential to unlock practical applications in defense, aerospace, healthcare, cybersecurity, manufacturing and chemical industries research industries.

Advances in the quantum industry can help us tackle everyday problems, from tackling the climate crisis by rapidly deploying clean energy solutions to improving doctors’ ability to diagnose and treat diseases.

Quantum is here and it’s growing fast. There is no other state or region better prepared than ours to take on the discovery, development and deployment of this transformative technology.

Rocky Mountain West’s leadership in quantum technology dates back more than 80 years to the founding of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) in Boulder and Los Alamos National Lab and Sandia National Laboratories. in New Mexico.

Since then, four Colorado scientists have won Nobel Prizes for quantum research, the most recent being physicist Jun Ye of NIST and the University of Colorado, whose work led to breakthroughs in the quantum field, including the construction of extremely precise clocks that may be the most precise form of timekeeping that has been invented so far.

But the quantum revolution is not only felt in our universities. The Rocky Mountain West has the largest consortium of leaders working to enable and grow the quantum industry.

The nonprofit consortium Elevate Quantum was formed to advance Colorado’s quantum development and take advantage of the opportunities of the CHIPS Act. It has brought together more than 70 organizations: industry groups, state and local governments, national laboratories, higher education institutions, workforce and workforce development organizations, and more. – all working to expand Colorado’s leadership in quantum. This consortium leverages our region’s vast innovation ecosystem and leverages the expertise of our leading laboratories in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.

This bipartisan effort will foster breakthrough innovation and prepare the region’s workforce for the future. Elevate Quantum covers communities in all three states, from Grand County to La Plata, Laramie to Santa Fe. Rocky Mountain West’s approach to advancing quantum technology will engage rural and urban communities in this innovative project, ensuring that the technologies of the future are designed and developed right here at home. The industry is expected to bring $3 billion in funding to Colorado over the next decade and generate an estimated 30,000 new high-paying positions – many of which do not require an advanced degree. This expansive growth will move our state forward without leaving anyone behind.

When the federal government designated Elevate Quantum as a regional technology and innovation hub for quantum in October, it opened the door for Colorado and the Mountain West to welcome public and private funding that can further propel the work already underway.

Right now, Colorado’s quantum technology hub is in the running for a second round of investment that will boost the region’s growth and keep the Rocky Mountain West at the forefront of quantum technologies. The Phase II funding is expected to provide up to $75 million in additional federal support and several times that amount in further economic activity.

From our national laboratories to our research institutions, from our commercial manufacturing to the deployment of our workforce, one thing is clear: there is no region better prepared than the Rocky Mountain West to lead our nation’s quantum future.

Representative Joe Neguse, currently the House Assistant Minority Leader, was elected in 2018 to represent Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District. He is serving his third term.

Senator John Hickenlooper was elected in 2020 and is serving his first term in the Senate after eight years as governor of Colorado.

Senator Michael Bennet has served in the Senate since he was appointed in 2009 and re-elected for his third term in 2022.

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