Quantum Information Science and Engineering Research at NSF

NSF announces new awards for quantum research, technologies Quantum systems hold promise for cybersecurity and beyond NSF launches effort to create first practical quantum computer JILA's 3D quantum gas atomic clock


NSF has a long history of investment in research that has helped lay the groundwork for the quantum-based technology that is on the horizon for rapid development over the next few years. Science and engineering stand before a new paradigm in which the exploitation of distinctly quantum phenomena offers major breakthroughs in areas such as sensing and measurement, computing and simulation, and communication and networking. At the same time industry is beginning to make its own investments as the first new products are identified and brought to market. This creates a need for a workforce trained in a spectrum of disciplines to develop the supply chain and turn new discoveries into practice.

NSF is committed to continuing to foster quantum-based research in the following three ways:

  • Advancing Quantum Frontiers: Frontier knowledge generated through NSF-supported discoveries will open new vistas and opportunities in the quantum arena, such as new materials, circuits, and algorithms that enable novel quantum and post-quantum applications including artificial photosynthesis, highly sensitive radiation detectors, and many others not currently foreseen.
  • Multidisciplinary Collaboration: NSF will capitalize on the full breadth of scientific and engineering areas that it funds to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to address the fundamental science and engineering questions that will accelerate progress in all areas of quantum applications, from sensing to communication to computing to simulation.
  • Workforce Development: Through its support for research and education at universities, NSF investments will build capacity by training the workforce that is essential to progress and commercialization in this rapidly expanding field of emerging technology.

NSF's investments are aligned with the National Quantum Initiative and address the policy goals expressed in the National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science. NSF's continued support is expressed through investments in the core NSF disciplines as well as investments in specialized activities having specific targets, many of which overlap with NSF's Quantum Leap Big Idea.


NSF's Quantum Leap

The National Science Foundation's Quantum Leap (QL) Big Idea seeks to go beyond ideas couched in classical approaches. QL will forge a paradigm shift by transitioning our thinking to truly quantum thinking. QL is poised to stimulate innovation and accelerate development of new technologies by focusing on the fundamental questions that need to be answered in order to realize the potential of this exciting opportunity. These include:

  1. Are there fundamental limits to how far we can push the entanglement and coherence frontiers for quantum states? Are there limits in time, distance, or scale?
  2. What can we learn from quantum phenomena in naturally-occurring and engineered quantum systems, including emergent behavior, complexity, quantum-classical boundaries, and their theoretical foundations?
  3. How do we galvanize the science and engineering community to enable quantum devices, systems, and technologies that surpass classical capabilities?
  4. How do we prepare an effective and diverse workforce to participate in and lead further advancements in quantum science and engineering?

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Current Funding Opportunities

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Ongoing Center-scale Investments

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Other Ongoing Activities & Awards

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Recent Highlights

Video: Quantum entanglement microscopes (read more)

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Related NSF News

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Workshops & Reports

NSF Workshop Series on Education & Workforce Development for QIS, coordinated with OSTP (2020)

NSF Convergence Accelerator Workshop Series (Fall 2019)

  • Architectures and Opportunities in Programmable Quantum Simulators (Report)
  • Scalable Quantum Computing Laboratory (Report)
  • Project Scoping Workshop (PSW) on Quantum Interconnects (QuIC) (Report)

QLCI Conceptualization Workshops (2019-2020)

Other Recent NSF-Supported Workshops & Reports

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Other Resources

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Participating NSF Divisions

Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)

  • Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA)
  • Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)
  • Division of Chemistry (CHE)
  • Division of Materials Research (DMR)
  • Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS)
  • Division of Physics (PHY)

Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)

  • Division of Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF)
  • Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC)

Directorate for Engineering (ENG)

  • Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS)
  • Division of Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities (EFMA)
  • Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)

Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)

  • Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB)

Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)

  • Division of Graduate Education (DGE)

Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)

  • Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)

Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)

  • Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)

Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)

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