ROME, N.Y. – To expedite the advancement and innovation of quantum technologies, the Air Force Research Laboratory will award up to 36 contracts to small businesses June 15-16 during a two-day virtual quantum collider pitch event.
Each small business, selected by a panel earlier this year, will engage in a private 20-minute pitch session with senior officials to present a novel approach that advances a quantum enabling technology and/or application.
Since each session concludes with a Phase I contract award decision, small businesses that partner with nonprofit research institutions could receive $150,000 from the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Ultimately, the Air Force could award up to $5.4 million to small businesses that develop quantum technologies for the Nation’s warfighters. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and STTR programs are funding this event to stimulate research and development, innovation and commercialization in quantum technology.
“We are taking on the challenge to accelerate the near-term discovery and application of novel quantum capabilities,” said Col. Timothy Lawrence, director of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y. “With 36 companies participating in this collider event, the Air Force is enhancing the quantum ecosystem through the development of a robust supply chain, which is a key part of our Air Force quantum science and technology strategy.”
Recognized as a world leader in the field of quantum, AFRL is eager to accelerate the innovation pipeline for state-of-the-art advances in quantum technologies.
Information Directorate deputy director, Dr. Michael Hayduk who is also responsible for coordinating the quantum research across AFRL, asserts that “Quantum information science (QIS) will impact many future Air Force capabilities. This includes GPS-like precision in locations where there is no GPS signal or it is severely degraded, ultra-secure global communication networks, high-precision sensors linked together with a quantum network, and new computing paradigms for optimization of asset and resource allocations, discovery of new materials, and novel applications of artificial intelligence.”
A free, virtual keynote session will open to the public on Monday, June 15 from 12 - 5:30p.m. Eastern, with featured speakers including Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics; Dr. Joseph Broz, the director of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium; Mr. Jack Blackhurst, AFRL’s executive director and Dr. John Preskill from Cal Tech. These keynote speakers will familiarize viewers on quantum fundamentals, and discuss how the Air Force, industry and academia are shaping the future of quantum innovation. To view more information, including the full agenda and registration details, please visit: usafquantumcollider.com.
This virtual event will be the first of many quantum-focused efforts AFRL debuts this summer. The lab will also unveil a new quantum information science innovation center in Rome, New York, and kick off a worldwide $1 million challenge that canvases the international quantum research community for novel solutions in the emerging field.