Quantum Delta NL manifesto

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Who we are

Quantum Delta NL is a leading quantum ecosystem for Europe.

As an ecosystem, we aim to achieve profound societal impact with our deep technology innovation.

We connect people within the field of quantum and beyond to learn, collaborate and accomplish even more together.

An overview of the Quantum Delta NL ecosystem

Our ecosystem stems from activities in five geographical locations: the hubs. These five hubs together form the Delta. The ecosystem is growing fast: new institutes are being erected, new companies are started, and new partners are joining.

The hubs are formed around world-leading research centres:

Delft hub with QuTech

Eindhoven hub with Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute Leiden hub with Applied Quantum Algorithms

Twente hub with qUanT of Mesa+ Amsterdam hub with QuSoft

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We are proud of our many collaborations with industry leaders and other universities and universities of applied science. Together we form the Dutch quantum ecosystem.

Visit our website www.quantumdelta.nl for more information, including a (rapidly expanding) list of industry partners and startups.

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Colophon

1st edition ©2022

Published by Quantum Delta NL Printed by Zwaan Lenoir

Quantum Delta NL project team

Freeke Heijman Magalie Fogaras Irene Rompa Pieter Vermaas

Concept by dim-sum Janneke Grootings and Casimir Morreau

Art Directon & Design: Daniel Archutowski

Illustrations: Chantal Bennet

Photography: Jeroen Hofman

Copy: Janneke Grootings Copy editor: Paperdoll Writing

This is a climate neutral publication. All greenhouse gasses generated in the production and transportation of this book have been compensated for.

Table of contents

Quantum Delta NL Ecosystem

Who we are An overview

Preface of the QDNL board Carlo Beenakker on our shared history Bart Folkers on today’s ecosystem Freeke Heijman on our culture Miriam Blaauboer on our shared future Adriaan Rol on our shared future Our purpose

Quantum Delta NL Manifesto

An introduction Together we quest We pursue excellence We advocate inclusivity We shape society The ecosystem is you Stacey Jeffery on “We pursue excellence” Chigo Okonkwo on “Together we quest” Marc Hulzebos on “We shape society” Jessie Qin-Dregely on “We advocate inclusivity”

Ecosystems in Dutch nature

01 02 06 08 38 42 52 54 58 17 18 20 22 24 26 30 33 46 49 12 28 36 44

Ameland - Curves

Zoutelande - Spring Texel - Daffodils

Zeeland - Zeelandbrug Winter

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To the valued members of our community

We live in exciting times. The world is changing rapidly and faces significant challenges that urgently require deep technological and societal solutions. Quantum technology is one of the enablers. With the investment in Quantum Delta NL, we have a unique opportunity to scale up a leading quantum ecosystem to the next level. We need a clear vision, smart programmes and bold choices to make this happen. But most of all, we need to bring together talented people from various backgrounds, experiences and expertise who are inspired to explore, innovate, co-create and work towards our joint mission.

We need to create a culture together in which people thrive and feel welcome to engage with everything they have to offer – regardless of their gender, background, sexual orientation or religion.

In this book, various members of our community share their vision of our ecosystem and the four principles that define the Manifesto: ‘Together we quest’, ‘We pursue excellence’, We advocate inclusivity’ and ‘We shape society.’ We are building on past lessons and are looking into our desired future. We hope you feel as proud as we do – the Manifesto is the result of the collective wisdom of us all.

This Manifesto is not set in stone. Culture is a living thing that evolves with the people who define it. Consider this a starting point for policies and conversations, as sharing stories helps build a common culture. We invite you to use it as an inspiring tool in your journey when co-creating with others in the QDNL ecosystem.

We look forward to continuing our journey together!

The Quantum Delta NL executive board,

Quantum Delta NL | Preface
Ronald Hanson Jesse Robbers Freeke Heijman Pieter de Witte
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Carlo Beenakker on the history of the Dutch quantum community

“Sow the seeds. Dare to do.”

You’re often credited for having been there from the very start: can you take us back to those early days?

“It started with Hans Mooij, a visionary who was way ahead of his time. We’re talking about the 1990s. He returned from America after a leave of absence and brought back the idea of a quantum computer. By then, he was already wellestablished in his career, which is why he could come up with crazy ideas like that. He talked about qubits, and most people reacted as if he was talking about time travelling: ‘You do what you have to do, but it’s not going to lead to anything.’

And then something really important happened: early in the game, two subsidy providers stuck their necks out. Back then, you had FOM, a funding organization that no longer exists, and if you presented them with a good idea, they’d jump on board. In 2004 they supported Mooij’s vision with something like 10 million. That’s when Leo Kouwenhoven took the lead, and both Lieven Vandersypen and Ronald Hanson were hired, among others, and they made a 10-year plan. Then in 2012, Brussels gave money from the European Research Council. They gave Leo, Lieven and myself 15 million to build a prototype for a quantum computer. They believed in this crazy idea. Leo Kouwenhoven had the foresight to use this grant as seed money for something even bigger. QuTech emerged from that.

That’s what you need at such an early stage: organizations that aren’t afraid to invest a significant amount simply

because they believe in the idea and the people behind it.

And people like Kouwenhoven who dare to plant seeds when they cannot yet see the tree.

This willingness to take risks and fund a moonshot idea is unusual; I don’t see it with the existing scientific subsidy organizations in the Netherlands. There is a tendency to spread the available funding thinly and evenly. If you come with a high-risk/high-gain project in physics, they say: ‘Wait a minute, it might be a good plan, but what about all the other disciplines? We cannot single out one topic for extraordinary funding.’ This whole idea of a level playing field is killing when it comes to these risky, long-term projects. It’s probably inevitable when working with large institutions: they can’t afford to make exceptions and promote one particular topic.

The real risk takers, these days, can be found at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy where they have more of a business mindset. When presented with a promising idea, they are willing to take a risk without worrying that one field of research is advantaged over another. The Ministry of Economic Affairs awarded QDNL a ‘Startimpuls,’ a large subsidy of over 20 million to develop our idea of a Dutch quantum ecosystem. This formed the basis of our National Growth Fund bid, which was successful due to the efforts of many, but in particular due to the vision of Freeke Heijman and Ronald Hanson.

Quantum Delta NL | Ecosystem 9

Tremendous progress has been made since Hans Mooij’s crazy idea some thirty years ago, and today everybody takes it very seriously.”

What lessons can QDNL learn from those early stages in the 1990s?

“Don’t be afraid. Sow the seeds. Dare to do.

In addition, it’s also crucial to remain critical about what works and what does not. Which qubit will eventually be the ‘winning horse’ is unclear at the moment. We have made much progress since the 1990s when every research group had its favourite qubit, but there are still several horses in the race. And we also do not yet know what the ‘killer app’ will be for the quantum computer. Will it be an application in chemistry or drug design? Will it be in the context of artificial intelligence?

There is a danger, with these uncertainties, to hedge your bets and spread your resources out over various directions. But you have to make choices. So far, we have been pretty effective at focusing our efforts. But we are only in the first phase of the National Growthfund project. So we must keep asking ourselves whether we are on the right track and refocus if needed.”

Which lessons from the past do you need to honour to make those choices accurately?

“Just look at what works and what doesn’t. And don’t focus all your attention on a beautiful website and glossy brochures. We’ve done that pretty well so far. It’s all about what you deliver, whether that’s in science or business. There are already companies that are providing things, writing an invoice, and receiving money in their account. That’s great, that’s the real thing, and I want to see more of that.

When there was still a lot of fear of missing out, there was a lot of nonsense being sold. That no longer works; that sense of naivety is gone.

In the next phase, new decisions will have to be made, and I hope this will happen in the spirit of ‘we’re in this together.’

I’m not worried that we won’t be able to deliver those 1000 qubits in the future. I do, however, sometimes worry that we all go down, arguing with one another. Our sense of community is the most important thing to hold on to.”

Carlo Beenakker is a professor at the Lorentz Institute for Theoretical Physics of Leiden University where he studies topological quantum computing with support from an ERC Advanced Grant. He has been one of the leading forces of the national quantum initiative from the start and is currently chairman of our supervisory board. Before moving to academia, Beenakker served on the scientific staff of Philips Research Laboratories. He is a recipient of the Spinoza prize and the AKZO/Nobel Science award and a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Quantum Delta NL | Our shared history 10
Quantum Delta NL | Ecosystem 11
Ameland - Curves
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Quantum Delta NL Manifesto

Guiding principles for the people of our ecosystem
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On the following pages, you will find the Quantum Delta NL Manifesto, a description of the DNA of our ecosystem, our mission and the key cultural values we adhere to. In addition, it gives an impression of the ethical principles and priorities shared throughout the QDNL community.

The text reflects our group’s collective wisdom: several co-creation sessions were held all over the country, attended by over 100 people from various parts of our ecosystem. The Manifesto is formulated by members of the ecosystem itself. This process was started at the first Quantum Delta NL community event in Amsterdam in 2021. This Manifesto contains the foundation of our collaborative culture, the raison d’être of the Quantum Delta NL ecosystem. It aims to connect us as individuals and organizations to a joint mission and provide ethical guidelines.

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Together we quest

Manifesto | Principles 18

We come from a long and shared journey of exploring quantum technology.

Our collective knowledge is far greater than what we bring individually: it’s a deep pool of resources. Balance is achieved through the different, accountable players, just like in ecosystems in nature.

Our ecosystem is organised to capture innovative potential by sharing knowledge, cooperation and diverse interactions.

In our quest, we put collaboration over competition and co-creation over procedures. It takes courage and perseverance to break down existing barriers and journey forth together.

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We pursue excellence

20 Manifesto | Principles

Our people - tomorrow’s innovators who will alter numerous industries - are the foundation of our network. Therefore, we continually invest in their knowledge and growth by facilitating inclusive opportunities, collaboration and state-of-the-art facilities. Stakes are high, and so are our standards; we need extraordinary efforts to bring about a quantum revolution for society.

Excellence is not limited to one place or one person. It’s in all of us, working together to unlock it. In pursuing excellence, we must collaborate to put entrepreneurship over conservatism and evidence-based practices over hype.

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We advocate inclusivity

22 Manifesto | Principles

Our ecosystem must be resilient to blind spots in this great leap forward. A network with different backgrounds is fundamental to avoid making the same human errors that were made in the past. We accept and value all differences and are fully aware that we have to make room for the emotions that come with leading as one.

The point on the horizon is equal access for all. And to reach this, we must operate in full view and acknowledge that some people in the worldwide field of deep tech still face inequality - in both blatant and subtle forms.

We strive to be a hub of diversity and inclusion. While this movement is rooted in science, it needs changemakers of all kinds to bring it further. Like a busy harbour, we welcome people from all corners of the world and all walks of life. And we don’t just defend inclusivity; we invest in it. We provide a haven that protects diversity for progress.

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We shape society

24 Manifesto | Principles

Quantum Delta NL aims to offer solutions for global challenges to contribute to a sustainable future. The difficulties we face cannot be solved by the technologies and the thinking that created them; we must challenge the status quo.

For the benefit of all, we facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology between science, business and society. We will make it easier for the public and private sectors to collaborate and deliver real innovation. We put societal challenges over our ego and our children’s children over short-term gains.

Today we work on quantum technology to accelerate the Tomorrow that will shape society for generations to come.

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The Quantum Delta NL ecosystem consists of all the people working on quantum solutions for a sustainable future. From scientists and engineers to investors, entrepeneurs and policy makers - and all other disciplines needed to make it happen.

Sharing stories brings a community to life, which is why in this book, twelve people share their vision of the Quantum Delta NL ecosystem and the Manifesto principles.

We invite you to do the same and remind you that the ecosystem is you.

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Walcheren, Zeeland

Stacey Jeffery on excellence

“To pursue excellence, it’s important to have the space for curiosity.”

Excellence is not limited to one place or one person

“Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of excellence. I think they associate it with elitism and prefer to believe that we are all the same and nobody is more intelligent or better at science than others. I don’t believe this. I’ve met people who think on a completely different level. To me, acknowledging that excellence exists is not elitism; elitism is making assumptions about who can do excellent work.

For me, part of the philosophy of excellence is also admiring other people’s excellent work. If I am having difficulty in my research, it inspires me to think about the truly outstanding work that some of my amazing colleagues are doing. And then I remember that that’s what I want to be doing. It’s a little bit of an oversimplification (I know I also have good abilities in science), but if I’m patient, work hard, and work smart, then I can also have these kinds of research results.

So instead of seeing excellence as a threat, try seeing it as a source of inspiration. I admire my exceptional colleagues because they do not see themselves as better than others. Even the brightest of my colleagues will respect a good idea, no matter who comes up with it. That’s one of the reasons I like our

community so much. Overall, people are pretty open to good ideas. Scientists are supposed to care about the truth and not be distracted by other things. It somehow goes against the spirit of science to have prejudices. Also, Quantum Delta NL has been very supportive of the WIQD network that I co-founded with Julia Cramer for women in quantum. It is now really woven into the tapestry of QDNL.”

Extraordinary efforts

“There is such a thing as excellent science that we should all strive for, and it’s hard. No matter how hard you try, you might not be able to achieve the results you’re trying to achieve (this is especially true of the most important work - if it was easy, someone would have done it already!). But it’s important to keep trying.

Sometimes I work on something for months, only to realize that it’s just not going to work. And I’ve put so much into this, and it might even mean I’m not going to have the output I wanted for this year, which sucks. That’s a bad feeling.

Before I had my daughter, she is a little over two years old now, long-term thinking was hard for me. I would think about what I could accomplish in a year. But after having a child, I had a slump in my productivity because of maternity

Stacey Jeffery got her PhD from the University of Waterloo in 2014 before working as a Postdoc at Caltech. Since 2017, she has worked at CWI doing quantum algorithms research as a member of QuSoft. She was recently awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant.

Manifesto | We pursue excellence
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leave, working part-time and daycare closing due to Covid. It was frustrating to think about my productivity in the short term. But I found it helpful to zoom out and remember that it will not make a big difference in five years. I’m glad I learned to have a long-term perspective because it may take years for ambitious projects to come to fruition.”

Our people are the foundation

“It can be challenging to break out of short-term thinking, especially in the early stages of your career. In my postdoc years, I was under a lot of stress. It was partly self-imposed but also had to do with the fact that I didn’t know if I would get a permanent position somewhere. At that time, I lost a bit of curiosity while doing research. It didn’t feel like I was chasing something positive, but instead felt like something terrible was chasing me. It was the stress of feeling that I must produce X number of papers this year to find a permanent job. This pressure can lead us to prioritize short-term gain over the more important long-term.

It’s important to have the space for curiosity to pursue excellence. People should feel free to pursue their longterm research without feeling short-term pressure. But that’s not always how our system works, and I don’t necessarily have a better solution.

We’re trying to do a big thing together. The most incredible things we will do in the next five to ten years will involve people from significantly different backgrounds, so strong connections across the community will be extremely important. We need to work together, with a shared long-term vision, to create the space for curiosity. There needs to be a balance between recognition of excellent work and room to make mistakes. That is the only way to achieve excellence in the long run.”

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“In our community, people are open to good ideas wherever they come from.”

Chigo Okonkwo on collaboration

“Nature teaches us how to collaborate as people.”

Our collective knowledge

“From nature, we learn how to collaborate to be able to build the things that are essential for a secure information-based society. For example, let’s take how in quantum technologies, we exploit effects between atoms, energy transitions of electrons or their spin. These do not operate by themselves but must be part of a system. These are the very fundamental particles of nature. By understanding the nature of these particles, we can understand how we can collaborate as people from different fields to build the knowledge required to develop these systems.

I’m incredibly proud that we recently got a European project tied to the Quantum Delta NL Catalyst Programme 2, which focuses on building a joint National Quantum Staging Network. This would not have happened without collaborating with our colleagues in Delft and Utrecht. We are an effective ecosystem thanks to the knowledge that we and others have been developing in various areas and the collaboration between all entities.”

Collaboration over competition

“As scientists, there are a few things that we need to do to understand the fundamentals of things that we are studying and to make sure we have the resources to implement ideas. That means we need funding. What typically happens is that we often compete to obtain financing. We compete with colleagues that are also active in the ecosystem.

There is a trade-off between competition and collaboration, where you must stop competing, or you risk that either only one proposal is granted or all of them get rejected. Combining efforts and submitting only one big, comprehensive proposal is a better strategy. By doing so, you strengthen the proposal and then get the funding you need to progress to the next level.

That’s how we got our recent funding. We asked ourselves: what is the objective, and what helps us all collectively to meet our goals? It makes it much easier to reach a consensus when you’re in the same room. Being on the other side of the screen can make discussions a bit less amiable or effective. If you share personal stories before you start a meeting, it allows you to become friends over colleagues and colleagues over competitors. I think you need to meet people and interact with people more often to collaborate better.”

Journey forth together

“We face many challenges in society. From climate change and war to economic distress. Hopefully, the systems we are building, such as quantum computers connected by robust quantum networks, will enable us to model what’s happening with the climate, convincing the policymakers in The Hague, Brussels and Washington to make the right decisions to preserve our society. That is important.

Manifesto | Together we quest 34

We must ensure that we are as inclusive as possible so that we develop knowledge for possible solutions together. We cannot continue to only have the same types of people build and create knowledge; we should be a reflection of today’s society. We need to develop the workforce of the future.

For example, we need to start changing the language and make it more inclusive. When we write proposals, replace the word manpower with people power. I am trying to lead by example by using a more inclusive language in addressing the variety of people you may have in a room. We shouldn’t have only one gender or only one race, or people of a certain age or from a specific national origin. This is important for the future. It’s the pursuit of a specific goal that

keeps our group intact. In our ecosystem, the promise of the societal impact that quantum technology can make keeps people fascinated. The scientific challenges might not be attainable within seven years, but we might attain them in steps. That’s what drives me - the excitement of what you might discover or what you hear from students or postdocs.

I hope we will achieve the development of new knowledge, keep that knowledge in Europe and create societal impact in the next seven years. So let’s work towards having more powerful, robust and effective quantum networks. Let’s work towards expanding this network to cover the Netherlands and Europe. Let’s work towards transmitting data over these impressive distances.”

Chigo Okonkwo is an Associate Professor leading the High Capacity Optical Transmission laboratory at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). He is also a founding member of the Center for Quantum Materials and Technology. Since 2010, he has contributed to the EU projects QCINed, KAT2 Quantum Networks, MODEGAP and NWO SMOKE. His team is developing a Quantum communications testbed in the Eindhoven region as part of National Growth Funds on Quantum Technology.

Manifesto | Together we quest
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“You need to meet people and interact with people more often to collaborate better.”
Texel - Daffodils

Bart Folkers on today’s ecosystem

“With the QDNL ecosystem, I feel like I’m getting a free ticket to a fantastic movie for years to come.”

How long have you been part of the Quantum Delta NL ecosystem?

“I joined a few months ago. I attended one of the co-creation sessions about the Manifesto and left feeling really inspired. I thought it was cool how everyone listened to each other: renowned experts even listening to a 25-year-old newcomer like myself. I have been following the ecosystem ever since. I have been in contact with a number of people to see what we can accomplish together. I think of the current ecosystem as a big candy store where I get to meet all kinds of interesting people.

What I also found very special is that you immediately have a connection with people from the ecosystem and share the same focus. You don’t have to convince anybody; everybody knows it’s crucial that more people learn about quantum and that we think more about how we can use these wonderful opportunities from nature.”

Has it also given you ideas about how the ecosystem can be of value to you?

“My research is still in its early stages; it is about improving the education of quantum physics and quantum technology. That starts with the question: what is quantum technology? We are now working on the quantum 2.0 revolution. What are we going to say about that? What experiment can we use? What is the essence? Researchers and experts from the network help with that. When you explain something about quantum, you always lie a little because a model

is always a simplified representation. That’s why you need to converse with colleagues from the ecosystem and ask them: can I say this? Do I still capture the essence? That’s something you cannot do on your own.

The ecosystem also inspires me because I am still a physicist who enjoys feelings of wonder and amazement. With the QDNL ecosystem, I feel like I’m getting a free ticket to a fantastic movie for years to come. Where I get to experience up close all that we are discovering and producing. And as a young researcher and teacher, that sense of amazement is vital if you want to educate others.”

How does QDNL differ from quantum ecosystems in other countries?

“I don’t know enough about that; I can only comment on what I’ve experienced in my contact with other educators and researchers of quantum education in Europe. In other countries, I often see people get excited about trends that I’ve already seen in the Netherlands. I think it’s great that we Dutch people look around at what is happening around us, both in an interested and competitive way. The researchers and engineers are also strong in communicating with each other and in sharing knowledge. As a small country, we have a lot of diversity in terms of creativity, design and physics. We have got it all, which I find impressive.”

Quantum Delta NL | Ecosystem 39

What do you see happening in the field of quantum in the Netherlands?

“I see two trends in education. The first is based on a quote by Richard Feynman, one of the contributors to quantum physics, who said: ‘If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.’ I think this has been a bit of a harmful comment actually. Is quantum mechanics inherently more difficult to understand than, say, the concept of energy or gravity? We believe and see that that is not necessarily the case. But there needs to be a shift in attitude, and we are working hard on that.

The second trend is all about seeing what developments there have been in the field of quantum mechanics. Again, this is about that sense of amazement. Show people that quantum is not some spooky theory that no one can understand but is, in fact, a very powerful model, which results in more understanding and amazement about our world.

I notice that this resonates with students. There’s this misconception that physics solely belongs in a classroom setting. On the contrary, physics is about our daily life. After the initial sense of amazement, the questions come. Why can I see through glass? How does a LED work? How can we build better computers?”

What is your personal ambition?

“My family always said I would grow up to be either a pastor or a teacher. I am fascinated by nature and people. Humans are, as far as we know, the most complex physics systems in the universe. Electrons and other quantum particles are a lot easier to understand.

I like figuring things out through research while simultaneously sharing the essence of physics with a large group of people. That essence, to me, is an overwhelming sense of wonder. Physics is about taking that sense of wonder and using it as a catalyst to describe and understand the world around you.

I would love for our university to be a kind of quantum hub in the region, where, for example, schools could come to do experiments that need a more extensive setup. We are currently working on a minor in quantum mechanics

Bart Folkers graduated in Applied Physics and Science Education at the University of Twente, focussing on Material Science and Quantum Education. In addition to his studies, Bart has worked as a Physics Teacher and Teacher Educator for the past three years. Currently, he is doing a PhD in Quantum Education next to his work as a Physics Teacher at a secondary school.

Quantum Delta NL | Our ecosystem today
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“For me, education is exploring and wondering together, rather than simply explaining to someone else what’s going on.”

for non-physics students. This way, a business administration student who one day has to determine the strategy of quantum companies, is also able to get inspired and gain knowledge about the subject. Scientists and engineers are moving at great pace here in the Netherlands. In education, we need to keep up with that, simply because we need many people for this new industry, in all areas. Companies are also working hard on this. IBM, for example, already has an entire educational setup ready for quantum programming. They need people, so they benefit from educating people.

That’s my focus for the coming years. And I honestly think that this will keep me busy and happy for the rest of my life.”

What is the most important thing you want to convey as a teacher?

“Nature has shown us that the models we were trying to build, those simplified representations, do not correspond to experiments. Quantum mechanics arose from this, because researchers had to figure out how things could be done differently. That idea, looking at something differently, requires an open mindset. And if there is one thing I would like to pass on to my students, it is that. And I am very grateful that I get to do that in one of the most beautiful fields of physics; quantum mechanics.”

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“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Quantum Delta NL | Culture
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I find this famous quote by Peter Drucker to be very accurate - it implies that an organization’s culture determines its success regardless of how effective the strategy may be. No matter how detailed and solid the strategy, projects will fail if the people executing them don’t nurture the appropriate culture.

The same goes for Quantum Delta NL. We are on a mission to grow the quantum ecosystem in the Netherlands, an ecosystem that consists of people from different backgrounds and organizations - all with their own goals and motivations. The interdisciplinary teamwork within this ecosystem, crossing the boundaries of individual organizations, defines our success. Therefore, a safe and motivating culture is essential!

Because our ecosystem is still young and not set in its ways, we have a unique opportunity to shape its culture. In my view, there are several similarities between the QDNL ecosystem and the ones we find in nature. For instance, like in a forest,

QDNL doesn’t have a top-down chain of command; all its inhabitants have their own rules and leadership. And we have to safeguard the (bio)diversity in the ecosystem - when one species gets too dominant, the ecosystem may die. In the forest, there’s a role for both large and small trees, for termites and great apes – all of whom share the same natural environment.

With this Manifesto, we have created a clear starting point for our shared cultural values. It is not only the content that I am proud of but also the way it came about: in a co-creation process in which more than 100 community members participated – carefully orchestrated by facilitators but without ‘top-down’ leadership.

It is now up to all of us to make it happen. So please feel invited to work and co-create in the spirit of the Manifesto - to initiate, connect and innovate based on our shared values and ambition to be the leading Quantum Ecosystem for Europe.

Quantum Delta NL | Ecosystem
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Zeeland - Zeelandbrug Winter

Marc Hulzebos on societal impact

“Working together on emerging technology can change our loyalty to future generations.”

We make it easier to work together in delivering real innovation

“In my work as Innovation Officer at Eurofiber, I’ve been developing our quantum pathfinding mission. As an international telecom operator, what lies ahead of us, when is a good time for us to get involved? For businesses, there’s a challenge in explaining the promise of quantum or the quantum ecosystem, partly because scientists are cautious about the impact and applications that quantum technology may have in the future. But if you mix academics with business, you can create exciting chemistry. We jointly tackle issues like monetization. How can we make money from this technology? What will it cost? When can I invest, and how much money do I need? We are creating a strategy to use this future technology, but towards what end? What will the applications be?

The development of the ecosystem and the transfer of knowledge are very transparent and energetic. The emerging technology’s central promise inspires everyone I have talked to since I started researching quantum. That is amazing. There is this drive amongst academics and engineers to get information out there and get people to understand what’s happening. That can be challenging because you can’t be concrete about what it does or when it will be available.

I believe this is the gap that the Quantum Delta NL ecosystem is bridging. We want to help convey the promise of quantum technology, engage with our business, drive investor value and make real products for our customers.

To start, we have been working with QuTech, to help them get their Measurement-Device-Independent Quantum Key Distribution Technology out of the lab and into our actual data centre and fibre network environment. The goal for the QuTech team is to test their technology, offering us the chance to get some hands-on experience and translate it to our existing portfolio. We have also been working with QDNL to form the QCINed consortium. Its goal is to build more Dutch quantum networks using European funding. We want to work towards a European quantum network in a few years. The news that the consortium’s funding proposal was accepted is a great example of public and private sector collaboration. I look forward to working with these partners and engaging with today’s customers for tomorrow’s technology.”

Exploring society’s pressing needs

“Our fibre optic networks are an important part of today’s digital infrastructure, essential for research, innovation, education and public services.

Marc is an innovation professional and business development enthusiast. As Innovation Officer at Eurofiber, he’s developing their quantum pathfinding mission.

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Moreover, our network and data centres in the Netherlands are vital to Dutch society, delivering connectivity to the banking and payment industry, healthcare, energy, agriculture and infrastructure sector. This responsibility helps us focus on essential connectivity through our open network model. This networking philosophy is central to the connected digital society.

Working with the QDNL ecosystem, I feel it is important to make knowledge and technology available to anyone who wants to work with it. Global challenges like Food Security, Climate Change and the Energy Transition are more pressing than ever. Digital technology contributes by changing how we live, work, produce and consume and disrupts many of our existing models of business and government. I firmly believe that future technology developments will transform how we do business and help us manage resources more sustainably. If our ecosystem approach unleashes the full potential of people and organizations, we can use the following technological transformation to benefit society’s urgent needs.”

We put our children’s children over short-term gains

“An exciting challenge to overcome is changing our short-term horizons for long-term thinking. The academic world and government, politics and business all tend to focus on short-term gains.

We as humans are not equipped to think about the world this way: it’s hard to plant trees whose shade you know you will never sit in. Society is just not organized to focus on the huge goals that will profit our children, as opposed to our daily lives. To make a real leap in how we think and organize, I fully support the QDNL ecosystem ambitions. Working together on emerging technology may be the ideal starting place to change our loyalty to future generations.”

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“If you mix academics with straightforward business, you can create exciting chemistry.”

Jessie Qin-Dregely on inclusivity

“For equality to happen, we need to change the shared ideas in the mind of society.”

We strive to be a hub of diversity and inclusion

“Although we’re still in the phase of trying to orient ourselves as to what our culture and values are, our ecosystem is by itself very dynamic and inclusive. Even if you are not a native Dutch speaker, it’s not difficult to find a job, integrate, and be part of a team. This whole field is deep tech; we need the best talent from all over the world. We need good people and cannot afford to limit our talent pool to a specific nationality.

The ecosystem is a creative idea itself. There are other ecosystems in different regions of the world, but I think Quantum Delta NL has a funky touch. It’s different, partly because the Netherlands is a smaller country and because of a century-old tradition of innovation. There is more ‘gezelligheid’ and more interaction among people. This fosters collaboration, talent flow, and the generation of new ideas.

To be inclusive, you first need to care about the people. What kind of issues do they have, and what are their ideas? There is a lot to be done.

For equality to happen, we need to change the shared ideas in the mind of society. That change is so subtle; it does

not happen by only changing laws and regulations. We need to build awareness. This takes time and effort, and I believe communication is key.”

We don’t just defend inclusivity; we invest in it

“Single Quantum now has about 55 people with about 15 different nationalities. Because we grow so fast, it’s hard to keep the numbers up to date!

We haven’t had investors chasing us to make a quarterly financial report in the past ten years. This gives us the freedom to discuss what’s important to us and to invest in what we believe are the essential things.

I always think it’s remarkable how diverse our team is. Because our co-founders have been open to different perspectives from the start, this vision is embedded in the company culture.

When we grew into a team of 30-40 people, we got a dedicated HR officer. Before that, HR-related processes were designed instinctively. For example, often, it’s not the hiring manager who decides who to hire. Sometimes the team interviews people and then picks the best match. That is why we have 15 different nationalities.

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When talking about diversity, gender equality is an important theme. There’s a simple truth: after having children, men kick on in their careers, and women take time off and then don’t get to catch up. Parity in leave for parents is an essential ingredient for gender equality in the workplace. This requires government and company policy, but culture also plays a significant role, which isn’t that simple to change. Many people follow the pattern of their parents or feel pressure from society to follow the social norm. In that regard, we should look at countries like Sweden.

In the Netherlands, non-birthing parents can now take up to 9 weeks of parental leave, with the government paying 70% of their salary. Our policy is that we pay the additional 30%. This way, we encourage people to support their partners.

Our CEO, CTO, and a couple of engineers all took leave after becoming a father. Our CEO currently works 90% so he can spend a ‘papadag’ with his kids every two weeks. It’s important to have examples like that in the company. Also, we are flexible about designing a work week that fits the individual lives of our team members. We want to give families options.”

We have to make room for the emotions that come with leading as one

“It starts with a deep belief in the value of nurturing diversity. It’s also essential to discuss this on different levels through both formal and casual communication. Every company has problems to solve, especially when you’re growing fast like we are. We tend to be open about this and design processes that facilitate means of open communication.

Making room for emotions is especially important when working together with people from different countries. People may function and think differently. A colleague once complimented us about how everyone in the company is so approachable and how there is no real hierarchy. Although many of us value this concept, some people sometimes find it confusing. What works for one person doesn’t work for the other. So we should also leave room for these differences.

I think a company should grow like a tree rather than a machine. Of course, a tree doesn’t need a Central Processing Unit to decide which branch will grow in which direction, because in the end, all the leaves are optimized to catch the sunlight.”

Jessie Qin-Dregely is the COO of Single Quantum. Headquartered in Delft, Single Quantum develops and makes high-performance single photon detection systems based on superconducting nanowire and closed-cycle cryogenics. Jessie holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Southeast University in China and has worked as a visiting scholar at Duke University in the United States and as a Postdoc at the University of Stuttgart in Germany.

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Miriam Blaauboer on the future of the ecosystem

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Let’s start big: what dreams do you have about the future of quantum technology?

“Quantum technology will provide fundamentally new possibilities in computation, security and privacy – all important, but perhaps it sounds a bit mundane. What if quantum technology contributes to one or more of the global challenges we face? My biggest dream is that quantum technology provides food and clean water for everyone, protects the environment and transitions to new forms of generating energy.”

What do you think Quantum Delta NL will contribute to Dutch society?

“I think that QDNL will make the Netherlands one of the frontrunners in the world when it comes to investigating and developing quantum technology in a collaborative setting - bringing universities, companies and policymakers together. In addition, QDNL will be an inspiration and example for other (European) countries on how to build a successful ecosystem for a particular technology.”

What do you hope will happen for the ecosystem in the future?

“When I visualize the ecosystem in the future, I see a group of people sharing

ideas and working together. I hope the group will be even more diverse than it is now. Quantum mechanics is part of physics, but I hope people from diverse backgrounds will join. That would enrich the ecosystem. Plus, we need people from other disciplines: the workforce is too small to fill all the vacancies as it is, and that will still be the case 5 to 10 years from now.”

What should the ecosystem hold on to in the future?

“It’s a very positive and energetic group, and we’re all working towards the same goal. We’re actively looking for diversity in the widest sense of the word. This need for diversity was built in the ecosystem from the very beginning. In contrast, universities, for example, have been around for centuries, so it is more difficult to incorporate diversity there in the same way. The fact that we could include it from the beginning allows for a different way of thinking. That’s something to cherish.”

Miriam Blaauboer is an associate professor at Delft University of Technology and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, specializing in quantum dynamics in nanosystems. She got her PhD at the Free University of Amsterdam before working as a Postdoc at Harvard and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. At Quantum Delta NL she serves as the lead for Action Line 3 on Human Capital.

Quantum Delta NL | Ecosystem
“I would hope that in the future, our group will be even more diverse than it is now.”
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Adriaan Rol on the future of the ecosystem

“Now is our chance to ensure that the Netherlands becomes the centre of the European quantum industry.”

What do you see when you visualize the future of quantum technology?

“The potential impact of quantum technology is so profound that it is hard to imagine what it will look like exactly. What first comes to mind are potential quantum computing applications like simulations for drug research, chemistry, and material science like new kinds of superconductors or ways to save energy in chemical processes. The resulting advances in materials and the technologies that make use of what we learn will likely be beyond our wildest dreams and very different from what we think of right now. Whatever you can think of, it all leads back to quantum technology.

I find it fascinating that we are engaged in creating a completely new engineering discipline. Innovation is no longer just about understanding material properties but also about how to manage innovation. We will see entirely new disciplines, just like how the rise of software engineering resulted in new management theories like agile and scrum. So even if the quantum computer does not work, the impact of new ideas and ways of working will be tremendous.”

What is the added value of the Quantum Delta NL ecosystem in these developments?

“Quantum is moving from science to engineering. Engineering is about taking science beyond the limits of the exceptional individual to create something. How can we cut up problems without losing relevant details? And how can you

apply that to ways of working together? Engineering is the child of science. It is no longer just about learning things but about creating something. That is highly innovative.

The human element is very important. It’s no longer enough to inspire an individual.

You also have to look at how you can all work together. How can we do that in a way that allows people to specialize without losing sight of the fact that you operate as one?

The QDNL ecosystem has different perspectives. That is important for creativity, which you need for innovation. But it can also cause some friction from time to time. You have to be very direct and honest, especially with yourself. There must be room for feedback. That’s the only way you can resolve conflicts when they are still small and manageable. We must prevent people from staying in their bubble.

I value that openness and directness: I love an environment where you can speak freely. Of course, having a completely open environment is an illusion, but when you feel safe enough to speak

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“I hope we can resist the temptation to simplify things to make them sound better than they are.”

up, you end up with better innovations. When there is trust, you can have an open dialogue and focus on improving things. When there is no room for feedback, you effectively kill innovation.”

What do you think QDNL will contribute to the Dutch economy?

“Quantum technology is moving from the lab to society. In this phase, we, the first generation of companies, all supply technologies simply because we are not yet at a level where the applications are commercially viable, but the enabling technology is.

It’s all happening at such a fast pace. Just 2.5 years ago, we were sitting in The Hangout, a cafe on the campus in Delft, having a beer with seven people talking about entrepreneurship and a Dutch quantum ecosystem. Today, the first House of Quantum at Elektronicaweg 10 is full of companies founded by these same people. We have just moved in, and most of us have already outgrown our office space.

Now is our chance to ensure that the Netherlands becomes, at the very least, the centre of the European quantum industry. It is unique that an entirely new industry is built from the ground up. But,

of course, we can’t drop the ball and need to keep moving. QDNL plays an essential role in this. It’s not just an ecosystem of shared values and culture: there is also real money to stimulate innovation.

I would love for it to have a strong focus on commercial potential. QDNL perfectly fits this phase where it is no longer purely academic, yet not mature enough to stand on its own as an industry. As an ecosystem, we’re connected to the world at large, and QDNL plays an essential role in that as well. When, for example, the consulate organizes a reception on behalf of the Dutch quantum ecosystem that opens doors.”

What do you hope will happen for the ecosystem in the future?

“We need to focus. The ecosystem’s big pitfall is that we could divide that 615 million into many small pieces. Sometimes, it’s good to make tough decisions. Those decisions could affect us as well. But in the end, it’s not about the individual; it’s about what is good for the ecosystem.

I also hope that we will be able to keep it real. You sometimes see people who get sucked into the quantum hype and make promises that are complete nonsense. I hope we stay down to earth; that will

Adriaan is co-founder and director of Research & Development at Orange QS, a Delft-based company delivering diagnostics systems for quantum chips. He holds a PhD cum laude in physics from Delft University of Technology/QuTech where he worked on the Control for Programmable Superconducting Quantum Systems in the group of Professor Leo DiCarlo. In his free time, he enjoys sailing, surfing, and discussing philosophy over an over-priced cup of coffee.

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ensure our credibility and reliability in the long run. Sometimes, you have to sell the dream, but finding the right balance is essential. I hope we can resist the temptation to simplify things to make them sound better than they are.”

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Our purpose

We are at the frontier of quantum technology.

Together we form a leading ecosystem that thrives in the Netherlands for Europe’s competitiveness.

We aim to offer quantum solutions for global challenges to contribute to a sustainable future.

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