Illinois Governor Proposes $500M for Quantum Tech in New Budget

February 22, 2024

Feb. 22, 2024 — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is asking state legislators for half a billion dollars for quantum technologies in the proposed budget he released Wednesday—the latest show of support for a regional quantum ecosystem that has attracted millions of dollars in corporate and government investment in recent years and is emerging as a central driver of US leadership in the field.

Credit: Robert Kozloff.

In an interview with Axios, Pritzker said his proposal includes $200 million for a cryogenic facility needed to keep quantum computing systems cool and $100 million for the development of a quantum campus.

“We already were establishing ourselves as a leading hub for quantum development—now we have the opportunity to take it a big step further,” Pritzker told the outlet.

The announcement comes as a Chicago Quantum Exchange-led coalition competes for up to $70 million in federal funding during the second phase of a federal initiative aimed at supercharging innovation economies that have the potential to become global leaders in a critical technology within a decade. The Bloch Tech Hub, the cross-sector coalition led by the CQE, earned the region a designation as a US Regional Innovation and Technology Hub for quantum technologies in the first phase of the program last year. That selection was announced in October by the White House and the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The CQE is based at the University of Chicago and anchored by the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Northwestern University and includes more than 40 corporate, international, nonprofit, and regional partners. It has played a key role in fostering the cross-sector partnerships that are at the center of the region’s growing strength in the field—and its institutions have attracted significant investment in recent years.

That includes $280 million in federal funding as part of the 2018 National Quantum Initiative Act and a combined $150 million from IBM and Google to the University of Chicago and the University of Tokyo last year for two separate plans to advance quantum computing.

“The University of Chicago is deeply committed to research in quantum science and technology research, and we are enthusiastic about our partnerships with the remarkable research universities and national laboratories as we form the world’s premiere quantum technology community,” said UChicago President Paul Alivisatos. “Governor Pritzker has been fostering the innovation environment in Illinois, and today’s announcement will uplift these efforts. The advancement of quantum technologies with these extraordinary investments will lead to equally extraordinary advances for the state and for the nation as a whole.”

The Chicago region is home to some of the world’s leading experts in quantum information science; a broad and well-distributed industry base; a vibrant startup culture that includes Duality, the nation’s first quantum startup accelerator; four of the 10 National Quantum Initiative Act research centers; and infrastructure that includes a 124-mile quantum network that is one of the nation’s longest.

“Government investment is key to the growing strength of the Chicago region’s quantum ecosystem, which has been at the heart of advancing research, building a future quantum workforce, and driving the quantum economy,” said David Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering in the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and the director of the CQE. “Quantum technologies have the potential to bring advances that will strengthen US economic and national security, making this support important not only for the region but for the nation.”


Source: Becky Beaupre Gillespie, Chicago Quantum Exchange

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