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India, Finland Collaborate on Quantum Computing, Carbon-Neutral Tech

Image credit: DrJitendraSingh; Twitter

India and Finland have worked out a detailed plan to establish an Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Centre on Quantum Computing. According to the Indian Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh, India has already identified three premier institutes to work with Finnish counterpart institutions on the centre. The institutes include the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras), the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune, and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). As per a press release, a formal announcement regarding the establishment of the centre is likely to be made during the Finnish Economic Affairs Minister’s visit to India in April.

A Finnish delegation, led by Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde, called on the Union Minister and reviewed the progress of the countries’ cooperation in areas like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and sustainability through academia, industries, and start-ups. Singh called for collaboration in the Department of Science and Technology (DST)-initiated mission-mode programmes like electric vehicles (EVs), cyber-physical systems, future manufacturing, and green hydrogen fuel, among others. To deliver benefits to both countries, the bilateral science, technology, and innovation (STI) collaboration will stimulate research and development projects. These initiatives will address specific challenges and are expected to demonstrate high industrial relevance and commercial potential in India and Finland.

Singh stated that the two sides have a strong bond in STI. Within the framework of an agreement, the DST, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Business Finland, and the Academy of Finland have been collaborating for over a decade. Singh also recalled Finland’s leading role in clean and green technologies, which can aid India’s drive towards sustainable development.

Finland reiterated its commitment to enhanced cooperation in renewable and bioenergy, sustainability, edu-tech, pharmaceuticals, and digitisation. Koukku-Ronde noted that Finnish companies would partner with India for carbon-neutral technologies and innovations. She also underlined that both sides should enhance cooperation for sustainability in climate change. The Ambassador invited India to explore the possibility of deeper cooperation in Finland’s biobank project to mediate high-quality human samples to medical research and develop new products and services that promote public health.

There are about 100 enterprisers from Finland that operate within several sectors of the Indian economy, namely telecom, elevators, machinery, energy, and renewable energy. Similarly, In Finland, there are over 25 Indian firms that work in the information technology, auto-components, and hospitality sectors. The adoption of quantum technologies across industries has the potential to add US$280-US$310 billion of value to the Indian economy by 2030, as per a recent report. The uptake by Indian companies is also poised to grow by 45%. The manufacturing, high-tech, banking, and defence sectors are expected to be forerunners in terms of quantum technologies adoption for critical and large-scale use cases.

The Indian quantum ecosystem is developing significantly, with 10-15 government agencies, 20-30 service providers, 15-20 startups, and 40-50 academic institutions operating in the field. Out of the almost 100 quantum projects launched in the country, the government funds approximately 92%. The rise in cloud hyperscalers is also making quantum technology more accessible on the cloud. In India, the adoption of quantum computing technology in companies is about 1-2%. This is forecast to increase to 35-45% over the next ten years.

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