The opening of the Russian Quantum Center’s (RQC) office at Skolkovo coincided with the ten-year anniversary of the signing of the federal law regarding Skolkovo Innovation Center. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the Skolkovo Institute of Science of Technology (Skoltech) campus, where the quantum center office is located. Following the ceremony, the Skolkovo Foundation Board of Directors held an anniversary meeting to mark the event.
The Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Board of Directors Viktor Vekselberg mentioned that a lot has been achieved in the course of the last ten years, notwithstanding the difficult situations that have arisen. “What’s important is that the project has come into its own and that today the Skolkovo project occupies a well-deserved place on Russia’s innovative development map.”
It’s unfortunate that the ten-year anniversary of the Skolkovo Foundation has fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic as events that were planned to coincide with the anniversary have not taken place. However, Mr. Vekselberg said that these events are not being cancelled but have instead been put on hold, and the momentous date will be properly marked.
This coming December will mark the ten-year anniversary of the Russian Quantum Center, which was one of the first Skolkovo participants. The Russian Quantum Center was the thirteenth Skolkovo project participant and “that number has been lucky for us ever since,” said Ruslan Yunusov, one of the center’s founders and now the head of the quantum technologies project office at the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation. The RQC will mark its anniversary with a new office, which meets its technological and human needs, as well as a significant increase in its number of laboratories and, consequently, its number of staff members.
“The move completely captures the changes that have taken place with us in recent years. From a small science center we have grown into being a key expert in the Russian scientific community and a noticeable player on the global arena,” said Ruslan Yunusov.
Seventeen science teams are working on fundamental studies in the quantum technologies field; both international and Russian scientists are taking part as well as students and alumni from the RQC and the MIPT (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology). In addition to scientific activities, the researchers can develop applied projects which has already led to eight spin-off projects.
In the coming year over ten laboratories will be built from scratch, thus fulfilling Rosatom’s quantum computing roadmap. As new research groups are created, the size of the center itself is also expected to increase.
The Skolkovo Foundation Chairman Arkady Dvorkovich emphasized the significance of this event for the development of a perennial and mutually beneficial cooperation between the Skolkovo Foundation and the RQC. “The opening of the RQC office at the innovation center will allow us to effectively develop fundamental research in the field of quantum technologies and to utilize all the advantages of the Skolkovo ecosystem,” said Mr. Dvorkovich.
Skoltech President Alexander Kuleshov also spoke about the significance of having RQC laboratories at the campus, noting that quantum technologies are too expensive for the country to have in different places. He considered concentrating RQC infrastructure at Skoltech’s campus as absolutely justified even if the institute is not directly involved in its work and does not plan on taking part in developing a quantum computer.
Wolfgang A. Hermann, the former president of the Technical University of Munich, called the RQC “one of the most advanced scientific centers of quantum research in the world,” noting also that this is not so much his assessment as deputy chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Board of Directors but as a scientist and researcher.
Viktor Vekselberg brought attention to the important role Gazprombank has played in the quantum center’s success by acting as its financial partner. The bank’s First Deputy Chairman Dmitry Sauers was in attendance at the Skolkovo Foundation Board of Directors anniversary meeting. Mr. Vekselberg devoted his speech to the Skolkovo ecosystem without which, according to him, there would be no RQC. “It’s possible to find money, but it’s very difficult to create the conditions in which people believe in you,” he said. In this regard, he furthered Wolfgang Hermann’s idea, which calls upon the RQC to attract more Russian scientists working abroad – the best specialists in the world in quantum computing.
According to Dmitry Sauers, it is those very scientists that are running some of the laboratories at the quantum center, and he stated, “We have an amazing young team and it isn’t a question of money. Money is necessary but not the only condition. Skolkovo’s creation and the Russian Quantum Center’s success both confirm that such infrastructure is needed in the country.”