Quantum Quest Seed Fund
Just as we could only imagine the impact of the transistor in 1947, we can only imagine the future opportunities quantum technologies will reveal. The Quantum Quest Seed Fund (QQSF) is designed to broadly encourage quantum exploration and innovation across TQT’s grand challenges and beyond.
The QQSF promotes the development of new ideas and applications for quantum devices. This fund is intended to encourage ideas and uncover opportunities from diverse fields outside the scope of researchers working day-to-day with quantum devices.
QQSF Round 9 is now open. This is a targeted opportunity for the Faculties of Health and Environment at the University of Waterloo (UW).
If you are interested in applying, you may refer to the guideline below and Q&A for additional information. The following links provide details relating to previous awards:
- Cycle 1 & 2 awards: $900K in seed funding supports new quantum projects;
- Cycle 3 & 4 awards: New quantum technology projects receive funding boost;
- Cycle 5 & 6 awards: Seed fund backs $2.8M in new quantum ideas at the University of Waterloo; and
- Cycle 8 awards: Seed fund continues to support new diverse quantum projects.
We encourage proposals from any tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the Faculties of Health and Environment at UW, both established and new to the quantum community. For Round 9, proposals that particularly interest us are described below.
- Quantum sensing for health diagnostics, prognostics, treatment and / or monitoring
- Quantum sensing for detecting changes to the environment
- Quantum simulation where there is a need for new materials understanding in environment and / or health
Quantum technologies will enable new modes of information security, increased computational efficiency for select problems, more efficient and precise sensing and through simulation provide new tools for exploring quantum mechanics.
Today there are near-term, deployable quantum technologies, most prevalent as sensors and quantum simulators. This call is to advance early adoption of quantum technologies by identifying a broader range of applications for simulation and sensing (and need not be limited to the themes above).
TQT supports two open access quantum simulation platforms. These will be operational late this year. We anticipate that they will form a starting point for new materials understanding, particularly of superconductors, topological insulators, spintronic, magnetic, excitonic, valleytronic and other quantum matter. The goal is for simulation to lead to new materials and devices.
Quantum sensing is better developed and offers the following potential advantages:
- improved sensitivity (even to the limit of individual photons or molecules)
- improved precision and specificity
- direct measurements of correlated properties (such as identifying chemical species along with their mobility)
- use of quantum entanglement for non-classical correlations
- atomic scale sensing, including scanning atomic scale
This call aims to fund explorations into potential uses of quantum technology in environment and health. TQT will fund new activities as 2-year seed projects (“Seed”) for developed ideas, or will fund as 6-month exploratory studies (“Exploratory”) to develop ideas, hopefully to be followed with seed funding. TQT can assist in developing ideas and partnerships with quantum researchers at UW.
While we anticipate that quantum sensors will someday be widely deployed, today they are challenging to get out of the lab and are typically very expensive. So, the first adoption of quantum sensing has been in areas where there are not existing solutions and where cost is not a driver. Some current TQT funded sensor projects are:
- eye health, particularly related to macular degeneration through structured light;
- early cancer diagnostics, based on the helicity of early stage tumors;
- sub-surface, atomic resolution materials imaging;
- a COVID sensor with high sensitivity quantum detector;
- a suite of neutron interferometry capabilities for quantum matter and dark matter;
- probes for structural biology of proteins bound in membranes; and
- optical sensing of metals in the environment.
Where you see an opportunity, and need for improved sensing or quantum simulation, we hope that you will participate in this call.
The QQSF provides funding for Seed projects in the amount of up to $50,000 per year for a two-year period, and up to $15,000 for six-month Exploratory studies. Projects funded under QQSF are expected to lead to other sources of follow-on external funding. We encourage proposals that consider measures to improve equity performance. Note that QQSF supports only new activities.
Each project must have only one lead Principal Investigator (PI). The PI shall have an existing tenure or tenure-track appointment within the Faculty of Health or Environment.
To comply with Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) award administration, QQSF will only accept applications that do not replace or displace the funding that is available through Tri-Council agency’s regular programming.
The application process involves the completion of the following:
- Seed Application Form (includes Budget Justification) or Exploratory Application Form (includes Budget Justification);
- Budget Worksheet (for Seed applications only);
- Principal Investigator’s CV; and
- UW Coversheet for Sponsored Research (Information for completing the UW Coversheet).
The following item is only required upon award:
Please submit your application to email@example.com by Monday, June 21 at 5pm ET.
For more information, or to discuss your idea in advance, you may contact Ms. Tracey Forrest, Program Director, Transformative Quantum Technologies, firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay informed about future calls for applications, fill out the form below.