Tomorrow’s Quantum Hotbeds?  7 US Cities That Could Incubate The Next Big Quantum Tech Ecosystem

Tomorrow’s Quantum Hotbeds? 7 US Cities That Could Incubate The Next Big Quantum Tech Ecosystem

  • Research institutions: The University of Minnesota, with its strong emphasis on science and engineering research, is a key asset. The university is involved in cutting-edge research in various fields that complement quantum technologies. Recently, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota Twin Cities was awarded a $1.4 million grant for quantum computing.
  • Enterprising population: The Twin Cities have a thriving startup scene, backed by a network of accelerators, incubators and a venture capital presence. The region’s diverse economy also provides a broad base for innovation.
  • A pro-innovation government: The government of Minnesota has been proactive in promoting innovation and technology-based economic development, with several initiatives aimed at supporting startups and research and development activities.
  • Quantum Solutions: Minneapolis-St. Paul’s diverse economy, with strong medical devices, agriculture and financial services sectors, can use quantum technologies to advance healthcare diagnostics, agricultural optimization and financial risk assessment.

6, Albuquerque, New Mexico

A breathtaking view of the Sandia Peak Trail in Albuquerque, New Mexico at sunset
A breathtaking view of the Sandia Peak Trail in Albuquerque, New Mexico at sunset
  • Research institutions: Home to the University of New Mexico (UNM) and close to Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Albuquerque offers unparalleled access to leading scientific research, particularly in areas related to quantum computing and technology. The Center for Quantum Information and Control (CQuIC) is a center for interdisciplinary research in quantum information science. UNM also partnered with Sandia National Laboratories to launch the university’s newest research center, the Quantum New Mexico Institute (QNM-I).
  • Enterprising population: The city is developing its startup ecosystem with an emphasis on technology-oriented businesses. The presence of large national laboratories also opens up opportunities for technology transfer that can be used by start-ups.
  • A pro-innovation government: New Mexico offers a variety of incentives for technology businesses, including research and development tax credits aimed at encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Quantum solutions: Albuquerque, with its proximity to national laboratories and focus on renewable energy, aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors, can see benefits from quantum technologies in materials science, energy storage solutions and optimization of manufacturing processes and aerospace design.

7. Rochester, New York

Aerial view of High Falls in Rochester, New York on a cloudy day
Aerial view of High Falls in Rochester, New York on a cloudy day
  • Research institutions: Rochester is home to the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology, both of which are involved in significant research in optics, imaging and photonics, fields closely related to quantum technology. The University of Rochester touts its UR Quantum Center. RIT considers photonics a research major.
  • Enterprising population: The city has a history of innovation in imaging and optics, and more recently a growing tech startup scene. Initiatives such as the Rochester Angel Network and the Venture Creations incubator support technology entrepreneurship.
  • A pro-innovation government: New York State offers a variety of programs and incentives to support startups and R&D, especially in upstate regions like Rochester. This includes grants, tax incentives and support for technology incubators and accelerators.
  • Quantum Solutions: Rochester’s historical strength in optics and imaging, along with its emerging focus on healthcare and information technology, positions it well to take advantage of quantum technologies in developing next-generation imaging techniques, improving healthcare diagnostics and secure data processing, and communication.

Obviously, this is a small list that definitely misses a bunch of major US cities and regions that could be America’s next great quantum ecosystem. There are significant limitations to creating a list like this. For example, great research doesn’t necessarily lead to great startups. The translational and interdisciplinary science required to build quantum companies is often part of the culture of some research communities and not included in others. It is also difficult to assess the “entrepreneurial” population – which I measured by the presence of incubators, for example – as well as a term like “pro-innovation”, which tries to capture the ethos of the government, but no doubt does not take into account real concerns, such as tax structure and efficiency in applying these taxes to build ecosystems of innovation, for example.

Because quantum is such a nascent emerging industry, many startups are still forming and flying under the radar, while others may be deliberately stealthy.

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