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Launch of the Open Quantum Institute in Geneva

Business environment

16 October 2023

The primary objective of the OQI is to employ quantum technologies for the broader global benefit, emphasizing speeding up the attainment of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The primary objective of the OQI is to employ quantum technologies for the broader global benefit, emphasizing speeding up the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Open Quantum Institute (OQI) was officially launched on 13 October 2023. This endeavor, resulting from a collaborative effort involving the FDFA, GESDA, CERN, and UBS, is located in Geneva.

According to the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), quantum computing is poised to revolutionize our global landscape. Highlighted during the policy deliberations at GESDA’s third summit in Geneva, this transformative technology promises an exponential leap in computational speeds. During the inauguration event of the OQI, Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis emphasized the urgency for global leaders to address the expanding digital disparity, advocating the necessity of establishing international governance structures specifically for quantum computing.

Inaugurated in 2019 under the aegis of the Swiss Confederation, GESDA operates as a neutral, non-profit foundation. It offers a unique convergence platform for diplomats and scientists to collaboratively engage in practical projects. Notably, GESDA annually publishes the Science Breakthrough Radar, a comprehensive report detailing imminent scientific innovations likely to garner significant attention and investments over foreseeable future timelines.

The OQI signifies a collective response to the global emphasis on quantum computing. Besides advancing the SDGs, the institute envisions global accessibility to this avant-garde technological realm. With its foundation in Geneva, the OQI is a manifestation of synergies between the FDFA, GESDA, CERN, and UBS.

“The launch of this institute reaffirms Switzerland’s determination to continue to invest in science diplomacy. Only then will we be in a position to respond more rapidly to the challenges that will impact our planet,” explained Cassis. “The OQI offers countries wishing to partner with Switzerland a forum and space to ensure that the benefits of quantum computing will accrue to all of humanity, not just a minority”

Applications in healthcare and climate solutions

Quantum computing is already shaping solutions, particularly in areas central to the SDGs like combating hunger, healthcare accessibility, and climate change mitigation. Practically, the technology has the potential to swiftly and accurately forecast patterns of antibiotic resistance and pinpoint novel, specialized drugs. Furthermore, quantum computing is set to optimize processes that anchor carbon to materials, contributing to climate change alleviation. The establishment of the OQI exemplifies a step towards empowering nations to address their pressing local challenges.