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PQIC Status Updates - November 2021

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

This page contains the latest Potomac Quantum Innovation Center (PQIC) program updates. Please subscribe through our website to receive periodic updates or to contact us. Last updated November 11, 2021.


Highlights & Milestones

  • Submitted the “DMV Quantum Innovation Growth Cluster” Phase 1 Concept Proposal on behalf of a broad regional coalition to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (with overall cluster funding potential of $25 – 100 million). The two-year effort building out PQIC formed the kernel of our region's ambition to accelerate a quantum growth cluster in Greater Washington, resulting in a unified collective public-private-academia-community submission for this funding opportunity. This large-scale effort resulted in 99 letters of support and commitment. Read more about the We Are Greater Washington joint regional funding program office and our region’s quantum bid here.

  • Held the 3rd PQIC Steering Committee meeting on October 6, which focused on the EDA Build Back Better Phase 1 proposal, submitted on October 19 (with award notification expected in December). The Phase 2 deadline for cluster component project proposals is March 15, 2022.

  • PQIC Steering Committee members Dr. Darryl Pines (President of The University of Maryland, College Park), Dr. Wayne Frederick (President of Howard University), and Dr. Gregory Washington (President of George Mason University) spoke on a panel at the inaugural DMV Regional Congress (September 16) hosted by Connected DMV on the importance of regional collaboration in establishing a quantum growth cluster. Read more here.

  • PQIC Steering Committee member Dr. Darryl Pines wrote an op-ed for The Baltimore Sun published on October 1 entitled “Quantum Physics Will Revolutionize the DMV Region,” in which he mentioned PQIC as a key enabler of the region’s quantum ecosystem and wrote, “Make no mistake: This is our generation’s space race. Who will be the first to unleash the power of quantum? It should be the DMV area, and it can be, if we start putting all the pieces together now.”

  • PQIC’s George Thomas spoke on the promise of quantum for regional economic development at the Rockville Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Panel on October 5, alongside panelists Cindy Rivarde (Rockville Economic Development Inc. - REDI), Ben Wu (Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation), and Carla Merritt (MD Department of Commerce).

  • PQIC’s George Thomas participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Quantum: Separating Reality from Hype,” alongside national and regional quantum stakeholders at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo on October 20.

  • PQIC’s George Thomas presented on the promise of quantum for regional economic development to the Maryland National Capital Region Economic Development Alliance (MDNCREDA) on September 29 and to the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA) on November 18.

Progress Updates

Education & Workforce

  • Held two meetings of the Quantum K-12 Brain Trust with participating school districts around Greater Washington to develop a regional quantum awareness, skills, and experiential learning program for K-12 students and educators

  • Divided the Quantum K-12 Brain Trust into the two groups focusing on developing programs in joint curriculum building and experiential learning

  • Executed a partnership agreement with Credly, a digital credentials agency, and began developing a badging program for PQIC Academy

  • Launched the initial version of the “Understanding Quantum” primer with information on quantum basics, technology domains, and PQIC’s focus growth sectors (life sciences, energy and environment, transportation and space tech, and national security)

  • Conducted an inventory of quantum education and training programs and capabilities at major universities in the region

  • Participated in QED-C Workforce TAC meetings

Research & Development

  • Forming brain trusts to advance the strategy and design for the Quantum for Life Sciences (Q4LS) and Quantum for Energy & Environment (Q4EE) industry cohorts

  • Conducted an inventory of quantum research assets and capabilities at major universities in the region

  • Developing the DMV Quantum Shared Infrastructure model with George Mason University, Georgetown University, Howard University, and other partners

Market Acceleration

  • The Quantum Startup Foundry (QSF, based at UMD) held its inaugural Quantum Investment Summit, the first of its kind connecting investors with startups on the East Coast, on October 12 and 13, where UMD announced the creation of the Discovery Fund to support innovative companies and startups to the tune of $1 million per year, and whose first round will focus on quantum-based businesses located in College Park and Prince George’s County.

  • PQIC participated in QSF Advisory Board meetings

Policy & Standards

  • Developing framework with partners to build out a quantum supply chain and manufacturing capability

  • Conducting discussions with regional and national stakeholders to form a quantum policy and ethics initiative

Funding & Marketing

  • Executing strategic joint regional funding pursuits with partners (such as for EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge)

  • Developing the delivery model and founding partnerships for launching an annual global event based in the region


  • Developing closer coordination with the Mid-Atlantic Quantum Alliance (MQA) on regional operations and programs

  • In collaboration with MQA, launched the Quantum Tunnel Webinars, an occasional webinar series showcasing thought leadership and significant updates from MQA members across academia, industry, government, and research laboratories. Held on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:00 pm Eastern, the Quantum Tunnel is designed to help both the Mid-Atlantic region get through barriers to quantum innovation and quantum enthusiasts get through their week. The webinar series will highlight topics, trends, and activities related to quantum technology, applications, and education/workforce. Most Quantum Tunnel webinars are intended to raise interest and awareness in quantum across a broad audience, so a technical background is not necessary. The first webinar will be on November 17 and will showcase The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s (JHU/APL) Quantum Education in Science and Technology (QuEST) program to introduce high school and college interns to quantum information sciences (QIS). Find more information here.

Upcoming Meetings & Events

  • 4th PQIC Steering Committee on December 15


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