• The foundation aims to boost quantum computing and support Switzerland’s commitment to excellence in higher education
  • UBS to provide multi-year support as lead partner, including strategic expertise

Zurich, October 13, 2023 – UBS is partnering with the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator Foundation (GESDA), CERN, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Swiss higher-education institutions ETH Zurich and EPFL to create the Open Quantum Institute (OQI), which is being launched today in Geneva.

Through science diplomacy, the foundation aims to bring firms and people closer together to work on projects related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In its projects, the OQI endeavors to maximize the potential of quantum computing to accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs and solving some of the world’s most pressing issues in fields such as health, energy, climate action, clean water and food security.

Quantum computing uses quantum mechanics to deliver processing power that’s far in advance of that achieved by classical computers. While still in its infancy, quantum computing is expected to have a major impact on the future of society and various industries such as finance, chemistry and materials science.

As a lead partner to the OQI, UBS intends to provide funding of up to CHF 2 million annually and strategic expertise over the next several years, with Group Chief Risk Officer Christian Bluhm joining the foundation’s Advisory Board. Through its engagement, UBS helps Switzerland be a globally relevant player in quantum computing and supports the country’s first-class higher education institutions, while staying close to research at the cutting edge of technological development.

“We’re delighted to have been chosen as a lead partner to the OQI and to support the coming together of scientific research, business and government for the common good,” says UBS Group Chief Risk Officer Christian Bluhm. “New technologies have an increasingly vital role to play in developing solutions to many of the big issues we face as a society. The use of quantum computing to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals marks an important step on the road to a more sustainable future.”

"Today, we are demonstrating that we are a think-tank that is also capable of carrying out large-scale projects. The OQI shows that science diplomacy, which aims to revitalize multilateralism by turning it towards action, leads to success," says Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of GESDA. “The OQI is the result of work carried out over the last twelve months by some 130 experts and representatives in Geneva from some twenty countries. I thank them warmly”.
“The world needs proactive scientific diplomacy. With the Open Quantum Institute, we have the first concrete proposal on how international governance can prepare for the challenges of the 21st century. I'm convinced that Switzerland must dare to take this path,” says Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis.

“By the nature of its research, the technologies it develops, and its open science approach, CERN is well positioned to promote the application of transformative technologies to society. We are proud to be hosting the three-year pilot phase of the OQI,” says CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti. “During the pilot phase, the OQI will benefit from CERN's experience of uniting people from across the globe to push the frontiers of science and technology for the benefit of all. We look forward to working with partners from academia, industry and governments to ensure that quantum computing has a positive impact for all of society."

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