QuTec: Quantum Technology Innovations for Society


Quantum technology (QT) has become a high priority worldwide in recent years. With the developments in cryogenics, photonics, lithography, and similar complementary technologies, the fabrication and manipulation of ever smaller physical systems enable the creation of novel devices and techniques that exploit quantum phenomena such as superposition, interference, and entanglement. By using these physical phenomena of the quantum realm, the development of new sensors, communication systems, and a novel type of computers called “quantum computers” appear feasible soon.

Currently, planned public investment in QT worldwide totals more than €20 billion over the next decade, and Germany alone plans to spend €2.65 billion on these technologies. With the allocation of such large amounts of public funds, there is a growing need to link R&D in QT with reflection and action on societal issues, ethics, and technology assessment topics. As QT becomes more popular, it becomes increasingly important to explore questions such as potential threats to the current internet infrastructure from quantum computers or the reasons for prioritizing QT against other research topics.

This project will conduct research on the landscape of QT, innovation and transformation expectations, and societal aspects of quantum technologies. This will involve interviews with researchers in the field and workshops on responsible research and innovation (RRI) in this area.

As QT develops, path dependencies will emerge and new opportunities for research on the topic will arise. The following two questions are thus at the core of the project:

  • How are quantum technologies imagined, envisioned, and intended to be realized in our current techno-societies?
  • What are the possible path dependencies for future scenarios for the development of these technologies?

The project will also make recommendations for future research in quantum technology assessment.


Dipl.-Pol. Christopher Coenen
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS)
Postfach 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: 0721 608-24559