Close up photograph of a quantum computer
A close-up photograph of the inner workings of a quantum computer at UC Berkeley.

UC Noyce Initiative Call for Application in Quantum Technology

Grants support collaboration on quantum research among five UC campuses

The UC Noyce Initiative is proud to announce that new funding opportunities are now available to advance collaborative research in quantum technology among five campuses within the University of California system.

The grants, which will range from up to $600,000 to $800,000, will support partnerships between the five UC campuses that are part of The UC Noyce Initiative: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, San Francisco, Santa Barbara. Applications are due April 24, 2024. 

“Just as Dr. Noyce’s work spurred digital innovation that revolutionized the world when he invented the microchip and co-founded Intel, we hope these grants–which are funded from his trust–will spur innovation in the latest technologies in quantum computing,” said Michael Groom, trustee of the Robert N. Noyce Trust. “The UC system is home to some of the most cutting-edge quantum research in the world. So, we are excited to see what projects researchers will submit as part of this call for applications.” 

Supporting quantum technology

This current call for applications seeks to support collaborative research that advances the pertinency of quantum technology to be applied into the physical world through co-development of integrated hardware and new algorithms. To that end, applications that are submitted must focus on one of the following three critical challenges in quantum information science:

  • Quantum Hardware Challenge: Improve the integration and scaling of quantum hardware for use in computing by navigating the conflicting requirements of isolation and control. Specific approaches of interest include the use of photonics to replace wires and the development of new techniques to reduce and mitigate noise.
  • Quantum Simulation Challenge: Develop new algorithms and improve understanding of quantum simulation used for natural phenomena (e.g., chemistry, materials and physics problems) on integrated quantum devices through techniques for initial state preparation (e.g., ground, thermal and non-equilibrium states). 
  • Quantum Sensing Challenge: Advance useful applications of quantum sensors to observe the physical world through improvement of existing sensors, development of new sensors and leveraging the interactive power of multiple sensors through integration and networking. 

Awards may cover relevant research expenses including salary support, graduate student/postdoctoral research support, supplies and materials, computing expenses, equipment, publication expenses and travel costs. Researchers with principal investigator status at any of the five participating campuses are eligible to apply. Funding will be distributed during a two-year period.

Grants serve as seed funding for innovative research

Those with the Initiative seek to support research efforts that are innovative, have the potential for high-impact and hold a strong promise for follow-on funding. 

Quantum technology is one of three current research priorities of The UC Noyce Initiative, which is principally funded by the Robert N. Noyce Trust. Other research areas include cybersecurity and comparative medicine, which includes the intersection of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and health/medicine.

Since the launch of the pilot program in 2020-21, The UC Noyce Initiative has involved 71 principal investigators who, in turn, have garnered an additional $16.7 million in funding,  generated 88 new publications, as well as engaged 93 students and 24 postdoctoral scholars in research.

Greater emphasis on multi-campus projects

A new element to the 2024 grant funding is a greater emphasis on supporting multi-campus research projects. Grants will only be issued to projects that involve at least three campuses. Additionally, award amounts increase as the number of campuses involved increases — up to $600,000 can be awarded for three campuses; $800,000 may be awarded for projects that involve four to five campuses.

“A key goal of the UC Noyce Initiative is to spur collaboration and help incentivize researchers from these powerhouse institutions to work together to innovate,” Groom said, “We want to harness the power of these five universities to advance digital innovation that is timely and has real potential to positively impact the public good.”

Read the Call for Applications

About The UC Noyce Initiative

The UC Noyce Initiative brings together researchers from five UC campuses— Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, San Francisco and Santa Barbara — by building community and providing financial funding for cross-campus research projects in digital innovation.

About the Noyce Legacy

In 2020, The Robert N. Noyce Trust made a gift to the University of California system to launch The UC Noyce Initiative to honor the legacy of Robert Noyce, Ph.D. and his wife, Ann S. Bowers. Noyce was a world-renowned physicist, inventor of the microchip and co-founder of Intel. A pilot program of the Initiative was launched during the 2020-21 academic year. The UC Noyce Initiative was publicly launched on December 12, 2024, to coincide with the late Dr. Noyce’s birthday.

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