Expanding the Boundaries: The Open Quantum Institute Makes Quantum Computing Accessible for Sustainable Development

A ground-breaking initiative called the Open Quantum Institute (OQI) is set to launch at CERN, with the aim of democratising quantum computing resources and technical expertise for projects supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The three-year OQI program, developed by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) in partnership with over 130 experts, will receive funding from UBS as the lead impact partner. The announcement of the pilot phase was made during the GESDA summit on October 13, 2023, and the program is expected to be fully integrated into CERN’s Quantum Technology Initiative (QTI) by March 1, 2024.

The OQI will function as the public-facing arm of the QTI, an existing initiative established in 2018 that encompasses various research areas related to quantum technology. These include quantum computing and algorithms, quantum simulation and information processing, quantum sensing, metrology and materials, as well as quantum communication and networks.

With the ultimate goal of maximizing the societal impact of quantum computing, the OQI aims to promote and facilitate access to quantum computing resources and expertise. By doing so, it seeks to bridge the digital divide by making cutting-edge quantum technologies available to underserved regions.

“We are proud to host the OQI at CERN and provide a platform that transcends geographical boundaries, enabling the power of quantum computing to address the SDGs,” states Enrica Porcari, Head of CERN’s IT department. “CERN’s long-standing tradition of collaboration and knowledge sharing positions it as the ideal host for the pilot phase of the OQI. It will bolster CERN’s role as a scientific institution serving society, not only within the Member and Associate Member States but also globally.”

The OQI pilot phase will focus on three or four projects that specifically target SDG-related applications. These may include optimizing the food supply chain to combat hunger (SDG 2), utilizing quantum machine learning for improved medical imaging (SDG 3), and employing quantum computing simulations to aid in carbon fixation on materials’ surfaces, thus mitigating CO2 levels in the atmosphere (SDG 13).

In addition to its immediate objectives, the OQI aspires to pave the way for future phases and become a reference point for other initiatives seeking to harness quantum technologies for the collective benefit of humanity.


Q: What is the Open Quantum Institute (OQI)?
A: The OQI is a three-year program established at CERN that grants access to quantum computing resources and expertise for projects supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Q: Who is funding the OQI?
A: The OQI is funded by UBS as the lead impact partner.

Q: What is the Quantum Technology Initiative (QTI)?
A: The QTI is a CERN-based initiative established in 2018 that encompasses various areas of quantum technology research.

Q: What are some examples of potential projects in the pilot phase of the OQI?
A: Potential projects may include optimizing the food supply chain, improving medical imaging through quantum machine learning, and exploring quantum computing simulations for carbon fixation.

Q: How does the OQI aim to bridge the digital divide?
A: The OQI aims to make cutting-edge quantum technologies accessible to underserved regions, thereby reducing the digital divide.