Enabling Quantum Leap: Quantum Interconnect Challenges for Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (QuIC-TAQS)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a set of "Big Ideas," 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering (see https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/index.jsp). The Big Ideas represent unique opportunities to position our Nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering leadership by bringing together diverse disciplinary perspectives to support convergence research. As such, when responding to this solicitation, even though proposals must be submitted to the Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences/Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (MPS/OMA), once received, the proposals will be managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF Program Directors.

One of these ideas was ‘Quantum Leap’ – exploiting the quantum properties to produce the next-generation quantum-enabled science and technology for sensing, information processing, communicating and computing. NSF has funded a range of programs in this area. The importance of this area  has been recognized more broadly. On December 21, 2018 the National Quantum Initiative Act (https://www.congress.gov/115/plaws/publ368/PLAW-115publ368.pdf) was signed into law. The purpose of this act was in ensure the continued leadership of the United States in quantum information science and its technology applications. This provided a coordinated Federal program to accelerate research in this area. A framework for this can in found in the Quantum Frontiers report: https://www.quantum.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/QuantumFrontiers.pdf

The Quantum Interconnect Challenges for Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (QuIC - TAQS) program is designed to support interdisciplinary teams that will explore highly innovative, original, and potentially transformative ideas for developing and applying quantum science, quantum computing, and quantum engineering in the specific area of quantum interconnects. Quantum interconnects are an integral part of all aspects of quantum information science.  Proposals should have the potential to deliver new concepts, new platforms, and/or new approaches that will implement the transfer of quantum states efficiently across platforms and over large length scales. Progress in the area of quantum interconnects will enable breakthroughs in quantum sensing, quantum communications, quantum simulations, and quantum computing systems. This Quantum Interconnect Challenges solicitation will support the process of translating such ideas into reality.

This solicitation calls for proposals focused on interdisciplinary research that enhances the development of quantum interconnects (QuIC) that would allow the transfer of quantum states between different physical states and/or different physical systems. Proposals must articulate how the project leverages and/or promotes advances in quantum interconnects. Proposals should be innovative and must focus on quantum functionality and must result in experimental demonstrations and/or transformative advances towards quantum systems and/or proof-of-concept validations. Competitive proposals will come from an interdisciplinary research team led by at least three investigators who collectively contribute synergistic expertise from expertise from a subset of the following domains: engineering, mathematics, computational science, computer/information science, physical, chemical, biological, material science. Proposals will be judged on how likely the integrated effort is to lead to transformative advances in quantum interconnection.

Only one preliminary proposal may be submitted per lead institution.


  • Duke Internal: Feb. 5, 2021

  • Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time): April 12, 2021

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time): June 14, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.

The Principal Investigator (PI) must be a faculty member employed by the submitting organization. A minimum of one PI and two co-PIs must participate.

No individual may appear as Senior Personnel (Principal Investigator, Co-PI, and Faculty Associate or equivalent) on more than two QuIC - TAQS preliminary proposals. In the event that any individual exceeds this limit, any preliminary proposal submitted to this solicitation with this individual listed as PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel after the first two preliminary proposals are received at NSF will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made.



Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 10 to 12

The final number of awards will depend on the availability of funds and the quality of the proposals.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $25,000,000

Anticipated funding amount is pending availability of funds. Each project team may receive support of up to a total of $2,500,000 over the project duration of 4 years. It is not expected that all awards will receive the maximum amount; the size of awards will depend upon the type of research program proposed. The budget must be commensurate with the scope of the project and thoroughly justified in the proposal.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

  • Project Summary: The project summary may not be more than one page in length and must consist of three parts:

    • In the Overview section, include the title of the project, the name of the PI and the lead institution, and a list of co-PIs and senior personnel along with their institutions;
    • Provide a succinct summary of the intellectual merit of the proposed project. This should also articulate how the project leverages and/or promotes advances in quantum interconnects; and
    • Describe the broader impacts of the proposed work, including the potential long-term impact on national needs.

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)  https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/2G8Paf

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials: https://www.ctsi.duke.edu/myresearchproposal

Internal Deadline

February 5, 2021

External Deadline

April 12, 2021