Nation’s first quantum startup accelerator, Duality, launches at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center and the Chicago Quantum Exchange
CHICAGO, April 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Chicago Quantum Exchange today announced the launch of Duality, the first accelerator program in the nation that is exclusively dedicated to startup companies focused on quantum science and technology—a rapidly emerging area that is poised to drive transformative advances across multiple industries.
Duality’s purpose is to help quantum startups bridge the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace that is a critical barrier to success for emerging technologies. Led by the Polsky Center and the Chicago Quantum Exchange, Duality is also reinforced by founding partners, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Argonne National Laboratory and P33.
The launch of the quantum accelerator comes at a time when countries around the world are racing to unlock the potential of quantum technology. The Chicago area has emerged as a leading global quantum center, notably last year when the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation announced that three of the eight federally funded quantum information science research centers and institutes would be based in the region. Quantum science and technology has the potential to transform industries in the same way that the internet has reshaped the world in recent decades, and leaders hope that the Chicago area is positioned to benefit as the center of the quantum world in the same way that Silicon Valley transformed as it became the center of the tech revolution.
With a minimum $20 million investment over the next 10 years from a broad ecosystem of corporate and academic partners, Duality will help up to 10 quantum startups per year grow their businesses in the Chicago area. The program will be based within the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a global leader in management education. Chicago Booth is widely known for its thought leadership – with nine Nobel laureates – and its impact on the global business community.
The name Duality refers to a core principle of quantum mechanics, in which a single entity may act as both a particle and a wave. The name also evokes the accelerator’s unique role of bringing together the dual expertise from both leading quantum scientists and business partners to grow and scale quantum startups. Duality will provide entrepreneurs with support from leading quantum researchers, as well as business and entrepreneurial expertise from Chicago Booth, Chicago Quantum Exchange’s corporate partners, the Polsky Center’s broad network, and the networks, facilities, and programming from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Argonne National Laboratory, and P33. Students and researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will have the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from experts in this expanding quantum technology development ecosystem.
Duality is taking applications through its website for the first cohort. Companies are invited to apply and will be considered on a rolling basis until May 14, 2021. Actively promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, the program is seeking a range of diverse applicants, in terms of race, gender and ethnicity.
“The Chicago area has a vital role in generating new science and technology, and Duality will provide critical support to bring quantum science from breakthroughs in the laboratory to practical applications that can foster new businesses, create jobs and improve aspects of the quality of life,” said Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago. “This program leverages the unique strengths of the University of Chicago and our partners to convene industry, researchers and venture capitalists to realize the potential of quantum science while simultaneously providing mutual benefit to the research and academic mission of the University of Chicago.”
The state of Illinois has made a strong commitment to support quantum research overall, and Duality will further enhance the region’s ecosystem for technology development and commercialization.
“We are building the future of technology right here in Chicago,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This program taps the extraordinary talent in the city across fields from science and innovation to entrepreneurship, manufacturing and development, and is a testament to the strengths of this incredible city and its residents.”
The 12-month accelerator program will focus on supporting and advancing companies that are building quantum technologies, products and applications, and related enabling technologies. Starting virtually in July and continuing in person when COVID-19 restrictions lift, each cohort of companies will have the opportunity to access state-of-the-art facilities, office and lab space, and each startup will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funds.
“The region is uniquely positioned to lead in quantum engineering and other areas of deep tech, meaning the types of early-stage technologies that rely on fundamental scientific breakthroughs to move innovations into use in the world,” said Juan de Pablo, vice president for national laboratories, science strategy, innovation and global initiatives at the University of Chicago. “The combined efforts of the partners in the Duality accelerator, along with our expanding global reach, will further elevate the scientific footprint of Illinois and the larger region.”
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SOURCE University of Chicago