Digital communications have been key players in all connectivity advances society has experienced in these last decades. The increasingly astonishing number of devices and systems connected to the global networks and the information that is being transmitted amongst them is an indication that we are indeed in need to protect the information that can be considered sensitive.

We are aware that most networks are public and may be easy targets to attacks by hackers. Therefore, one of the major concerns for all users nowadays is security. There is an imperative need to secure our information as much as possible so no one can have access to it. But many current existing cryptography techniques that are used to secure our information are in fact based on methods that are becoming vulnerable to the constant increase of computer processing capabilities.

March 1st, 2023, has been the official launch of the Quantum Secure Networks Partnership, or QSNP, a new project in the area of quantum communications of the Quantum Flagship. Coordinated by ICREA Prof. at ICFO, Valerio Pruneri, QSNP brings together more than 40 partners from all over Europe, ranging from academia, foundries and RTOs, SMEs and spin-offs, to network and cryptography integrators and telecom operators. In the time span of 3.5 years and with a budget of 25M€, these experts in the field of quantum technologies will seek to fulfil three main goals.

Firstly, they will develop advanced quantum technology for quantum secure communication networks against the ever-increasing power of computers and the sophistication of algorithms, even for quantum computers. That is, they will work on the development and deployment of next generation protocols based on Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) cryptography techniques, that can help reduce the security assumptions needed for the networks, extend the range of secure communication, and search for new functionalities that could beyond these techniques.

Secondly, they will aim to integrate this innovative quantum cryptography technology not only at the component, system and network levels, but also into existing classical telecommunication systems and post-quantum protocols, assuring an additional layer of ultra-secure communications in this hybrid classical-quantum network.

Finally, they will apply all the know-how and capabilities acquired, as well as the technology developed, into different use cases, mainly into delivering critical European technology for government infrastructures such as the European Quantum Communications Infrastructure (EuroQCI). In doing so, they are interested in identifying the potential users, be it authentication, long-term secure storage, critical infrastructure protection, clock synchronization or primitives beyond QKD, in order to provide robust and solutions to their needs. In addition, the project will be a launchpad for future applications, to exploit new capabilities, evaluate new cost/effective features, measure use/integration easiness levels, and explore new sectors where quantum technologies could take over markets that are not being reached by the current technology.

As Valerio Pruneri mentions, “We are thrilled to commence this innovative program. With QSNP, we are now moving out into the terrain where we will be able to develop further and most of all test the research development carried out in the first phase of the flagship. With the +40 entities within this gran consortium, we expect to achieve unprecedented performances and new designs for application-specific cryptography, covering the full chain from quantum fundamental to product development.

As the official launch of the project has occurred, the first in person meeting with all the consortium partners will be held at ICFO premises in Barcelona, from 24-25 April, 2023.


List of the Consortium Partners

Participant Institution Country
Academic Partners
1 ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences (Coordinator) Spain
2 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique France
3 Institut Polytechnique de Paris France
4 Technical University of Denmark Denmark
5 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Spain
6 Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
7 QuTech, at the Technical University Delft Netherlands
8 Università di Padova Italy
9 AIT Austrian Institute of Technology Austria
10 Palacky University Olomouc Czech Rep.
11 Instituto Superior Técnico Portugal
12 Universidade de Vigo Spain
13 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Belgium
14 Universität Wien Austria
15 Université libre de Bruxelles Belgium
16 University of Warsaw Poland
17 University of Malta Malta
18 Institute of Communications and Computer Systems Greece
19 Universität Paderborn Germany
20 Inria France
21 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) Greece
22 Insitituto De Telecomunicacoes Portugal
23 Politecnico di Bari Italy
Foundries & RTOS
24 Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institut Germany
25 Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives France
26 Technische Universiteit Eindhoven Netherland
27 Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre Belgium
28 University College Cork Ireland
Spin-offs and SMEs
29 QuSide Spain
30 LuxQuanta Spain
31 Micro Photon Devices Italy
32 ThinkQuantum Italy
33 VPIphotonics GmbH Germany
34 Alea Quantum Technologies ApS Denmark
35 Q*Bird Nertherlands
Network & Crypto Integrators
36 Cryptonext Security France
37 Nokia Bell Labs  France
38 Nextworks Italy
Telecom Operators
39 Deutsche Telekom Germany
40 Telefónica Spain
41 TIM S.p.A Italy
42 Orange SA France