A one-of-a-kind national training program for graduate students pursuing careers in quantum science and engineering has accepted 18 new students from across the US.

This is the second cohort for the Quantum Information Science and Engineering Network (QISE-NET), which is funded by a $2.5 million award from the National Science Foundation. QISE-NET is co-led by the University of Chicago and Harvard University and managed by the Chicago Quantum Exchange, a leading national hub for the science and engineering of quantum information and for training tomorrow’s quantum workforce.

Students taking part in the network receive up to three years of funding. They also benefit from the mentorship of both an academic advisor and one from a leading technology company or national laboratory. These groups, comprised of each student and their two mentors, take on a pressing research question that they pursue over the course of up to three years.

“It is vital to develop a national workforce of quantum scientists and engineers for the US to lead in quantum science and technology,” said David Awschalom, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at UChicago; Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory; Director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange; and the QISE-NET Director. “QISE-NET provides an innovative model for training that workforce by embedding students in companies and national laboratories to drive collaborations that advance the frontiers of quantum science and engineering.”

The first QISE-NET cohort, which includes 20 students, began in 2018. The UChicago-Harvard run network, which was the first of its kind, is now the model for similar programs starting up across the country. It enables students to build connections and develop pathways to careers with industry.

Kanav Setia, a member of the first cohort, is pursuing his PhD at Dartmouth University and working with mentors at Dartmouth and IBM.

“The QISENET funding provided me with a lot of financial freedom and improved collaboration of our group at Dartmouth with industry in general. This has benefited me immensely, as I was able to understand the dynamics of industry very well. The most important thing I have learned out of my collaboration with people from industry is the cycle of bringing research from lab to real-world applications,” said Setia.

“We are delighted by the successful opportunities and experiences that QISE-NET and its students have demonstrated, and very much welcome this new cohort of QISE-NET scholars,” said Evelyn Hu, Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at Harvard University, and QISE-NET Co-Director.

Applications for the network’s third cohort will open in May 2020.