By: Meghan O’Connell

A leading nationwide training program for quantum science and engineering has accepted 25 graduate students from across the country.

The Quantum Information Science and Engineering Network (QISE-NET), an initiative funded by a $2.5M award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), welcomes its third cohort this fall. As the new cohort of QISE-NET scholars begins their work, applications for QISE-NET’s fourth cohort are now open.

The program 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 scientists and engineers.

QISE-NET helps to address the critical need for a quantum workforce by creating a collaborative training program linking academia and industry, allowing students to pursue research in quantum science and develop pathways to careers in industry. The one-of-a-kind program, which was founded in 2018, has become a model for similar programs across the country.

“The QISE-NET program provides a unique framework – bringing together academia, industry and national laboratories – to give participating students a diversity of experiences, exposure to opportunities, and professional guidance as they work to launch their careers in quantum science and engineering,” said David Awschalom, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at UChicago; director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange and of QISE-NET. “We are thrilled by the success of the program and welcome this new cohort of QISE-NET scholars into our growing network.”

Students in the network are co-mentored by a university PI and a mentor from a national laboratory or industry. QISE-NET enables students to build partnerships and collaborations with industry by embedding the students into companies and national laboratories, laying a path for future career possibilities. Participating students also receive up to three years of funding.

“Without QISE-NET, my PI and I would not have reached out to either of our newfound national lab collaborators, and the research I’m a part of might not have gotten off the ground, said Kai Shinbrough, a QISE-NET alumnus from the first cohort who has been selected again for the third cohort. Shinbrough’s research focuses broadly on how to engineer quantum states of light through an all-optical, room-temperature mechanism. He is co-mentored by Brenda VanMil, PhD at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and by Virginia Lorenz, PhD, at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Shinbrough is also pursuing his PhD.


Photo caption: QISE-NET students and industry panelists during the annual QISE-NET meeting in June 2020. The workshop included student presentations, a keynote, and panel discussions, such as the one represented here on transitioning to industry. Credit: Chicago Quantum Exchange