Market Intelligence
Healthcare Denmark

Denmark Information Technology First Quantum Computer Project

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Invests Nearly USD 200 Million in Denmark’s First Quantum Computer Project, . The quantum computer is expected to be fully functional in 2034, presenting a huge opportunity for businesses within the life science sectors. 

The Niels Bohr Institute of Copenhagen University is setting out to do what technology giants and major powers around the world have not yet succeeded in doing: Backed by a DKK 1.5 billion — or about USD 200 million grant from Novo Nordisk Foundation, researchers want to develop the world’s first full-scale generally applicable quantum computer. 

The project will be completed in close collaboration with research groups from leading universities and industries, including from the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, and Denmark. “With this long-term grant, we want to make Denmark a world leader in quantum research, a field with tremendous potential which can revolutionize the computing world. We want to create, mature, and develop technology that can solve major and current challenges within health, sustainability, and other areas,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation. 

Huge potential in the life sciences
A fully functional quantum computer can very rapidly perform complicated calculations that classical computers either cannot or would optimally require several years to perform. This boasts potential for several sectors, including sustainable development, cybersecurity, and medicine development. Particularly in the life sciences, the quantum computer could have a revolutionary impact because nature has many quantum mechanical systems that cannot currently be classified and properly understood. A quantum computer has an inherent capability to solve such tasks.

“Within the life sciences, we can accelerate development in personalized medicine by letting quantum computers process the enormous quantity of data available about the human genome and diseases. This will make it easier to tailor optimal treatment,” says Lene Oddershede, Senior Vice President, Natural & Technical Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation. In the Quantum Computing Programme, physicists and engineers will work closely with researchers from the life sciences on a daily basis. The development of the technology will be guided by concrete biological experiments and problems.

The key to success
The initiators behind the Danish Quantum Computing Programme believe that the project’s ambitious yearlong strategy will set it apart from other major - but so far unsuccessful - quantum computing programs: “The other global initiatives have already chosen their platforms and are trying to optimize them, but we predict that many will run into a dead end at a time when there will be fundamental limitations either in the quality of qubits or in terms of scaling up. We will spend the coming years identifying the platform that offers the greatest opportunity to build a usable quantum computer”, explains Peter Krogstrup Jeppesen, Professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, who is leading the Quantum Computing Programme.

During the first years, the Quantum Computing Programme will focus on developing materials and hardware to build qubits. In parallel, various quantum platforms will be explored, and the most suitable quantum platform will be determined. In the last five years, the technology will be scaled up so that ultimately a quantum computer is developed that can solve relevant problems within the life sciences that current computers cannot. “We need to be patient and have nerves of steel to succeed with the program,” says Peter Krogstrup Jeppesen. 

Read more: Novo Nordisk Foundation Invests Nearly $200 Million (US) in Denmark’s Quantum Computer Project (