Ohio State-Led QuSTEAM Initiative Receives $ 5 Million From NSF

A multidisciplinary, multi-institutional program led by Ohio State University takes another step forward in its goal of developing a diverse, efficient and contemporary workforce ready for the quantum by revolutionizing and creating more equitable pathways to teaching of quantum sciences.

QuSTEAM: Convergence Undergraduate Education in Quantum Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, secured a $ 5 million two-year cooperation agreement from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence accelerator. Following QuSTEAM’s initial evaluation period, Phase I, the award will fund the Phase II goal of creating modular and transformative quantum science certification and degree programs.

“I know from personal experience that collaboration is the key to scientific success. Working across multiple disciplines, especially when it comes to the very complex and multidisciplinary world of quantum science research, will help us harness the enormous power of this emerging field faster and deliver real results faster and better. effectively, ”said Kristina, president of the state of Ohio. Mr. Johnson. “As a bonus, this project allows the State of Ohio to pursue part of its core mission, which is to educate the next generation of researchers through educational opportunities that advance diversity and the development of the workforce. -work. “

The rapidly evolving field of quantum information science will allow technological breakthroughs and have far-reaching economic and societal impacts – what researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are calling the second quantum revolution. Ohio State is emerging as a key leader in moving the field forward, recently joined the Chicago Quantum Exchange, a growing intellectual hub for research and development of quantum technology, as a leading regional partner.

“NSF’s Convergence Accelerator focuses on accelerating solutions towards societal impact. Within three years, funded teams are expected to deliver high impact results, which is fast for product development, ”said Douglas Maughan, NSF Convergence Accelerator Program Manager. “During Phase II, QuSTEAM and nine other teams from the 2020 cohort will participate in a market ideas program to help them further develop their solution and create a sustainability plan to ensure that the effort has a positive impact beyond NSF funding. “

“QuSTEAM is a great example of how universities and industry can work together to build the foundation for a strong and diverse workforce,” said David Awschalom, director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange and professor at the Liew family in molecular and physical engineering at the University of Chicago. “Innovations in this area require us to provide widely accessible quantum education, and QuSTEAM represents an ambitious approach to training in quantum engineering. “

Unlocking this potential, however, also requires a fundamental shift in education and the growth of a quantum literate workforce. QuSTEAM brings together scientists and educators from over 20 universities, national laboratories, community colleges, and historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to develop a research-based quantum education curriculum and prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers in quantum information. The initiative also has more than 14 industry partners, including GE Research, Honda and JPMorgan Chase, and works with leading national research centers to help paint a holistic picture of future workforce needs.

“We have leaders in quantum information and STEM education, and these two groups independently do a good job of developing an undergraduate curriculum, but they actually work surprisingly rarely,” said the QuSTEAM principal investigator, Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin, professor at the Department of Physics in the state of Ohio. “We are discussing with people in industry and academia the most critical aspects of quantum information, the skills needed, the training of today’s workforce and what they are up to. expect in a few years. “

“We believe in the need to rethink quantum science education, which is the goal of QuSTEAM,” said Marco Pistoia, Head of the Future Lab for Applied Research and Engineering (FLARE) at JPMorgan Chase. “The complexity of the quantum computing stack allows for the creation of many new job opportunities. It is crucial that nationwide quantum programs collectively support this multiplicity of needs, but for this to happen quantum scientists and engineers must have the appropriate training. We are very happy to see the impact of QuSTEAM’s work in the short and long term, as finance is expected to be the first industry to begin to derive significant value from quantum computing.

QuSTEAM is led by five universities in the Midwest: Ohio State Headquarters, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, all of whom have partnered with local community colleges and regional partners with transfer pipelines to engage under-represented student populations.

The group is also working with the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center to recruit professors in its network of more than 20 partner colleges and universities, as well as with the Argonne National Laboratory. In total, the QuSTEAM team comprises 66 professors who share their expertise in quantum information science and engineering, creative arts and social sciences, and educational research.

To best develop a quantum-ready workforce, QuSTEAM has identified establishing a common model for undergraduate minor and associate certificate programs as the priority in the short term. The team will develop programs consisting of in-person, online, and hybrid courses for these degree and certification programs, including initial offerings of essential courses and modules at the respective universities, while continuing to assess the evolving needs of Workforce.

QuSTEAM plans to start offering courses in Spring 2022, with a full list of core courses for a minor in the 2022-2023 academic year. The modular QuSTEAM program will provide educational opportunities for two- and four-year institutions, institutions serving minorities, and industry, while confronting and dismantling long-standing prejudices in STEM education.

“If we’re going to increase diversity in quantum science, we really need to engage meaningfully with community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and other small colleges and universities,” said Johnston-Halperin. “The traditional STEM model builds a curriculum at an elite R1 university and then allows content to flow from there. But historically that has meant designing it for a specific subset of students, and everything else will be a makeover. It’s never that effective.

QuSTEAM relies on the integrated academic support of faculty and staff at the Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning, the Institute for Materials Research, the Department of Physics, and the Ohio State Office of Research.

Johnston-Halperin is joined at Ohio State by QuSTEAM co-PI Andrew Heckler, physics professor and physical education researcher. Other Ohio State professors included on QuSTEAM are Daniel Gauthier, professor in the Department of Physics; Christopher Porter, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics; David Penneys, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics; Zahra Atiq, assistant professor of computer science and engineering practice at the College of Engineering; David Delaine and Emily Dingenberg, assistant professors of engineering training at the College of Engineering; and Edward Fletcher, associate professor of educational studies at the College of Education and Human Ecology.

QuSTEAM is one of 10 teams selected for Phase II funding of $ 5 million over two years as part of the 2020 NSF Convergence Accelerator Cohort, which supports efforts to accelerate research transitions fundamental and discovery to practice, and seeks to meet societal needs on a national scale. challenges. With this funding, QuSTEAM will meet the challenge of developing a strong national quantum workforce by instituting engaging, high-quality courses and educational pathways that allow students from all backgrounds and interests to choose multiple study paths.

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