YOUNG TALENTS 2023 – Call for applications – Quantum Technology

Are you a Master or a PhD student from France or the Netherlands, with innovative ideas about quantum technology and its applications ? Would you like to present your ideas to top officials and renowned scientists in the field of quantum physics ?

If the answer to the above is yes, then apply for our Young Talents event “Quantum Technology”! The deadline for submitting your application is the 17th of September 2023 at 23:59 CET.

What is the Erasmus Descartes Conference?

The Erasme-Descartes Conference (EDC) was initiated in 2002 by the French Embassy in the Netherlands and the Dutch Embassy in France. The conference gathers over a hundred  French and Dutch renowned experts from universities, research centers, ministries and companies. They exchange knowledge and expertise to strengthen cooperation on key societal issues. The central theme of each edition differs according to the European agenda and following current developments in both countries. Quantum engineering will be the central theme for the 2023 edition. The conference will take place on 16 November in the Netherlands from 3pm to 8.30pm.

What is the Young Talents event?

The Young Talents event, part of the Erasmus-Descartes Conference, gathers talented young people from France and the Netherlands to debate and work together to find solutions for the future. The debates, ideas and questions raised by the Young Talents are intended to enrich the conference. This event offers ample networking opportunities. Click here FR / NL for an overview of the previous editions.

Whereas the Erasmus-Descartes Conference is a one day event, the Young Talents work in two teams on challenges related to the topic in one month (online – own/team preparation time) and  approximately three days (in and around Rotterdam – full working days) prior to the conference. During the conference, they will get to pitch with their team the results of their work to the participants of the conference, and have an unique opportunity to enter into discussion with them on stage. After the formal programme of the conference, there is time for networking and they may just find connections for their future work field.


Quantum technology and innovation have emerged as a groundbreaking field at the forefront of scientific exploration. Harnessing the principles of quantum mechanics, this rapidly evolving discipline promises to revolutionize various sectors and reshape our understanding of the physical world. From computing and communication to sensing and cryptography, quantum technology holds immense potential to overcome existing limitations and unlock new possibilities.

In this era of quantum technology and innovation, the convergence of scientific discovery, technological advancements, and collaborative efforts holds the key to unlocking a future where quantum systems power our most profound breakthroughs.

The long-lasting cooperation between France and the Netherlands in the field of quantum technology is a concrete example of collaborative efforts and fruitful collaboration. Both countries recognise the strategic importance of quantum technology and have set up joint initiatives to promote research, development and innovation in this field.

Both countries have once again formalized their desire and ambitions to innovate and evolve together in a number of key areas, including quantum physics. Following the State visit of President Emmanuel Macron to the Netherlands last April, France and the Netherlands issued a joint declaration on April 12th 2023 with the aim of strengthening public-private cooperation around concrete projects. To this end, the two countries signed a pact for innovation and sustainable growth, and a few more scientific agreements between universities and research centers with a specific focus on  quantum technology. Furthermore, president Macron visited a quantum lab at the University of Amsterdam, one of the 5 quantum hubs of the Netherlands.

Both countries foster the development of knowledge and new talent thanks to the creation of new scientific partnerships and the consolidation of existing ones. The existing cooperation between the French and Dutch frameworks, the TU Delft-France initiative, and the MOU (memorandum of understanding) on quantum technologies of both governments are concrete examples of this.

The challenges for the Young Talents

As quantum technology continues to evolve, innovators are pushing boundaries to create novel devices and systems that leverage quantum effects. From quantum sensors capable of detecting minute changes in the environment to quantum algorithms that revolutionize data analysis, the possibilities seem limitless.

However, challenges lie ahead. Harnessing the full potential of quantum technology requires addressing technical hurdles, developing scalable and fault-tolerant systems, and ensuring accessibility to a wider community of researchers and developers.

The challenges that the participants will have to address will be based on quantum applications and especially on : 

  • Challenge 1 – Environment and climate change
  • Challenge 2 – Cryptography 

Both of these applications have their own advantages and opportunities, but also their own problems and difficulties. That’s why the organisers have proposed that one team will be working on a challenge related to “Green Quantum : how quantum technologies can help deal with climate change?” and the other team on “Secure quantum future”. The exact challenges related to each of these topics will be formulated at a later stage together with the team members.

Participation in the Conference

The Conference 

The conference will be based on discussions between experts, scientists, stakeholders, and high-level decision makers. 

Central to this conference are exchanges on developments in research and innovation at the national, European, and international levels. This conference will comprehend four roundtables and input from several speakers. 

Alongside the various experts, the Erasmus-Descartes Conference gives the floor to the Young Talents to pitch their findings, recommendations and solutions, and discuss them with the participants. They will prepare their pitches in advance with two devoted coaches during the month prior to the conference, including the 3 days where they will meet and work in person. 

You as a Young Talent 

In order to be able to pitch during the Conference, you will have several working moments. During the kick-off meeting on the 18th of October 2023, you and the other participants (6 from France, 6 from the Netherlands) will meet online for an hour and a half where you will receive further information, a more detailed programme, and will be able to form two teams of six, according to the challenges that will be presented to you. Two experts (names to be confirmed), will coach you during the working sessions to help you get inspired, acquire indispensable knowledge, and get ready to participate during the conference.

In between both gatherings, you will prepare for the next step together with the rest of your team and always with the support of the coaches. No official meeting will be organized, it is then up to you and your teammates to organize your time and find one or multiple collective moments in order to work together.

In the run-up to the conference, you will all meet in person in the Netherlands at multiple unique locations. There will be plenty of time to work and do pitch training. During the conference, each team will have approximately 5 minutes to pitch in front of the panelists and wide audience followed by a discussion moment of 15 minutes. Later in the evening, a networking moment will be organized giving you the opportunity to further discuss your ideas and thoughts with the high-level participants of the conference.

Be aware that it is possible to receive a certificate of attendance. PhD Students from the Netherlands may therefore be able to claim some credits. 

Preliminary programme

18 October Preparation meeting (online): 
– Kick-off & introduction
– Setting up teams and challenges
18 October – 13 NovemberContact with team members and coaches, preparing the challenge per team – each team decides how they want to manage their time
13 NovemberMorning: Travel to Rotterdam
Afternoon: Start & catch-up
13 – 16 NovemberWorking sessions: work on the challenges, group preparation, coaching, feedback sessions and pitch training
Afternoon of the 15th : Fine tune pitches – last mile
16 NovemberMorning:  Visit of the French tech village – meet with start-ups
Afternoon & evening: Erasmus Descartes Conference 
17 NovemberTravel back home

Practical information


The Young Talents event is organised by the Embassy of France in the Netherlands, the Institut français NL, the Embassy of the Netherlands in France, the French-Dutch Network for research and higher education, and Nuffic, which is the Dutch organisation for internationalisation of education.


Quantum Delta NL, Alliance Française Rotterdam, Paris Saclay, …


October 18th online and November 13th, 14th, and 15th in the Netherlands consecutively participating in the Erasmus Descartes Conference on November 16th..

For whom: 

MA, PDEng and PhD students in the field of quantum engineering, aged between 20 and 35 years old with good conversational understanding of English are eligible to apply for this event. International students are also invited to apply.

We are looking for student from scientific domains such as, but not exclusively:

  • Mathematics / Computer science 
  • Data analysis and artificial intelligence
  • Implementation and development
  • Business / business intelligence

Students from other academic disciplines who feel they could contribute to this challenge are also welcome to apply.


The working sessions between Young Talents and the Erasmus Descartes Conference will be entirely in English.


The organisers will cover the costs of transportation (travel between France and the Netherlands + public transport on-site) and meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). They will also arrange accommodation (four nights). You are responsible for the costs of any other expenses yourselves. The participation in the Young Talents event does not involve any initial expenses for the participants.


All 12 selected participants will attend both the online meeting and the physical 4-day session in Rotterdam and Delft. Participation in the full programme is mandatory. Any unjustified failure (absenteeism, inappropriate behaviour) will lead to exclusion from further participation in the Young Talents event.

How to apply

  • Step 1

    Fill in the application form. You will be asked to submit your CV (Pdf / jpeg / png) and 2 short texts answering the following questions :

  • In about 200 words, briefly describe your relationship to the main theme of the event: “Quantum Technology”: What projects regarding this topic have you been or are you currently working on? Why do you want to be part of Young Talents? What are your motivations regarding Quantum technology?

  • In about 200 words, tell us what are your preliminary ideas when it comes to innovating in quantum technology, especially when it comes to quantum applications ?

  • Step 2

    Preselection – As soon as the deadline has passed, a first selection process will be made. You will receive an email with the decision.

  • Step 3

    If you are preselected we will ask you to participate in a short online meeting on Monday 25th between 13h30 and 15h30. You will have the possibility to choose a timeslot of 5min out of a list. You will be asked to pitch in 3 minutes your motivation and interest in why you should participate in the Young Talents event on Quantum Technology.

  • Step 4

    Final selection. You will receive via mail the final decision. If you are selected, you will receive more information about the next steps in order to prepare your participation. 

Application form


Contacts: Coralie Ostertag and Joost Overwater