Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : NATO welcomes innovators to help tackle security challenges [June 2023]

The press release issued by the Ministry of Defence on 19 June 2023.

Applications have today opened for world-class innovators from the UK and across NATO with novel ideas to help solve critical defence and security problems.

  • Applications open for world-class innovators to help solve security challenges
  • Work to take place with leading innovators and entrepreneurs – from early-stage start-ups to more mature companies.
  • NATO has selected accelerators for the 2023 pilot challenge programme.

NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) aims to support the best and brightest innovators to develop innovative technologies which could have defence and security benefits.

Staffed by experts in innovation, working with universities, industry and governments across NATO’s 31 member countries, DIANA will work to deter and defend against future threats.

The first pilot challenge call, which will run until late August, focuses on three areas:

  • Energy resilience – providing resilient power in disaster or conflict
  • Sensing and surveillance – gathering information from underwater
  • Secure information sharing – providing trusted data anywhere

In the face of continually evolving threats across the globe and rapid technological development, NATO has recognised that the Alliance must work hard to understand and keep pace with this changing environment. DIANA will identify, develop and support the adoption of the dual-use emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs), such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

In line with the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, the DIANA programme aims to support the foundation, growth and success of start-ups working to drive innovation and forward-thinking in Defence.

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, said:

We cannot underestimate the importance of prioritising technological innovation to tackle global security challenges.

The launch of the DIANA work is a key step for NATO and will help harness the expertise that can be found across the Alliance. The UK is proud to be working closely with our Estonian counterparts and other NATO Allies.

The European Regional Office is based at Imperial College London and will work in lock-step with our Estonian partners, based in Tallinn, who will soon open a regional hub. In May, President of Estonia, Alar Karis, joined Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, on a visit to the White City site to see how it had become home to some of the world’s most innovative organisations. A regional office for North America will open in Halifax, Canada.

Having achieved initial operating capability today, and expected to be fully operational by 2025, DIANA has access to NATO resources including grant funding, accelerator programming, and pathways for innovators to adapt their solutions for defence and security needs. DIANA will work very closely with the NATO Innovation Fund, a separate body, which will invest in start-ups developing dual-use technologies. The NATO Innovation Fund is the world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund, backed by 23 NATO Allies and €1 billion.

NATO has selected five accelerators, in the US, Estonia, Italy, and Denmark, to take part in the pilot challenge, with the UK supporting our partners in Estonia. These accelerators will help equip businesses with the skills and knowledge to navigate the world of deep tech and dual-use innovation.