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UK to host NATO Global Defense Innovation Headquarters

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The UK, in partnership with Estonia, will host the European HQ of a program for NATO allies to accelerate, test, evaluate and validate new technologies that address critical defense challenges and contribute to the Alliance deterrence.

Announced today by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) will see transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies and help NATO work more closely with industry and academia.

The UK accelerator will be twinned with a new accelerator in Talinn, Estonia, to encourage the sharing of expertise, explore the use of virtual sites to test vehicles, including autonomous vehicles, and test cyber- innovations.

As hosts, the United Kingdom and Estonia:

  • Support start-ups with funding, support and business expertise through networks of twinned accelerators.

  • Offer the use of “deep tech” test centers to evaluate technological solutions to military problems, using the Defense BattleLab.

  • Work with NATO to develop a virtual marketplace to connect start-ups to trusted investors, as well as a rapid acquisition service to quickly connect products to buyers.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said:

The UK and Estonia are two of NATO’s most innovative nations and our DIANA host will harness this innovation for the benefit of all Allies tackling future military threats.

The UK has a vibrant tech community, combining academics, financiers and tech start-ups that make it an ideal place to develop the next generation of military technology.

Estonia was the natural partner for the UK given its international leadership in cyber, autonomy and artificial intelligence, and our close partnership forged through the Enhanced Forward Presence.

Ranked among the top ten innovative universities in the world, Imperial College London will bring together academia, industry and government by hosting the DIANA headquarters and a DIANA accelerator within the Innovation Hub (IHUB) in the White City Innovation District, in a shared space with the UK Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA), Prime Defense Contractors and the US Directors of Defense tri-service office.

Supported by DASA, the British and Estonian DIANA HQ is expected to be operational from July 2022. DIANA is essential to delivering NATO’s Vision 2030 and ensuring that the Alliance develops the military capabilities needed to deter and defend against existing threats and future.

Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet.

DIANA’s objective is to support deep technology companies that contribute to defense. It will bring together talented innovators with end users of new defense technologies. We are very happy to see that the good cooperation we have with the UK will extend even further and encompass more of our universities and our private sector,

Cooperation between the UK and Estonia works well at all levels because we have a common understanding of defense policy. Good relations with the Allies are a cornerstone of Estonian defense policy, and a successful start of this program is a sign for us that this cornerstone is solid.

Co-Director of the Institute for Security Science and Technology, Imperial College London, Professor Deeph Chana said:

As one of the top STEM-B universities in the world, in one of the most diverse cities, Imperial College London is uniquely placed to fuel a progressive, responsible and holistic innovation agenda in technology dual-use security and defense by hosting DIANA. Coordinated by our Institute of Security Science and Technology and our School of Business, we are committed to working on disruptive research and innovation to reduce insecurity and address global threats and challenges.

DIANA will support the seven key emerging and disruptive technologies that NATO has identified as priorities: artificial intelligence, big data processing, quantum technologies, autonomy, biotechnology, hypersonics and space.