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NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) Becomes Operational

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Written by Jacopo Maria Bosica

Edited by Miguel Andres Reyes Castro

On June 19th, 2023, NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) became operational (NATO, 2023a). DIANA is a platform which brings together representatives from state governments, private industry and academia to help innovators and businesses design start-ups and devise common standards to capitalise on emerging and disruptive technologies in accordance with NATO’s principles of responsible use, ranging from lawfulness and accountability to traceability and governability (DIANA, n.d.). Allied nations, all of which are members of the body, also work to solve security and defence challenges when it comes to other compelling areas like AI, human enhancement, advanced manufacturing and space, most relevantly when it comes to dual-use instances and can be useful to solve defence and security challenges (DIANA, n.d.).

To fulfil its objective to boost NATO’s competitiveness in collective defence and security, DIANA encourages stakeholders to capitalise on opportunities to build capabilities to respond not only to conventional threats but first and foremost to challenges posed by dual-use technologies (NATO, 2023b). To do so, DIANA runs competitive industry challenges based on critical defence and security issues and asks innovators to develop market- and security-oriented technologies (NATO, 2023b). Companies admitted to the accelerator programme will benefit from, inter alia, grants to enhance technology development; access to more than 10 accelerators and 90 test centres across the Alliance’s territory where they can validate their dual-use technological solutions; mentoring from engineers, industry partners and government procurement officials; pathways to market within NATO and national markets (DIANA, n.d.).

On the same day it became operational, DIANA launched its first three pilot programmes in the areas of energy resilience, sensing and surveillance and information-sharing security. In these areas, the platform expects to liaise with around 30 start-ups, which will receive non-dilutive grants worth €100,000. The amount can be increased up to €300,000 if these join the accelerator programme (NATO, 2023a). Once it becomes fully operational in 2025, DIANA will be capable of connecting with a substantial network of innovators and accelerator sites and centres around NATO’s territory (NATO, 2023b).

DIANA came to life at the 2021 NATO Summit in Brussels, where heads of state and government agreed to launch it to promote transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies, military interoperability and civilian innovation through dialogue with the private sector and academia. At the Madrid Summit in June 2022, NATO leaders subscribed to the DIANA charter and, with it, a preliminary geographical distribution of test centres and acceleration sites. To date, DIANA relies on a regional office in London, United Kingdom, with a forthcoming counterpart in Halifax, Canada and a regional hub coming soon in Tallinn, Estonia. DIANA’s reference institution is the Board of Directors, which deals with organisational governance matters and is run by a Board Chair made up of one representative per allied country (NATO, 2023b). Lastly, DIANA financially relies on the NATO Innovation Fund, the world’s first example of multi-sovereign venture capital, which invests €1 billion in start-ups devising technologies in the security and defence domain (NATO, 2023a).


DIANA. (n.d.). About DIANA.

NATO. (2023a, 19 June). NATO’s innovation accelerator becomes operational and launches first challenges.

NATO. (2023b, 22 June). Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA).