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NATO countries to finance disruptive technologies with EUR70 million-a-year fund

NATO's recent plans to foster the disruptive technologies its militaries need will see the creation of a new network and offices on both sides of the Atlantic to liaise with the private sector, plus an expected long-term innovation fund of EUR70 million (USD83.6 million) per year, according to officials. The two-pronged approach was approved by allied leaders at their 14 June summit in Brussels.

NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, David van Weel, detailed the forthcoming NATO Innovation Fund and its separate Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) during a 22 June tele-briefing of reporters.

“We need to connect to the places where [disruptive] innovation happens – and not just big defence companies and the defence sector,” he said. “This means coming closer to academia and the startups that come out of them. DIANA will not only support early adopters of technologies [that the allies need] but also standards: we want the 30 allies to co-operate seamlessly in that regard, and NATO is fit for purpose to create this platform.”

NATO seeks emerging disruptive technologies in seven broad areas: artificial intelligence, big data, quantum-enabled innovations, platform autonomy, biotechnology, hypersonics, and space.

Van Weel said DIANA will connect to the allies' various “eco-systems” that steer public money and private venture capital (VC) into innovation and startups, thus forming a NATO-wide network for – and funded by – the 30 allies. Two DIANA liaison offices will be set up, one in Europe and the other in North America, with the locations still to be announced.

As for the NATO Innovation Fund, its financing will be voluntary, leaving it to each ally to decide whether to participate. Asked by Janes

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