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NATO's innovation generator to launch at June summit, but details unclear

It is yet unclear how NATO's forthcoming plan for a so-called innovation generator will spur military absorption of emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs) across the 30 allies, but several guiding principles will frame the effort, NATO sources told Janes .

A proposal to create the generator is scheduled to be politically approved by allied leaders during their 14 June summit in Brussels. NATO experts have spent the past 18 months conferring with allies and researching the best innovation models to prepare for the launch.

“It has been a heavy lift getting to this point, but everyone wants to see a positive outcome,” a NATO official told Janes on 7 June. “If we can get a strong political mandate for this, then it will go a long way to providing the direction of travel we need.”

The idea behind the accelerator is to draw together public-funded innovation platforms, such as the UK's National Security Strategic Investment Fund, with EDT actors across NATO into a network where allied governments would optionally provide extra EDT funding to their preferred categories. The multination fund “would not be about governments trying to pick winners, but more to engage with the community to shine a light on entrepreneurs and start-ups that more traditional venture capital funds might not find”, said the official.

Even with the right top-down political direction, however, there will be significant details to work out. Collectively, NATO's armed forces have a poor record of reaching out to innovative civil sector enterprises where most EDTs are developed, and have been slow to adopt EDTs.

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