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The UK will partner with Estonia on the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) programme to maintain NATO’s technological edge

At the NATO summit last June in Brussels, NATO leaders decided to create an innovation accelerator – the DIANA (Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic) programme will allow Allies to join their strengths in developing and adopting new and breakthrough technologies in the area of security and defence.

In cooperation between the Estonian ministries of defence, foreign affairs, and economic affairs and communication, Estonia and the United Kingdom submitted a bid for the programme, which was approved in full at the proposal of the NATO Secretary General. Together with the UK, Estonia is set to create the DIANA European headquarters, a NATO start-up accelerator will be founded in Estonia, and several existing testing sites for new technologies will be added to the DIANA accelerator network.

“The goal of DIANA is to support deep technologies companies that contribute to defence. It will bring together talented innovators with new technologies end-users in the area of defence. We are very glad to see that the good cooperation we have with the UK will expand even further and also encompass our universities and private sector more,” commented Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet. “Cooperation between the UK and Estonia is working well on every level because we have a common understanding of defence policy. Good relations with Allies is a cornerstone of Estonian defence policy, and a successful start to this programme for us is a sign that this cornerstone is strong.”

“Estonia and the UK are two of the most innovative nations in the Alliance, hosting respectively the most unicorn firms per capita, and the most unicorns in total. With Estonia’s impressive leadership in cyber, autonomy and AI, and the close partnership forged through our enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), they were a natural partner for the UK on this important initiative,” said UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

“Trust in this Estonian initiative is a sign of our good reputation in creating favourable ecosystems for start-up innovation and developing new technologies. The fact that DIANA will be launched both in Estonia and the UK is an example of cooperation at work – both domestically between ministries, universities and the private sector, as well as across borders,” added Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets.

DIANA is a highly ambitious cooperation format that will bring together civil and military experts to develop and implement dual-use technologies in member states as well as across the transatlantic Alliance.

In addition, Estonia will participate at the negotiations for the founding of a NATO innovation fund. The objective of the fund is to support dual-use deep technology start-ups with investments, by offering trusted capital and creating additional opportunities for growth. States that have decided to join the fund will formalise the agreement at the NATO summit set to take place at the end of June.

Going forward, Estonia will continue preparations for the launch of the DIANA programme in 2023.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Defence