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Canadian test centres and accelerators join NATO DIANA network

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence; the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo; Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax; and Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour congratulated two Canadian accelerators and 13 test centres that have joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) network.

As announced in 2022, NATO DIANA is coming to Canada, with its North American Regional Office finding a home in Halifax.

The NATO DIANA Regional Office in Canada is expected to bring tangible benefits to Canadian industry and the defence technology sector. With a thriving innovation ecosystem, sustaining more than 300 entrepreneurial science and technology start-ups, the Halifax Regional Municipality is also home to several major universities and research centres as well as Canada’s Atlantic naval fleet.

NATO DIANA unites the best and brightest innovators from across the Alliance and provides deep tech and dual-use innovators with access to NATO resources.

DIANA focuses on deep tech and dual-use technologies that have both civilian and military uses.  It will help facilitate cooperation between military operators and the Alliance’s start-ups, scientific researchers, and technology companies to help NATO maintain its technological edge over the threats posed by emerging technologies.

DIANA supports companies with training, funding, commercial advice, and access to defence expertise and investors. Through competitive challenges, selected innovators can receive grant funding, acceleration advice, and access to the NATO DIANA network of accelerators and test centres.

The new accelerator sites and test centres will augment DIANA’s capacity to support innovators from across the Alliance as they develop their technologies. DIANA-affiliated accelerators deliver world-class programming to companies in the programme, while the network of test centres provides access to cutting-edge testing facilities. These are available to DIANA’s current cohort of companies, as well as those DIANA will support in future, giving them expert advice and access to test and try their technologies in specialised environments.

The Canadian accelerators and test centres that are now part of the growing DIANA footprint are:

Accelerators:

Test centres:

The Canadian additions to the NATO DIANA network will enable innovators from across the Alliance to access Canada’s cutting-edge facilities and collaborate on emerging technology to jointly help solve NATO’s defence and security challenges.

“Canada is a hub for defence innovation – and Canadian innovators have a great deal to offer our NATO Allies. Today, I congratulate all the Canadian accelerators and test centres for being selected to join NATO’s defence innovation network. The integration of our domestic experts with NATO’s DIANA will strengthen our capacity to develop cutting-edge solutions to the security challenges faced by Canada and our NATO Allies.”

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“For over 25 years, Communitech has been a driver of innovation in Waterloo Region’s tech sector, helping start-ups grow and succeed. I want to congratulate them on their selection as one of Canada’s two NATO DIANA accelerator sites. This decision by NATO is a recognition of Communitech’s success and leadership when it comes to identifying emerging technologies and supporting their development.”

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo

“Today’s announcement once again underscores Halifax’s leading role in the advancement and development of innovative solutions to NATO’s most pressing defence issues. In addition to the selection of Halifax as NATO DIANA’s North American Regional Office, we continue to see how they’re supporting regional economic growth in our city and province.”

Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax

 “I am thrilled to congratulate COVE on their selection as one of Canada’s two NATO DIANA accelerator sites. Atlantic Canada is a culture of innovation and COVE plays a crucial role in that space. Sitting on the shores of one of the most impressive natural harbours in the world, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has long been central to the development of maritime defence technology, and I am so proud to see our community continue to punch above its weight as leader in the defence innovation sector.”

 Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour

 

“Part of DIANA’s strength is our unique transatlantic network of talent centres and innovation leaders working toward a common purpose. The breadth and diversity of partners in DIANA’s network will accelerate the development and deployment of ground-breaking solutions for defence, security and peace.”

Prof. Deeph Chana, Managing Director of DIANA 

ADDITIONAL INFO

  • DIANA is NATO’s innovation accelerator – a shared endeavour bringing together innovators from across the Alliance to help NATO maintain its technological edge, defend its one billion citizens, and preserve peace and security.
  • DIANA was created by NATO to help develop dual-use technologies that address challenges affecting security and defence. DIANA supports companies working on solutions in key sectors identified by the Alliance.
  • NATO DIANA will be coordinated by two regional offices – one in London, UK, and one in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The DIANA North American regional office will open by summer 2024 at the TD Centre at 1791 Barrington Street in Halifax, supported by Canada’s initial investment of $26.6 million over six years.
  • Yesterday, NATO DIANA announced the addition of 11 accelerators, of which two are Canadian, and 92 test sites, of which 13 are Canadian, to its growing network. This brings the NATO DIANA network to 23 accelerators and 182 test sites.
  • The footprint of NATO DIANA’s transatlantic network of accelerator sites and test centres is now comprised of accelerators and test centres in 28 Allied nations.
  • DIANA issues ‘challenges’ in specific problem areas and asks innovators to bring forward solutions; in its pilot year, those challenges were energy resilience, undersea sensing and surveillance, and secure information sharing. 44 companies were selected from more than 1300 applicants to join DIANA’s first accelerator programme in 2023; they are currently participating in a six-month ‘bootcamp’ in partnership with DIANA-affiliated accelerators.
  • Canadian innovators have demonstrated their interest in NATO DIANA with the second highest number of submissions in NATO DIANA’s first-ever competitive challenges launched in June 2023. There were 211 Canadian submissions, just behind the United States’ 215.
  • Seven Canadian companies were among the 44 successful companies announcedin December 2023 by NATO DIANA, taking on challenges related to energy resilience, secure information sharing, and sensing and surveillance.
  • With today’s announcement, successful innovators in NATO DIANA challenges will now have access to Canadian accelerators and test centres, as part of an expanded DIANA network. 

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