Innovation, DND News

Halifax proposed to host NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator

Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, announced today that Canada is proposing the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, to host the North American Regional Office of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA). DIANA is a new NATO body that will create a network of innovation sites in North America and Europe, coordinated through one regional office in North America (Canada) and one in Europe, which is co-hosted in London, U.K., by the United Kingdom and Estonia. The objective of NATO DIANA is to facilitate cooperation between military operators and the Alliance’s best and brightest start-ups, scientific researchers and technology companies to solve critical Allied defence and security problems. With a thriving innovation ecosystem that sustains more than 300 entrepreneurial science and technology start-ups, and as home to several major universities and research centres, as well as Canada’s Atlantic naval fleet, Halifax would serve as an excellent backdrop to support DIANA moving forward.

“NATO DIANA is a crucial initiative that will solve critical defence and security problems facing the NATO Alliance," said The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence. "As home to several major universities and research centres, hundreds of science and technology start-ups and Canada’s Atlantic naval fleet, Halifax is well-positioned to support DIANA, as well as innovators and industry across North America. Canada embraces our important role as a NATO Ally, and will continue to take a leadership role within the Alliance to strengthen our collective security. ”

The establishment of DIANA was agreed by NATO Leaders in 2021, and was formally announced by NATO in April 2022. The network of accelerators and test centres across Allied nations in North America and Europe that will be created under DIANA will concentrate on emerging and disruptive technologies that NATO has identified as priorities, including artificial intelligence, big-data processing, quantum-enabled technologies, autonomy, biotechnology, novel materials, and space. As NATO DIANA advances, these networks and test centres will sharpen the Alliance’s technological edge, and benefit innovators and industry across Canada and the United States.

At the NATO Summit in June 2022, the Prime Minister announced Canada’s intent to host the DIANA North American Regional Office in Canada, and NATO welcomed Canada’s offer. With today’s announcement, Canada is one step closer to delivering. 

“The offer of the Regional Municipality of Halifax as the host for NATO's Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic is a testament to our region's extraordinary growth trajectory and capacity to support institutions of global impact," said Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration and Member of Parliament for Central Nova. "Halifax has a long and storied military tradition that has achieved rapid growth in innovation that positions it well to host NATO's new North American Regional Office.”

In June 2022, all Allied Leaders approved the Charter of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic. Per the Charter, the Government of Canada’s offer of the Halifax Regional Municipality as the host for the NATO DIANA North American Regional Office will be considered by the NATO DIANA Board.

If accepted by NATO, the Halifax-based Regional Office for North America would work collaboratively with the European Regional Office in London, United Kingdom (co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Estonia), and it would coordinate the work of accelerators and test centres throughout North America to strengthen transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies, and deepen collaboration between NATO, regional industry and academia.

While the Government of Canada intends to anchor the North American Regional Office in Halifax, NATO DIANA will benefit from the broadest array of innovative and creative thinking across the country and throughout North America.

Hosting one of the NATO DIANA Regional Offices in Canada is expected to bring tangible benefits to Canadian industry and the defence technology sector by encouraging participation from Canadian companies, existing accelerators, and academic and research institutions. It would also provide Canadian industry with a direct link to research and funding collaboration, as well as technological exchange with commercial partners and governments across 30 Euro-Atlantic Allies.