First NATO defence innovation HQ opens in London

  • London hosts NATO Defence Innovation HQ in partnership with Estonia.
  • Opened by UK Defence Minister and NATO Deputy Secretary General.
  • Leading innovation across the NATO Alliance to deter and defend against future threats.

The first Regional Office of NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) was opened in London today, with a further hub in Tallinn due to open later this year.

Located at the Imperial College London Innovation Hub (I-HUB) in the White City Innovation District, the regional office was opened by the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Alex Chalk KC and the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Mircea Geoană on a visit to the site.

Delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, the DIANA programme aims to support the foundation, growth and success of start-ups working to drive innovation and forward-thinking in Defence. Bringing together industry, government and academia from across the Alliance, DIANA will help enable NATO Allies to develop and integrate advanced dual-use technologies to address critical defence and security challenges, at pace.

Essential to delivering the NATO 2030 vision, the programme will ensure the Alliance develops the defence capabilities needed to deter and defend against existing and future threats, enhancing security within the Alliance and beyond.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Alex Chalk KC, said:

Combining the brightest and best from our thriving tech industries, government and academia, the UK’s first DIANA office will be a world-leading innovation hub to support future military technologies.

DIANA will operate to unite the best and brightest innovators across the Alliance to ensure that we are well-prepared to protect all Allied nations and nearly one billion citizens.

Mircea Geoană, NATO Deputy Secretary General, said:

DIANA is a game-changer for driving NATO’s innovation agenda forward. I am delighted that Imperial College’s White City Campus will host the first of DIANA’s regional offices. Imperial’s Innovation Hub already co-locates major defence contractors, innovators and researchers alongside UK and US government defence innovation accelerators, making it the ideal place to start this exciting new initiative.

The programme will support all nine of the key emerging and disruptive technologies that NATO has identified as priorities: artificial intelligence, data, autonomy, quantum-enabled technologies, biotechnology, hypersonics, space, novel materials and manufacturing, and energy and propulsion.

David van Weel, Interim DIANA Managing Director said:

Technology has never been as prominent on the NATO agenda as it is today. This location here in London on the Imperial College campus is a fantastic marker of our ambition. We want to bring NATO closer to the best and brightest of our innovators. Leading the establishment of DIANA has been a great pleasure over the past months. Now it is an honour to hand over to Professor Chana, who will be taking DIANA to new heights and launch DIANA’s first pilot activities in June.

Ranked in the world’s top ten innovative universities, Imperial College London will bring together academia, industry and government to host the HQ in a space shared with the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), Major Defence Contractors and the US Department of Defense’s Tri-Service Office.


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