The Science and Business Park Tehnopol in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, and the Tartu Science Park will begin work as the operators of the NATO innovation accelerator DIANA; the accelerator will open its doors in 2023.
NATO leaders decided at the alliance’s Brussels 2021 summit to create an innovation accelerator, called DIANA (the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic). The programme will allow NATO allies to join their strengths in developing and adopting new technologies in security and defence.
Estonia and the United Kingdom submitted a joint bid for the programme. The countries will create the DIANA European headquarters – Estonia will host one of the branches of these headquarters and the innovation accelerator.
According to Kadri Tammai, the Tehnopol Startup Incubator Manager, the opening of the NATO Innovation Accelerator is of a “landmark importance” in the development of the local startup ecosystem. “Estonia is internationally known as a rapidly developing digital country, but we increasingly need to contribute to solving global problems in cooperation between science and business. The accelerator aims to provide support to early-stage high-tech startups across the region, to help them reach the world’s largest customers and investors through a broad international network,” she said in a statement.
The DIANA accelerator combines several testing centres for new technologies in Estonia: the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, the cyber range CR14 – a government owned and operated entity that offers cybersecurity related research and development for domestic and international partners – and the Estonian Military Academy. All companies participating in the accelerator will also be able to use approximately 70 NATO test centres.