Canada’s Ministry of National Defence announced the integration of two Canadian accelerators and 13 test centres into Nato’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) on 15 March. 

DIANA aims to spearhead the development of dual-use technologies to address some of the most pressing challenges in security and defence. With the latest announcement, these successful innovators, along with future participants, will gain access to an expanded network of accelerators and test centres. 

The coordination of the initiative runs between regional offices  in London, UK, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The North American branch, expected to open its doors by Summer 2024, is to initiated with an investment of $26.6m from over six years. 

DIANA saw a significant expansion of its network across the allied nations on 14 March, introducing 11 new acceleratorstwo of which are Canadian — and 92 test sites, with 13 located in Canada.

This expansion brings the total to 23 accelerators and 182 test sites across 28 Allied nations, marking a substantial increase in the program’s capacity to support innovators and entrepreneurs working at the forefront of defence technology.

DIANA operates on a challenge-based model, targeting specific problem areas such as energy resilience, undersea sensing and surveillance, and secure information sharing.

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In its inaugural year, the programme attracted over 1300 applicants, from which 44 companies were selected to join a rigorous six-month ‘bootcamp’. This programme, conducted in partnership with DIANA-affiliated accelerators, is designed to refine and advance these solutions to meet the complex needs of modern defence.

Canadian innovators have shown a keen interest and capacity in contributing to DIANA’s mission, according to the Canadian Ministry of National Defence, demonstrated by the high volume of submissions in the programme’s first competitive challenge.

With 211 submissions, Canada ranked just behind the United States, highlighting the an advanced ecosystem of innovation with the potential to impact global security positively.

Among the selected companies, seven Canadian firms are now tackling challenges directly related to energy resilience, secure information sharing, and sensing and surveillance.