Budapest, Hungary is hosting the meetings of two major NATO innovative bodies this week, between 18–22 September. To mark the occasion, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence declared this week ‘NATO Innovation Week’ in an official statement released on Monday, 18 September, with many supplementary events also taking place.
The two NATO entities holding their respective conferences here are the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) and the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA)
—Hungary is one of the founding members of both.
NIF was founded in 2022, and it is a €1 billion venture capital fund looking for investments in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, energy and propulsion, manufacturing, and space. Meanwhile, DIANA was established in 2022 as well, and it is an acceleration programme and test centre network that brings start-ups together with operational end users, scientists, and systems integrators.
Imre Porkoláb, ministerial commissioner for defence innovation and brigadier general in the Hungarian Defence Forces also stated that the NATO Innovation Week events will be hosted at the Defence Innovation Research Institute (VIKI) in Budapest, and Minister of Defence Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky will be serving as the chief patron. At these events, Hungary will present its innovation ecosystem to the other member states, the Ministry’s statement informed.
As Porkoláb explained, VIKI, the organization which also provides the host venue for the NATO Innovation Week, is an institution tasked with exploring dual-use technologies in the country, as well as connecting private enterprises with research centres and the Defence Ministry—so, it is very much akin to NATO’s aforementioned DIANA. ‘International integration is also critical’ for these operations, the military expert added.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/MTI