In 2021, NATO launched the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic or DIANA[1]. DIANA will accelerate the development of solutions to technological challenges, critical for transatlantic security, by linking existing innovation efforts within the different Allies with those at NATO. DIANA also aims to tighten the cooperation between industry, startup companies and academia in order to identify and develop next-generation technologies, which meet the demands of the security and defence domain.

One of DIANA’s key components is a network of test centres to support the development of new technologies, which have both military and civilian applications, i.e. the so-called dual-purpose technologies.

Following a successful bid with NATO’s International Secretariat, GATE is recognized to be a DIANA test centre in the field of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Being a part of DIANA’s network, GATE is going to host innovators from across the Alliance, who can bring their concepts for evaluation, verification and validation.

Professor Sylvia Ilieva, Director of GATE, disclosed that “GATE’s mission to serve as a bridge between the scientific community, the industry and the society fits perfectly with DIANA’s rationale. The outcome of the bid is a success not just for GATE, but also supports Bulgaria’s national priorities such as overcoming any gap in the technological development among the different Allies at NATO”.

While it enhances Bulgaria’s image as a reliable Ally, creating a NATO test centre in the field of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the country has the potential to also attract new investors and provide Bulgaria access to the Alliance’s latest technologies.

Establishing a network of test centres to develop new technologies helps maintain and sharpen NATO’s overall technological edge. In this sense, Bulgaria’s participation in DIANA also guarantees the freedom and security of the Bulgarian citizens and the resilience of the country’s national institutions, and those of the other 29 NATO Allies.

Finally, yet importantly, GATE’s successful bid builds on Bulgaria’s previous efforts in the sphere of new technologies at the Alliance: Sofia had previously dedicated an expert to NATO Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies. This effort as well as GATE’s achievement are a product of joint efforts and the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence of Bulgaria.

Institute GATE remains available for further questions and comments. Point of contact: Borislav Bankov, , +359 887 760 883.