NATO DIANA provides comprehensive support to businesses and innovators, offering them training and guidance as well as access to investors and defence expertise. In doing so, DIANA provides companies with the resources, networks and guidance to develop deep technologies to solve critical defence and security challenges, from operating in denied environments to tackling threats to our collective resilience. Organizations can also benefit from funding and access to a multinational network of accelerators and test centres.  

As test centres, the University of Alberta (U of A) and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) will help entrepreneurs and innovators to develop and fully execute the designs of their technology or products. It also paves the way for both institutions to explore research opportunities in technologies that have civilian and military uses.  

“The inclusion of two post-secondary institutions in our province in the NATO DIANA network is another way that Alberta is on the map for innovation. This milestone also opens opportunities for Alberta’s tech sector to expand its technology advancements.”  

Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation

“Joining NATO DIANA presents a tremendous opportunity for the U of A and SAIT to expand their research horizons and drive innovation at the intersection of academia and defence. This is also a rare opportunity to connect with a network of experts around the globe to develop new technologies while gaining international recognition for the expertise at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.”

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education

The decision to expand DIANA test centres to Alberta further solidifies Alberta’s global reputation as an innovation powerhouse.

The research that will be conducted in these test centres will not just advance Alberta’s international innovation reputation, it will also propel the work of scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs within the province, and will work to attract more technology and innovation talent to the province.  Five global accelerators are currently supporting startups here in Alberta through the Alberta Innovates Scaleup Growth Accelerator Program. They have graduated more than 230 companies; and raised nearly $148 million in investment.

The University of Alberta will play a key role in artificial intelligence as they are ranked second in North America and fifth in the world in artificial intelligence and machine learning research, based on a metrics-based rankings system. In addition, Alberta is home to the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), one of three institutions that constitute the National Artificial Intelligence Institutes, which are pillars supporting the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

"The University of Alberta is one of Canada's top research-intensive institutions, known for driving innovation. As a NATO DIANA test site, we will work with a strong, worldwide network of experts to help solve critical global challenges. This is a natural fit for our institution and our strong research network, and we're excited to be a part of this collaboration."

Bill Flanagan, president and vice-chancellor, University of Alberta

“In 2020, SAIT’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) established the Centre for Innovation and Research in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (CIRAMM), reaffirming our commitment to tackling industry's dynamic challenges and driving the shift towards smarter, more sustainable manufacturing and materials systems. This announcement marks a significant milestone and stands as a testament to the incredible progress within CIRAMM and the province.”

Dr. David Ross, president and CEO, SAIT

With the addition of the U of A and SAIT locations, DIANA’s network will now comprise 23 accelerator sites and 182 test centres in 28 NATO countries, augmenting its capacity to support innovators from across the alliance as they develop their technologies.

Quick facts

  • DIANA was established in 2022 to ensure that NATO harnesses the best of dual-use innovation for transatlantic defence and security. 
  • DIANA issues ‘challenges’ in specific problem areas and asks innovators to bring forward solutions. In its pilot year, those challenges were energy resilience, undersea sensing and surveillance, and secure information sharing.
  • Canadian innovators have demonstrated their interest in NATO DIANA with the second-highest number of submissions in NATO DIANA’s first-ever competitive challenges launched in June 2023. There were 211 Canadian submissions, just behind the United States’ 215.
  • NATO DIANA’s Canadian Headquarters is expected to open in Halifax in July.