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Estonia welcomes NATO DIANA Regional Hub in Tallinn

Estonia's defence innovations get a boost with the new NATO DIANA Regional Hub in Tallinn. 9 startups have already graduated the first accelerator program, with more opportunities on the way.

The Estonian Defence sector is growing rapidly, adding funding, innovation power and strategic partnerships. Last week, Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur and NATO DIANA Managing Director Prof. Deeph Chana officially opened the DIANA Regional Hub in Tallinn by signing a memorandum of understanding. Kadri Tammai will serve as the Regional Director of the Hub.

“I am pleased to see that NATO DIANA’s pilot year has been successful – a year ago in June, the first challenge call was launched. Out of 1300 applicants, 44 successful companies were selected to DIANA’s Accelerator Programme and nine of them had the opportunity to further develop their ideas in an accelerator in Estonia. Now they are finishing the first phase of the programme, and based on the acquired knowledge and experience, can move forward at full capacity,” said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur. “Currently, we are discussing daily how to get Europe’s defence industry running faster and more efficiently – the dual-use solutions developed here, for both civilian and military use, will provide fertile ground for the advancement of the defence industry, and we look forward to the developments that will emerge from this building in the future.”

“Given Estonia’s extraordinary track record of innovation, it is a perfect home for DIANA’s Regional Hub,” said Professor Deeph Chana, Managing Director of DIANA. “The Hub will play a key role in operations across DIANA, as we work to strengthen and accelerate emerging technologies capacity across 32 innovation ecosystems.”

Kadri Tammai, formerly with the Tehnopol Startup Incubator and the NATO DIANA Innovation Accelerator, will now serve as the NATO DIANA Regional Director and looks forward to supporting the programme’s implementation across 32 member countries. In Estonia, there’s already a lot of work to oversee.

Kadri Tammai

The companies that began DIANA’s first accelerator boot camp in January developed their technologies and tackled specific challenges on energy resilience, undersea sensing and surveillance, and secure information sharing. Companies that made it into the accelerator programme received a grant of €100K, and those selected for a second 6-month phase will receive up to an additional €300K. Notably, one of the alumni — fuel cell developer GalTech — has also secured third place and €100K in funding from Latitude59, Estonia’s flagship tech event.

DIANA will launch new batches in July focusing on technology priorities like energy, information, sensing, health, infrastructure, logistics, and space as identified by Allies. Applicants from any NATO member country can apply within a five-week window. Submissions will be evaluated based on technical and commercial viability.

The accelerator in Estonia is led by the Tehnopol Startup Incubator together with the Sparkup Tartu Science Park and the business accelerator Startup Wise Guys. The funding to start the accelerator in Estonia comes from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the city of Tallinn. Estonian contributors to building the pan-Alliance network of testing centres are TalTech, the University of Tartu, Foundation CR14, the National Defence College, the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, the Estonian Aviation Academy and the Estonian National Metrology Institute.

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