Portugal will host two structures of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), an unprecedented initiative by NATO to create a network that brings the defence sector closer to the private sector and academia and, in this way, boost technological leadership of the Alliance.

Arsenal do Alfeite was selected to integrate the NATO Innovation Accelerators network, while the Centro de Experimentação Operacional da Marinha (CEOM), in Troia, was selected as a test centre for the development and testing of unmanned vehicles.

The fact that Portugal hosts these two structures is an opportunity for the country’s integration into an international innovation network, promoting the development of emerging and disruptive dual-use technologies, civil and military, thus contributing to the strengthening of the defence economy.

About Alfeite Accelerator

The Accelerator will be installed at Arsenal do Alfeite and reinforces the Arsenal Academy project, both initiatives being in line with idD Portugal Defence’s objective of creating a pole of innovation for the Defence Economy in that space.

It will host 20 start-ups and will allow the transfer of knowledge and the development of new technological solutions developed in the civil domain for military applications, benefiting from an extended cooperation network that includes entities from the defence ecosystems, entrepreneurship and companies, universities and research centres, public entities and NATO itself.

Those who integrate DIANA programs will have access to a network of other accelerators and test centres in more than 20 Allies and the possibility of accessing the NATO Innovation Fund.

The Accelerator will benefit from being in an industrial area, access to workshops and laboratories, proximity to the Navy and a vibrant innovation ecosystem in the Lisbon area.

This project will also benefit from the relationship with the Navy’s Operational Experimentation Centre.


On April 7, the Alliance’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs approved the Charter of DIANA, which defines the structures that are part of the network.

DIANA was launched at the last NATO Summit where Heads of State and Government agreed to launch the NATO Innovation Fund and DIANA, a civil-military innovation accelerator similar to DARPA, to boost transatlantic cooperation in critical technologies. “Working with the private sector and academia, Allies will ensure that we can harness the best of new technology for transatlantic security”, declared the Secretary General of NATO, during the Ministerial.

DIANA will enable the defence personnel to work with the alliance’s scientific researchers, technology companies, and start-ups to address critical defence and security challenges.

The new initiative will focus on emerging and disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence, big-data processing, quantum-enabled technologies, biotechnology, autonomy, novel materials, and space.

About NATO’s Innovation Fund

The Ministerial has also approved the structure for the NATO Innovation Fund, the world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund. It will invest €1 billion in early-stage start-ups, and other deep tech funds, aligned with its strategic objectives.

Both DIANA and the NATO Innovation Fund support the development and protection of a transatlantic innovation community, providing an opportunity to maximize existing Alliance and nation structures, complementing NATO initiatives such as STO and NIAG studies and work, as well as European programs and projects such as PESCO and the EDF.