Halifax primed to lead NATO tech innovation initiative

Halifax primed to lead NATO tech innovation initiative

It can’t be overlooked that the strength of the innovation ecosystem in Halifax is bolstered by the highest concentration of military assets in Canada with an established industrial defence supply chain that invest in research and development.

On Nov. 18, 2022, National Defence Minister Anita Anand, joined by Immigration and Refugees Minister Sean Fraser, and Liberal MPs Andy Fillmore, Lena Diab, Darren Fisher, Kody Blois and Yvan Baker, announced that Halifax is the proposed location to host the North American Regional Office for the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA). 

DIANA, a new NATO body that will create a network of innovation sites in North America and Europe will bring defence personnel together with the alliance’s best and brightest start-ups, scientific researchers, and technology companies. The mission is to foster a transatlantic ecosystem supporting innovation in deep technologies. 

If accepted by NATO, the Halifax-based Regional Office for North America would work collaboratively with the European Regional Office in London and would coordinate the work of accelerators and test centres throughout North America to strengthen transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies, and deepen collaboration between NATO, regional industry and academia. 

The government’s offer will now be considered by the NATO DIANA Board before a decision is made, but there is no denying the alignment of what is happening in Halifax and the priorities of DIANA. Across Canada, the blue economy is growing—with Nova Scotia emerging as a clear leader. For example, a recent study highlighted that the number of ocean enterprise companies operating in Canada increased from 122 to 160 from 2020 to 2022, with 31 per cent of these companies calling Nova Scotia home. These companies are creating new solutions in technologies that will support priorities by NATO, such as artificial intelligence, big-data processing, sensing and surveillance and information security.

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