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Hungary’s role has become even more important in NATO’s innovation activities

Text: Márton Navarrai Mészáros | Photo: Gábor Kormány, Defence Innovation Research Institute Nonprofit Ltd (VIKI) |  16:19 September 22, 2023

On 20 September, the professional closing day of the NATO DIANA Innovation Week in Bálna Defence Centre, Budapest, Brigadier General Dr. Imre Porkoláb, MoD Ministerial Commissioner for Defence Innovation stated that the three-day conference series of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) and the NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) was a clear success.


The armed forces are not the only beneficiaries of defence-based research and development, as beyond the transfer of cutting-edge technologies and the manufacturing of military hardware, defence innovation also promotes the production of added values that may be utilized in other areas as well, said Brigadier General Dr. Imre Porkoláb, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the NATO DIANA innovation network on the professional closing day of the Alliance program series “Innovation Week”. To introduce in detail the domestic research and development workshops and their work to European investors and defence experts, he delivered a speech in which he said that all research and development centers in Hungary would be given an opportunity to join the implementation of various projects.

Brigadier General Dr. Imre Porkoláb reminded the members of the DIANA Board of Directors of the fact that the wide-ranging experiences gained in the research and development of weapons, the development of remote-controlled and self-driving vehicles, the ramified activities in the field of robotics, biotechnological research projects as well as materials testing work may be used in human health care and environmental protection as well. The ministerial commissioner also noted that in his opinion, our domestic researchers have extraordinarily rich problem-solving skills, and the adaptability of enterprises holds several reserves, so it would be forward thinking to involve those small and medium-sized enterprises in the cooperation that are able to create added value.


“At the meeting called “Innovation Week” of the North Atlantic Alliance, NATO’s top innovation bodies are holding their conferences in Budapest for three days. So far, we have been able to host the sessions of NATO NIF Board of Directors in Budapest, but of course, we ourselves also attended those sessions, since we are founding members of both organizations. Today, the Board of Directors of the NATO DIANA innovation network is in session”, Brigadier General Dr. Imre Porkoláb told the press on the spot about the significance of the international meeting. The Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of NATO DIANA noted that all 31 member states of the Alliance are members of the NATO DIANA network, which ensures through its cooperation with the private sector and the scientific circles that the best of the new technologies can serve Trans-Atlantic security. The daily turnout of the conference was around 70 attendees, as several NATO organizations had delegated representatives to the prestigious event.

“The innovation conference saw some very serious decisions taken. Furthermore, this was the first session of the NATO Innovation Fund where a board meeting of directors convened. The NIF is an EUR 1 billion fund in which the nations can make further investments. Of course, the beneficiaries in each NATO member state are those small enterprises which so far have had difficulties while connecting to the defence sector or industry. As for DIANA, we have made some huge announcements: today we signed a cooperation agreement which is related to the freshly accredited Hungarian test center”, said Brigadier General Dr. Imre Porkoláb, who called the event series a clear success. He also noted that Hungary has declared further test centers and a kind of “accelerator activity” to NATO. “This is a huge step toward achieving that Hungary becomes an even more integrated member of NATO’s daily innovation activities”, said the ministerial commissioner.


“Back then we declared a number of test centers to NATO, of which one was finally chosen: our Zalaegerszeg test center, which the Alliance has accredited with regard to autonomous systems and cyber capability development. There is a legal procedure going on for some time, so actually, now we have sealed an agreement that we already knew about”, said the general in assessing the significance of the memorandum of understanding on cooperation between NATO DIANA and Hungary, signed by British engineer-professor Deeph Chana, the Managing Director of DIANA.

At the conference series of NATO’s top innovation organizations, the NIF was represented by Dr. Klaus Hommels, Chair of the NIF Board of Directors and by Prof. Fiona Murray, Vice Chair of the NIF Board of Directors and Associate Dean for Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Also in attendance was David van Weel, the new NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. As chief patron of the NATO Innovation Week, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky held a lecture on the second day of the event series.

The NATO innovation summit closes with cultural programs and informative panel discussions in the House of Music Hungary. The main organizer of the event series is the Defence Innovation Research Institute Nonprofit Ltd, and the Ministry of Defence has supported its organization.

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