NATO’s Defence Innovation Challenge


Startups, SMEs and Academia: Show the Alliance your most innovative ideas

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is now accepting submissions for its fourth annual Defence Innovation Challenge.

The challenge is aimed at accelerating transformational, state-of-the-art technology solutions from start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses and academia to support NATO’s C4ISR and cyber capabilities.

It is open to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and academic institutions operating at the cutting edge of technology from all 29 NATO Nations.

This year, the challenge focuses on data science and natural language processing. The NCI Agency is accepting submissions in the following priority areas:

  • Data science tools and approaches for a) Natural Language Processing for semantics and sentiment analysis, or b) processing data from maritime environments;
  • Capabilities for sensing the maritime environment;
  • Solutions to the telecommunication challenges of the High North.

Top finishers will be awarded a monetary prize and an opportunity
to showcase their tech solutions at the NCI Agency annual industry
conference NITEC19:,  NATO and the High North: Technology Ultramarathon.”
This year’s conference is on 20-22 May in Oslo, Norway.

What’s on offer?

A selection board

will choose the top ten finishers that will receive:
  • One registration waiver for admission to NITEC19;
  • Sales pitch presentation of 5 minutes during the plenary sessions of NITEC19;
  • Free showcase space in the Exhibition area (standard space);
  • Participation in the award ceremony with NATO leadership; and
  • Mention in the NITEC19 report.

A monetary prize of 10 000 EUR will be awarded to the best proposal out of the top ten finishers. As a part of winning, they will be given the ambitious task of running a formal pilot with the NCI Agency to demonstrate their solution.

Participants of the conference will also have an opportunity to join B2B meetings, mentoring sessions and bilateral meetings with the NCI Agency managers.

Check out our

Previous winners…


Submission Guidelines

Start-ups, SMEs and academic institutions from all 29 NATO Nations are invited to participate.

Entries must be received by Friday 22 March 2019
The winners will be announced on Monday 8 April 2019

A concise proposal summary should demonstrate the unique aspects of your technology,
its innovative core and the proposed work as it relates to the focus area
while highlighting its relevance to NATO.

Please read carefully our Terms of Reference prior to submission of proposal.

Submit Proposal