NCI Agency launches Defence Innovation Challenge for SMEs and academia

By Jill O’Donnell, Industry Relations 1/30/2017
Innovation, Government-Industry collaboration and significant business opportunities with NATO are key themes of the NCI Agency annual conference agenda, released today at www.nitec.nato.int.

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is now accepting submissions for the second annual Defence Innovation Challenge, aimed at accelerating transformational, state-of-the-art technology solutions from small businesses and academia in support of NATO C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and cyber capabilities.

For more information, check out the NITEC17 website here.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and academic institutions operating at the cutting edge of technology from all 28 NATO Nations are invited to submit proposals in ten focus areas of critical importance to the Alliance mission:

  • Cyber security: sensors, analytics, visualisation;
  • Internet of Things (IoT): public protection and disaster relief in a smart city, federation of IoT communities, analytics for trust and scepticism in IoT data;
  • Long range wireless communications: low-cost satellite communication services for remote IoT devices, satellite communication services for polar regions, resilient terrestrial long-range communication services;
  • Service management automation and analytics: big data, business intelligence and cognitive analytics, proactive event management;
  • Rapidly deployable, scalable IT infrastructure;
  • Software defined networks;
  • Cloud security;
  • Secure voice interoperability, secure voice bridges;
  • Security-accredited containerization;
  • eProcurement services.

"The creativity and dynamism of Alliance Industry have always been a source of strength for NATO, and we need to focus on connecting that innovative capacity to NATO challenges—including from small businesses and academia," NCI Agency General Manager Koen Gijsbers said.

"The outcome of the Warsaw Summit last year made it very clear that for the Alliance to keep its technological edge, NATO must identify advanced and emerging technologies, evaluate their applicability in the military domain, and implement them through innovative solutions. The Defence Innovation Challenge is a key step in harnessing the potential of small companies and academic institutions toward that effort, and we look forward to reviewing the submissions."

The deadline for entries has been extended to 15 March 2017.

Top finishers will be announced on 31 March 2017 and invited to showcase their technology solutions at the 2017 NCI Agency Conference and AFCEA TechNet International (NITEC17), "Sharpening NATO's Technological Edge: Adaptive Partnerships and the Innovative Power of Alliance Industry", that will take place on 24-26 April in Ottawa, Canada.

The top ten finishers will receive:

  • One full registration waiver;
  • Showcase space;
  • Participation in the award ceremony with NATO leadership;
  • Presentation slot during the plenary sessions;
  • Inclusion in the NITEC 17 report;
  • Inclusion in the Industry innovation report in the Communicator Magazine.  

Submission Guidelines

Proposals must include the following information:

    1. Title page (Include company name, NATO Member Nation in which your company is registered, proposal name, focus area, date, point of contact name, e-mail address, phone, and address);
    2. Information on company size, indicating if your company is considered a small business in your national legislation;
    3. Proposal summary (2000 characters) describing the unique aspects of your technology, its core of innovation and the proposed work as it relates to the focus area while highlighting  its relevance to NATO.

      Identify whether the effort includes the pilot or demonstration of existing commercial technology, or the development of technology for potential defence application. If development or adaptation is proposed, identify a suggested path to mature the technology. Identify aspects which may be considered proprietary. Indicate if there are any large scale deployments already in operation, what is the predicted cost of deployment and what is the predicted cost of operation?

Please submit proposals and/or any queries to the Industry Relations Office at industryrelations@ncia.nato.int.

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