NATO Innovation Challenge launched: Final in June, in Lithuania
Feb 26

NATO has launched its 14th international innovation challenge, inviting companies to develop technologies that can remotely identify and neutralise sites contaminated with explosives. The final of the Challenge jointly organised by the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation, the Ministry of National Defence, the Innovation Agency and NATO will be held in June, in Lithuania.

”It is a unique opportunity for Lithuanian businesses and startups to contribute to the development of innovative technology and to join international defence industry supply chains. Despite young age of the Lithuanian defence industry sector, the sector staff increased by 14 per cent, while turnover – by 46 per cent in five years alone. It should be noted that the unique technologies developed by Lithuanian companies have already proven successful in the battlefields in Ukraine. We have a potential to grow, therefore a growing international recognition is of high importance,” said Minister of the Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė.

The NATO Innovation Challenge invites Lithuanian and foreign companies to submit proposals until 16 April, which will be assessed by their efficiency, security, innovation, integration. Finalists will be announced on 17 May, while the final event of the Challenge will be held on 12 June, in Lithuania.

“Conflict zones and their affected regions contain sites contaminated with explosive substances that pose a serious threat to military forces and civilians. Innovative remote solutions for scouting and neutralising sites contaminated with explosives can ensure safe movement of civilians and military units, facilitate recovery efforts, but their development brings a lot of challenges”, said Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas.

The authors of the best proposals will be awarded cash prizes at the final event of the 14th NATO Challenge to be held in Lithuania, while one of the ten final proposals can be further developed and adapted for NATO.

“The finalists introducing their projects at the event will be assessed by the defence experts, and the representatives from NATO and other countries will arrive in Lithuania. At present, Lithuanian companies are developing many defence innovations, so I believe they will actively participate in the Challenge and make it to the top ten finalists. Despite severe competition, businesses of our country have huge potential,” said Sigutė Stankevičiūtė, Head of ManuFuture Lab of the Innovation agency organising the final event.

Companies willing to participate in the Challenge must develop a system that can remotely scan and identify the explosives-contaminated sites, find a solution that can process reconnaissance data and present it in a user-friendly way, and a technology that can neutralise explosive devices remotely. Safety functions must be prioritised to prevent accidental detonation or environmental damage and be compatible with the existing military and humanitarian systems.

To register for the NATO Innovation Challenge, click here.