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Main Diplomacy Brave1, NATO, and the Defense Innovation Unit conducted the first-ever NATO-Ukraine Defense Innovators Forum in history

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Brave1, NATO, and the Defense Innovation Unit conducted the first-ever NATO-Ukraine Defense Innovators Forum in history

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Brave1, NATO, and the Defense Innovation Unit conducted the first-ever NATO-Ukraine Defense Innovators Forum in history

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The NATO-Ukraine Defense Innovators Forum was the first joint event in defense technology organized by NATO, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Brave1 cluster, the Ukraine-NATO Council, and the Ministry of National Defense of Poland. The forum brought together approximately 400 participants in defense technology and innovation from over 15 countries.

"In Ukraine, we are fighting with innovations made in Ukraine. It's ongoing work, a continuous R&D process, solving logistical problems with components, and finding solutions five steps ahead. Ukraine is already the best R&D center for any innovations. Today we receive technology for testing, and tomorrow we scale it up hundreds of times," said Vice Prime Minister for Innovation, Education Development, Science, and Technology Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov.

The forum included panel discussions, a hackathon, and networking meetings to expand contacts between developers and investors. Key topics included the development of defense innovations in Ukraine and NATO allies, challenges faced by developers on both sides, investment prospects in Ukrainian defense tech, and plans for cooperation in defense technology.

"After the Victory, Ukraine will become a major supplier of defense technologies to our allies in the NATO alliance. There are two reasons for this: our unique experience and the impressive dynamics of industry scaling. That is why we urge partners to come to Ukraine, adopt our expertise, and invest. The development of Ukrainian defense tech is beneficial to the entire democratic world and NATO countries in particular," said Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for IT Development Oleksandr Boryakov.

During the forum, Ukrainian developers participating in Brave1 met with foreign investors, presented their projects, and shared their experience in developing defense tech solutions in conditions of full-scale war.

"Ukraine is the hub of innovation in future defense technologies. Ukrainian developers are already showcasing solutions that change the modern view of combat strategy and tactics. We are confident that Ukrainian experience in warfare combined with technologies and the experience of allies can become the technological basis for a safer and more secure Europe," said Nataliia Kushner, Head of the Brave1 cluster.

 

 

The forum also hosted the Automated Visual Guidance Hackathon, focusing on developing solutions that enhance UAV capabilities, including target recognition, aiming, and engagement. Four Ukrainian teams and nine teams from NATO countries participated in the hackathon. Two Ukrainian teams won prizes. The first place went to the joint Ukrainian-Norwegian team Sensorama Lab / KEF Robotics, receiving $50,000 for development and scaling up their project. The third place was taken by the Ukrainian team AI Autonomix, which received $15,000.

"The opportunity to gather all the necessary partners at one event to address the most important wartime tasks is a model of positive and constructive cooperation in fulfilling current and future operational tasks. The forum united Ukrainian partners and allies to help Ukraine today and strengthen allied forces for the future," said Assistant Secretary-General for Innovation, Hybrid Technologies, and Cybersecurity at NATO David van Weel.

 

 

"The merging of bright minds, pooled resources, a set of urgent problems, and a shared vision creates amazing opportunities. DIU's commercial efforts are not limited to our own borders but are coordinated with international initiatives to create, expand, and deepen commercial and investor networks, implement programs for startups from partner countries and non-traditional companies, and catalyze private investment in new opportunities," summed up Liz McNellie Young, Deputy Director of Commercial Operations at DIU.

The event was organized by NATO, the Defense Innovation Unit of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Brave1 cluster, the Ukraine-NATO Council, and the Ministry of National Defense of Poland.

The Odessa Journal
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