NATO and Ukraine boost partnership through greater cooperation on science, technology and innovation
On 25-26 May 2023, officials and experts from NATO and Ukraine met in Brussels to chart the way forward on their long-standing cooperation on science and technology. Within the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Scientific and Environmental Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov and NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, David van Weel, launched a NATO-Ukraine High-Level Innovation Dialogue.
The launch of this Dialogue aims to expand the existing NATO-Ukraine partnership, by exchanging views on the development of innovation ecosystems for both commercial and defence needs, and by sharing lessons learned from Ukraine, as it continues to defend itself from Russia’s war of aggression. “Along with their bravery, we praise the creativity, agility and innovation that the Armed Forces of Ukraine embody. NATO stands behind Ukraine, including in their innovation efforts. Where wartime hobbyists, startups and NGOs help overmatch Russian aggressors today – we can also see a pathway for a robust Ukrainian innovation ecosystem in economic reconstruction tomorrow,” said Assistant Secretary General van Weel.
"This is the biggest war since World War II and at the same time the most technological war in human history. Innovations play a special role in confronting the enemy, which is many times superior in terms of weapons and personnel. The launch of the NATO-Ukraine Innovation Dialogue is an important step that will bring cooperation between our country and the Alliance to a new level. We are also ready to share our experience with our allies. After all, we have been using innovations in real-world combat operations for more than a year now," said Deputy Prime Minister Fedorov.
In these first discussions, participants already identified two areas where NATO can support the dual-use Ukrainian innovation ecosystem. The first is providing experts to help evaluate technologies, and the second is exploring financing pathways that multiply the reach of Ukrainian innovation efforts for the benefit of Ukraine and Allied innovation ecosystems.
Established more than two decades ago, the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Scientific and Environmental Cooperation oversees cooperation between NATO and Ukraine in the field of security-related science and technology. It gathered this week for the 17th time, under the co-chairing of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division and the Ukrainian Ministries of Education and Science and of Digital Transformation.
Participants took stock of the achievements made with support from the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, and recognised the renewed importance of science and innovation defending against Russia’s invasion, and for the future economic reconstruction of Ukraine. They identified advanced technology, energy security and digital resilience as new priority areas for scientific cooperation, based on Ukraine’s current and upcoming needs, and discussed concrete research proposals, including on the detection of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, the use of Artificial Intelligence for the prediction of threats to energy grids, spectrum monitoring, and on digital twins for energy supply monitoring and dynamic adaptation.
Since 2014, Ukraine has been the most active partner in NATO’s SPS Programme. This cooperation has continued against the backdrop of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, with Ukrainian scientists currently leading well over twenty activities supported by the SPS Programme.