NATO Research and Technology Organisation (archived)

  • Last updated: 09 Aug. 2017 16:09

The NATO Research and Technology Organisation has ceased to exist. The information underneath is for archiving purposes only.

The NATO Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) promotes and conducts co-operative scientific research and exchange of technical information among the 28 NATO and 38 partner countries. The largest such collaborative body in the world, the RTO has more than 3 000 scientists and engineers addressing the complete scope of defence technologies.

Main tasks and responsibilities

The RTO is the primary NATO organization for defence science and technology. It promotes and conducts co-operative research and information exchange, develops and maintains a long-term NATO research and technology strategy, and provides advice to all elements of NATO on research and technology issues.

The RTO carries out research in a range of technology areas:

  • Applied vehicle technology
  • Human factors and medicine
  • Information systems technology
  • System analysis and studies
  • Systems concepts and integration
  • Sensors and electronics technology

The organization also promotes cooperation among the Alliance’s bodies, and NATO member and partner countries to maximize the effective use of modelling and simulation. It provides the NATO Simulation Resource Library to increase the reusability of simulation resources within the RTO community. The RTO also promotes standards applicable in the NATO area of modelling and simulation.

The organization’s structure

The RTO operates at three levels – the Research and Technology Board, technical panels and technical teams – and is supported in its efforts by an executive agency, the Research and Technology Agency.

The RTO’s activities are addressed by six technical panels covering a range of scientific research activities, a group specializing in modeling and simulation, and a committee dedicated to supporting the information management needs of the organization. Each year there are some 140 research activities being conducted by technical teams.

The Research and Technology Board (RTB) is the highest authority in RTO. It is the policy body tasked by the North Atlantic Council through the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) and the Military Committee to serve as NATO’s single integrating body for the direction and/or co-ordination of defence research and technology.

The board’s membership comprises up to three leading personalities in defence research and technology from each NATO Nation. The members are chosen by the NATO countries and may be from government, academia or industry. Typically, Board members are senior science and technology executives at the deputy under-secretary, deputy assistant secretary or deputy administrator level.

The Research and Technology Agency (RTA) is the executive arm of the RTO, which facilitates collaboration by organizing a wide range of studies, workshops, symposia and other forums through which researchers can meet and exchange knowledge. The RTA has some 30 NATO civilian staff and another 20 military and civilian staff who are provided by the member countries and serve on limited duration rotations.


The RTO was formed in 1998 through the merger of the Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development and the Defence Research Group.