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190312 emp400Addressing the dangers of electromagnetic pulse to our societies and militaries is the topic of this year’s first NATO Innovation Challenge.

The competition aims to tap into the minds of innovative people and teams to find new, creative and efficient ways for NATO to respond to security challenges and potential crises.

The latest challenge is looking for solutions to prevent electromagnetic pulse damage, mitigate the effects on critical infrastructure and capabilities, and ensure rapid recovery.

Entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, thinkers, engineers, coders and inventors can participate. The winner will get stage-time at NATO events and access to contract opportunities. Registration is open until the 24th of April, and the award ceremony will take place on the 30th of May in Brno, the Czech Republic.

Electromagnetic pulse – generated by a large solar flare or a weapon – could cripple systems reliant on electricity, from smartphones and ATMs to nuclear power facilities, hospitals and military command and control systems. Its enormous security repercussions are the reason it was selected as topic for this year’s NATO Innovation Challenge.

The challenge is co-organised by the NATO Innovation Hub and the Defence and Security Innovation Hub. The NATO Innovation Hub, based in Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, runs two NATO Innovation Challenges every year.

The previous competition took place in late 2018 and had to do with the development of autonomous drones. There were around 30 competitors and ten finalists pitched their solutions to a jury of military experts and academics. The winners were Belgian start-up ALX Systems and Dutch high-tech company Delft Dynamics.