The long-standing partnership between NATO and Ukraine includes strong scientific cooperation in a variety of domains, such as counter-terrorism, advanced technologies, cyber defence, energy security, and defence against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents. Tailored cooperation and dialogue with Ukraine is deepening, thanks to the country’s new status as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, since June 2020, in recognition of its contributions to Euro-Atlantic security.
The NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme provides the Ukrainian scientific community with a platform to work side-by-side with NATO Allies and partner countries on security-related issues.
Ukraine is currently leading 27 ongoing activities, one of which is a key flagship project in the field of counter-terrorism called DEXTER (Detection of Explosives and Firearms to Counter Terrorism). It aims to develop an integrated system to detect explosives and firearms in public places, remotely and in real time, without disrupting the flow of passengers.
“This project will contribute to NATO’s enhanced role in the international fight against terrorism,” said Dr Deniz Yüksel-Beten, senior SPS and partnerships cooperation advisor at NATO.
The SPS Programme also opens doors for Ukrainian experts – especially young scientists and researchers – to pursue innovative solutions to security challenges, in cooperation with other specialists from Allied and partner countries.
In particular, in the field of security-related advanced technology, Ukrainian experts have collaborated with peers from the United Kingdom and the United States to increase the robustness of ground and air vehicles, as well as their performance, operational agility in severe terrain and resilience to failures.
“We see SPS as a valuable platform for Ukraine-NATO practical engagement,” said Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna during her visit to NATO Headquarters on 8 July 2020. “It facilitates effective scientific research, technological innovation and knowledge-sharing between NATO and Ukrainian scientists.”
New projects in development
This year, the SPS Programme has approved 13 new activities with Ukraine. These focus on the protection of soldiers and civilians from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear contamination; using advanced technology to strengthen civilian population resilience, and national medical and emergency-response systems; and developing tools to protect military personnel from biological and explosive threats, while enhancing their energy efficiency.
Through these new activities, Ukrainian co-directors will work together with experts from Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and other partner countries including Belarus, Jordan and Sweden.
Looking to the future, the SPS Programme has identified key areas for further research and collaboration with Ukraine, including in the areas of Women, Peace and Security, hybrid warfare and maritime scientific research.
“Given the high standards of Ukrainian science and know-how, working with Ukrainian researchers and scientists is also an invaluable occasion for their counterparts in NATO countries to study specific areas of research, for instance in hybrid warfare,” said Dr Antonio Missiroli, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.
Nearly three decades of cooperation
Since SPS-Ukraine cooperation began in 1991, more than 720 experts from Ukraine have participated in SPS activities. Another 945 young scientists have benefited from exchanges through the Programme, and various projects and workshops have resulted in upwards of 80 book publications.
Some recently completed projects delivered to Ukraine include support to humanitarian demining, and developing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) recognition systems. Another key project helped to build capacity, through the provision of extensive training and equipment, for a Multinational Telemedicine System. This system enables medical specialists to engage in major disasters and incidents that require specialised expertise in first-response humanitarian aid, using modern communications to provide recommendations in real time to the caregiver on site.
“The Science for Peace and Security Programme has continuously supported Ukrainian scientists for more than 20 years,” concluded Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna.