UK-Canada partnership to bring new business and consumer benefits

Posted on: 12/09/2023
Different types of plant based protein sources laid out on a wooden background

This week sees a delegation of nine UK organisations on a market visit to Canada, to build new relationships with Canadian partners.

The visit is a feature of the Innovate UK Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) they are participating in, that intensively supports innovation-focused businesses in exploring key global markets to accelerate their growth.

The visit follows a meeting between UK Science Minister George Freeman and Canada’s Minister of Science, Innovation and Industry, Francois-Phillipe Champagne, in June 2023. During this meeting, they forged a commitment to enhance collaboration on science and innovation between the two countries. Subsequently, a bilateral partnership between Innovate UK and Protein Industries Canada (PIC) was announced aimed at fostering stronger ties within the food sectors of both countries. This strategic partnership aligns with the growing need for achieving net-zero emissions and sustainable food supply chains.

Organisations on the visit are developing innovations to support the plant-based protein sector, a key area of focus for both the UK and Canada. Accompanied by Innovate UK, PIC and National Research Council Canada, the delegation will visit Saskatoon Food Industry Development Centre, Leduc Food Processing Development Centre, and the University of Guelph, as well attending the PIC AGM.

PIC, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), will host a mission back to the UK the week of 25th September 2023.

Today, 12th September 2023, Innovate UK and PIC are also pleased to announce a bilateral collaborative R&D competition for projects with innovative solutions for the plant-based protein sector.

Organisations can apply for a share of £6.5m funding from Innovate UK and $10m CAD from PIC, to advance innovations in one or more of these five areas:

  • Ingredients – the development, scaling and optimisation of plant-based ingredients.
  • Products – the conversion of high protein crops, ingredients and co-products into consumption-ready goods.
  • Adding value or enhancing quality – innovations to improve the nutritional quality, consumer acceptability, sustainability, and safety of plant-based products.
  • Animal feed or pet food applications – innovation related to uses focussed on plant-based pet food and animal feed.
  • Co-product stream management – innovations to add value to by-products produced during the processing of crops such as field peas, lentils, canola, and related ingredients for plant-based product manufacture.

This competition offers a platform to harness the collective strengths of both countries, enabling organisations to access technologies, knowledge and expertise that may be less readily available or as strong within their home region.

Central to this competition is the principle of collaboration. Each consortium must comprise a minimum of three businesses, with UK-based entities encouraged to forge partnerships with at least one Canadian SME and one additional business, which may originate from either the UK or Canada.

Dr Katrina Hayter, Executive Director, Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said:

We are delighted to see our partnership with PIC continue with the joint funding call and anticipating the transformative outcomes of this partnership for both Canada and the UK. Through our collaboration, we can harness our distinct expertise and create opportunities for business from both countries to accelerate their growth and drive innovation to tackle the most pressing societal challenges.

CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said:

The demand for plant-based food is growing around the world. Canada has a once-in-a generation opportunity to be a global leader in the supply of high-quality, healthy and sustainable plant-based ingredients. Partnerships such as these provide an opportunity for Canadian companies to work with some of the world’s most innovative companies while developing partnerships that will lead to new markets and new opportunities.

Innovate UK and PIC will be hosting an online event on 21st September, providing a valuable platform to connect with potential partners for collaborative projects and apply for funding together. Additionally, we encourage you to join our dedicated LinkedIn group to stay engaged and connected.

Share this article

Related Events and Recordings


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.