Farming Innovation Programme: Research Starter Round 3, expression of interest

Farming, growing or forestry businesses based in England can apply for a share of up to £850,000 for feasibility projects to improve productivity, sustainability, resilience and move the agricultural sector to net zero.

Opportunity Details

When

Registration Opens

30/01/2023

Registration Closes

08/03/2023

Award

Detailed project costs are not required at this EoI stage. At the full application stage your project’s total costs must be between £28,000 and £56,000. Up to 70% of costs can be covered.

Organisation

DEFRA
UKRI

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The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will invest up to £850,000 in innovation projects.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.

The aim of this competition is to:

  • investigate early-stage solutions with the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability, resilience and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
  • prioritise solutions that have positive outputs for farmers, growers or foresters in commercially relevant situations
  • accelerate development of effective new agricultural solutions by working with end-users and collaborating with the wider UK research community in the innovation process

This is an expression of interest (EoI) stage of a two stage competition. If your application is successful you will be invited to apply to a full stage competition.

This two stage competition is designed to make funding accessible to a wider range of applicants. If you are successful in the EoI stage, you will be able to access independent support to help complete the full stage application for grant funding. The full stage will open in May 2023.

Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how your project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

Eligibility

If your application is successful at this EoI stage, you will be invited to apply for a full stage competition. In the full stage you must collaborate with other eligible partners.

Your full stage project must:

  • have total costs between £28,000 and £56,000
  • start by 1 November 2023
  • end by 31 October 2024
  • last between 6 and 12 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in England

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be an active farming, growing or forestry business of any size based in England
  • be able to evidence that you are an established business, including sole traders and partnerships
  • have a UK bank account
  • not have been awarded Innovate UK funding as a project lead within the last 5 years before 8 March 2023

A farming, growing or forestry business can only lead on one EoI application.

To collaborate with the lead at the full stage, an organisation must be a farmer, grower or forester based in the UK or a UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Scope

The aim of this competition is to:

  • investigate early-stage solutions with the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability, resilience and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
  • prioritise solutions that have positive outputs for farmers, growers or foresters in commercially relevant situations
  • accelerate development of effective new agricultural solutions by working with end-users and collaborating with the wider UK research community in the innovation process

This competition provides an entry point​ for farmers, growers or foresters that have bold, ambitious, early-stage ideas to solve major problems that impact their business. This can help you exploit new significant opportunities for both your business and the industry sub-sector.​

The outputs of this EoI competition will provide you with the knowledge and information needed to aid in applying for grant funding for the development of your idea.

Your proposed feasibility study must investigate new solutions to industry identified challenges, or opportunities for farmers, growers or foresters that have the potential to significantly improve:

  • productivity
  • sustainability and environmental impact
  • progression towards net zero emissions
  • resilience

Your project must focus on developing on-farm or immediate post farmgate​ solutions.

You must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or forestry in England.

Your project must address a significant industry challenge or opportunity in at least one of the four industry subsectors:

  • livestock
  • plants
  • novel food production systems
  • bioeconomy and agroforestry

We are not funding projects that:

  • are equine specific​
  • involve wild caught fisheries
  • are cellular or acellular production systems, fermentation systems for bacteria, yeast or fungi​
  • are for the production of crops or plants for medicinal or pharmaceutical use
  • are aquaculture, including algae and seaweed for human consumption
  • do not benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England

Briefing and support

A briefing event will be held at 10am on Wednesday 1st February: click here to register for a place.

For enquiries and support, or to find a collaboration partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Agrifood team.

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