Find out about the latest funding calls of relevance to the agriculture and food & drink manufacturing sectors. Last updated 16th December 2020.

The funding landscape can be complex, so KTN’s Agri-Food team have compiled a list of some of the latest funding calls of relevance for the agriculture and food & drink manufacturing sectors, bringing them together in one place – find out more below.

The team will be happy to help if you wish to find out more about these or other funding opportunities, need help finding collaborative partners, or are seeking advice on how to apply for funding. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.

See our Covid-19 funding round-up for all Covid-related funding calls.


UFO (Small Flying Objects) call for proposals

UFO is seeking collaborative projects (of 2 or more SMEs) to develop innovative products and services by integrating new embedded technology solutions in the Small Flying Objects (SFO) area i.e. Smallsats, Drones and High Altitude platform systems. 6 emerging industries are specifically mentioned: Mobility technologies, Climate, Environment, Blue Growth (including aquaculture), Digital Creative & Gaming and Finance & Insurance industries.

Participation is open to all SMEs based in one of the UFO partners countries (Bulgaria, France, Greece, Romania, United Kingdom).

Funding of up to €60000 per SME involved is available, and the deadline is 18th February 2021. Click here for details.


Smart Farming Innovations for Small-Scale Producers

The Gates Foundation seeks Smart Farming solutions that leverage digital technology innovations that have the potential to drive positive impact for smallscale producer (SSP) entrepreneurs, primarily in Africa and Asia. Solutions should address one or more challenges faced by smallscale crop and livestock producers in one or more areas of agricultural advisory, farm management decision support, input supply, finance, insurance, market access and linkages. Solutions should use human-centered design to elucidate the barriers that prevent SSPs from improving productivity, profitability and income – then propose Smart Farming solutions that can help elevate smallscale production entrepreneurs. There are two types of funding available: Seed Grants – up to USD $250,000, and Scale-Up Grants – up to USD $1,500,000.

Click here for more details. Closing date: 25th Feb 2021.


SMEs transforming food production: series A investor partnership

UK registered SMEs that are transforming food production towards net zero can apply for a share of up to £5 million in grant support. This must align with a series A investment.

This competition will support UK registered micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SMEs must be aspiring to transform food production through experimental development projects that are closer to market. Your UK registered SME will receive:

  • grant funding
  • aligned investment funding from the programme’s pool of lead investors

We are seeking SMEs with high growth potential that aspire to transform food production towards net zero emissions by 2040. To secure grant funding you must also secure investment of at least twice the amount of grant through one of the lead investors associated with this programme (you can apply for this competition before you speak to an investor.)

Your project must have total eligible costs between £1 million and £3 million.

Find out more and apply. Deadline 13th January 2021.


Innovate UK Smart Grants: November 2020

Opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy. Project costs can be £25k-£2m.

For more details, click here. Apply by 20th Jan 2021.


Innovation continuity loans November 2020 – three strands

Innovate UK is offering up to £210 million in loans to small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing, completing or following on an innovation project. Loans are for organisations that find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are three parallel strands for innovation continuity loans:

  • Strand 1: for applicants who are continuing and completing a live project with an Innovate UK award
  • Strand 2: for applicants who have a new project that follows on from a project with an Innovate UK award that was completed in the last 36 months
  • Strand 3: applicants who are continuing, completing or following on from innovation activity that has not been supported by an Innovate UK award in the last 36 months. This strand is open to new applicants to Innovate UK, and also to some applicants who are already recipients of Innovate UK funding.

Loans of between £250,000 and £1.6 million are available. Find out more and apply. Registration closes 13th Jan 2021.


Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network 2020 Funding Calls

A new 3-year, £500K Network is being established to tackle food waste and to improve quality in horticultural and potato crops.

The Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network is providing a range of funding opportunities to its members, including pump-priming funds for feasibility studies and preliminary data collection to facilitate new collaborations (with emphasis on industry involvement and multidisciplinary) including ring-fenced funds for Early Career Researchers (ECRs)Business Interaction Vouchers (BIV) and Networking Visit Funding (NVF).

A total of £300K will be allocated over the next three years through a competitive transparent process. The awarding of funding is subject to applicants satisfying the Network’s Terms and Conditions.

To find out more, click here. Applications must be submitted by 15th January 2021.


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
If you have an idea for your business but not all the in-house expertise needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership KTP may be the perfect solution. KTP creates a dynamic three-way collaboration – between a business, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate (KTP Associate) – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability. KTP has helped over 12,000 businesses in its 45 year history and today there are around 800 live KTP projects spanning all industry sectors right across the UK. Funding competitions for KTP and mKTP are open throughout the year. The current competition closes on 27 January 2021. Talk to your local Knowledge Transfer Adviser in the first instance.

Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Just like our highly effective KTP programme, Management KTPs (MKTPs) create a dynamic 3-way partnership between your company, a team of academic experts and a skilled graduate. The focus of a MKTP is specifically on increasing effectiveness and improving results through better management practices.

These have the same funding deadlines as KTPs – click here for full details.


BactiVac Catalyst Training Awards

The call for applications is an open call, you can apply at any time. This scheme will be run up to August 2021.

Catalyst funding is available to support training opportunities and exchanges, prioritising those involving LMIC members and academic/industrial partners, for the transfer of knowledge and skills in bacterial vaccinology. Up to £6,000 per award is available and each training visit is expected to be up to three months in duration. The aim of this funding scheme will be to support members to train in vaccine research & development (R&D), targeting the main preclinical to clinical area of focus for BactiVac.

Click here to find out more.


Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) programme

Funding programme for career researchers with an interest in science entrepreneurship

Deep Science Ventures and the University of Edinburgh have launched the Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) programme to design and launch a contingent of innovative high growth start-ups operating exclusively in the agriculture sector. They are currently recruiting people with specialist domain knowledge who want to co-found agritech companies. No prior IP or “idea” required, but they are definitely looking for potential founders who want to build technology companies around with their larger Agriculture thesis on Restorative Cultivation.

Applications are open on a rolling basis, with decisions normally made in 2 weeks. To find out more, click here.


UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S)

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base. UKI2S works closely with its partners – led by STFC, BBSRC and NERC, which are all part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and Dstl — and is aligned with the Catapults and Innovate UK to create the best environment for innovation to flourish and in turn, boost the UK’s competitiveness and productivity by commercialising key technological advances in industrial biotech, ag tech, healthcare, medicine, clean energy, materials, artificial intelligence, software and space. Foodtech is also within scope.

Click here to find out more.


HSBC SME Loan Fund

HSBC UK has announced a £12 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced minimum pot of £300 million to support the UK’s agriculture businesses. It also includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply.

Click here to find out more.


Horizon 2020 Calls

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s multi-billion research and innovation funding scheme running from 2014 to 2020. The UK government has issued some documents to clarify the UK’s eligibility to participate in Horizon 2020 if there is no Brexit deal.

KTN has a range of training videos for UK companies in how to write a successful project proposal for European funding.

UK businesses benefitting from Horizon 2020 research funding are urged to register their details with the government so they can continue to receive funding if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Forthcoming and currently open calls include:

Horizon 2020: EIC Accelerator (formerly known as SME Instrument) – The SME Instrument supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and bring to market new products, services and business models that could drive economic growth. UK companies can apply until 31st December 2020, and project funding can continue after the transition period. Click here to find out more.

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