The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will work with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to invest up to £12.5 million 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.

We will work in collaboration to deliver a portfolio of projects that meet the objectives of the Farming Innovation Programme and specific Defra key priorities. These are around reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate.

The aim of this funding is to:

  • develop ambitious solutions that will reduce emissions in existing practices whilst making the sector climate resilient
  • support innovation to transform farming productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience, whilst moving the sector towards net zero
  • prioritise outcomes aligned with Government key priorities to deliver business oriented solutions
  • develop solutions with a demonstrable societal impact, with clear deliverables including measurement of specific emissions reductions, and impacts
  • build diverse consortiums of innovative agricultural and horticultural businesses and relevant research expertise
  • encourage dissemination and knowledge exchange to drive impact and a wide uptake in the farming sector
  • increase the market readiness or maturity of emerging academic solutions

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

This is stage 1 of a 2 stage competition. The whole process will take at least 8 months. Expressions of interest will be assessed by Defra. Applicants who are successful in the EoI stage will be invited to apply to stage 2, which will be independently assessed by Innovate UK.

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

  • address the specific requirements of the Defra key priorities for reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate
  • start by 1 April 2023
  • end by 31 March 2027
  • last between 24 and 48 months
  • have total eligible costs between £3 million and £6 million
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in England
  • have a minimum of 50% of any grant awarded to farmers, growers or foresters, allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England

Eligibility

To lead a project your organisation must be:

If the lead organisation is an academic institution or an RTO it must collaborate with at least 1 UK registered business of any size.

(A business can only lead on one application and can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications. If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications. Academic institutions, research and technology organisations (RTO), can lead and collaborate on any number of applications.)

Scope

The aim of this competition is to fund industrial research studies developing ambitious new solutions reducing farming emissions and adapting to a changing climate. These must address major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities.

Your solutions must address the priority areas identified by Defra for reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate, and significantly improve:

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

You must reflect the societal impact of the proposed solution and include clear deliverables in measuring the specific emissions being addressed. You must demonstrate the impact and ability to manage the solution. Your project must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

Your project must focus on solutions to reduce emissions in existing agricultural practices or enhance resilience to climate change in one or more of the four industry subsectors:

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

A briefing event will be held on Friday 7th April, 10am-2pm: click here to register for a place.

If you would like help to find a partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Agrifood team.