Overview

There is up to £3 million of funding available from the Department for International Development (DFID) for early stage feasibility studies, mid stage industrial research and late stage experimental development. Projects must work on agri-tech and food chain innovations with partners in eligible African countries.

Scope

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of development and scale of uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation in Africa by:

  • farmers
  • other food systems actors such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors and wholesalers

Agriculture and food systems are changing rapidly, which has important consequences for diets. Uptake of new technology and innovation in this area is low in developing countries, particularly Africa.

Your project proposal must show benefits to African country agriculture and food systems in order to contribute to healthy, safe and nutritious diets. It must clearly demonstrate a research or innovation component.

Your project’s innovations must:

  • be sustainable in the context of environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity
  • minimise negative effects such as pollution, food loss and waste
  • promote safe, healthy and nutritious diets

The Agri-tech Catalyst will take innovative ideas from any sector or discipline. Ideas must show the potential to have a positive impact on poverty through the uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation. The scope of the Catalyst includes:

  • primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture
  • non-food uses of crops, excluding ornamentals
  • challenges in food processing, distribution or storage, and value addition (such as through a change in the physical state or form of the product)
  • improving the availability and accessibility of safe, healthy and nutritious foods

Your application must demonstrate how the primary benefit from your project will be a contribution to international development outcomes, specifically:

  • enhanced food and nutrition security and
  • welfare of the poor in urban and rural areas in developing countries

The following are priorities for DFID funding. You could consider focusing on one or more of these themes:

  • integrating smallholders into global and local supply chains
  • increasing the value of production to smallholders
  • control of crop pests, weeds and diseases
  • meeting quality standards and improving productivity
  • reducing food losses ‘post-farm gate’ and through the value chain
  • addressing food safety issues through the value chain
  • new food technologies and data-driven food systems, including for urban areas
  • addressing challenges in downstream food processing, distribution or storage and value addition
  • innovation that supports food systems to deliver nutritious, healthy and safe food

Eligible African Countries

To view a full list of eligible countries to partner with, please click here.

Eligibility

All projects must:

  • be collaborative
  • include a partner from an eligible African country from the list below
  • include a technical lead from any country
  • include a UK-based administrative lead
  • implement significant activity in the eligible African country
  • include at least one business

The administrative lead:

  • will be the recipient of the award
  • will manage and be accountable for the project’s finances in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award
  • must be UK based
  • can be a business of any size, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research organisation for early and mid-stage projects
  • must be a business, of any size, for late stage projects
  • must claim funding through this competition
  • can partner in up to 2 other applications

The technical lead:

  • will lead on the development of the scope, work packages within the project and other work from a technical perspective
  • can be a partner organisation from any country
  • can be a business of any size, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research organisation for early and mid stage projects
  • must be a business, of any size, for late stage projects
  • must claim funding through this competition
  • can also be the administrative lead if a UK organisation

Funding Costs

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between:

  • £100,000 and £500,000 for early stage feasibility studies
  • £250,000 and £1 million for mid stage industrial research
  • £150,000 and £800,000 for late stage experimental development

Projects must start by 1 November 2019.

For early stage feasibility studies and mid stage industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For late stage experimental development projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Early stage feasibility studies must last between 12 and 18 months. Mid stage industrial research can last up to 3 years. Late stage experimental development can last up to 18 months.

Exclusions

They will not fund projects that cover:

  • forestry or ornamentals
  • wild-capture fisheries
  • equine
  • crops for energy production