Overview

Up to £5 million of funding is available from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This is for projects working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with partners in eligible African countries.

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of innovation in the development of agricultural and food systems in Africa. Your project must result in more use of innovations by farmers and food systems organisations such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors and wholesalers.

There are 3 strands to this competition, running at the same time – early stage feasibility, mid stage industrial research and late stage experimental development.

Scope

Your proposal must show the potential to have a positive impact on poverty through the uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation.

You can choose from one or more of the following areas:

  • 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 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

Your project and its outcomes must fit within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) criteria.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • 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.

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding:

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

Eligibility

All projects must:

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

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 a UK registered business of any size
  • must claim funding through this competition
  • can partner in up to 2 other applications where they are neither the administrative lead nor the technical lead

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 business of any size from any country
  • must claim funding through this competition
  • can also be the administrative lead if a UK organisation

UK businesses can be both the administrative and technical lead.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) can join the consortium as non-grant claiming partners.

Funding Costs

The Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) have allocated up to £5 million to fund innovation projects in the 3 strands of this competition.

For the early stage feasibility studies, 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

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000 for early stage feasibility studies. Projects must start by 1 July 2020 and last between 12 and 18 months.

For 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

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £250,000 and £1 million for mid stage industrial research. Projects must start by 1 July 2020 and last up to 3 years.

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

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £150,000 and £800,000 for late stage experimental development. Projects must start by 1 July 2020 and last up to 18 months.

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