Overview

There is often a lack of connection between those developing new solutions (in research organisations or technology sectors) and end users (such as farmers, agronomists, vets and the wider supply chain). This is a significant barrier to the use of new precision agriculture solutions among ‘traditional’ farming sectors.

The aim of this competition is to help by ensuring solutions are driven by the needs of end users and that the best research and innovation addresses their needs.

Scope

Your project must accelerate the development of new, early stage solutions that address industry identified problems, by evaluating their potential in a commercial environment. The objective will be to enable decisions to be made quickly on whether the solution should be developed further and, if so, inform its future development.

Your project must:

  • consider appropriate business models and routes to adoption alongside technical feasibility
  • draw in relevant expertise to enable this (for example economic and social sciences)
  • engage with end users to ensure the development of solutions is informed by their needs
  • focus on the development of precision, data-driven solutions and systems that will make a significant step towards net zero emissions and improved resource use efficiency for food production
  • improve the sector’s productivity
  • meet the specific objectives of the Transforming Food Production challenge and particularly objectives 1 and 2

To enable projects to have the maximum impact possible, Innovate UK will work across projects to co-ordinate:

  • dissemination of outcomes
  • outreach to end users
  • sharing of best practice

Your project can focus one or more agricultural sectors, including, but not limited to:

  • arable, such as cereals, field-scale vegetables or potatoes
  • dairy
  • ruminants, such as beef, lamb, goat
  • monogastrics, such as pork, poultry and eggs
  • horticulture, including berries, apples, lettuce and tomatoes but not ornamentals
  • aquaculture

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding:

  • projects relating to non-food products, equine and amenity horticulture
  • demonstration projects that only include one solution

Eligibility

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size or a research organisation
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Feasibility studies led by a research organisation must collaborate with at least one business.

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • enter its costs in the Innovation Funding Service

You must work with end-users to evaluate the potential of solutions.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Funding Costs

Innovate UK expect to spend up to £5 million funding projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £75,000 and £250,000.

Projects must start by 26 August 2020 and end by 28 February 2022. They can last between 6 and 18 months.

For exceptional feasibility study projects, Innovate UK may consider total eligible costs greater than £250,000. If you are considering this, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 6 weeks before the competition closes. Innovate UK will decide whether to approve your request.

For feasibility studies, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs if you are a research organisation
  • 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • 50% if you are a large business

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.

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