The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will launch the first of three funds from its Farming Innovation Programme this October. Through the new Industry-led R&D Partnerships fund, they will support collaborative research and development projects that address key challenges facing the agricultural and horticultural sectors. In turn, this will enable them to become more productive and environmentally sustainable.

Defra will deliver the Industry-led R&D Partnerships fund in collaboration with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It will build on the success of UKRI’s £90m Transforming Food Production Challenge, as well as the Farming Innovation Pathways competition they ran together earlier this year.

What funding is available?

Funding is available for projects of up to 12 months with costs between £28k and £56k. Aimed at those who haven’t previously received Innovate UK funding, this strand will help farmers and growers to develop their early-stage ideas further and build a collaborative team.

These projects can last up to two years and should have total costs of between £200k and £500k. Successful applicants will set out to test the feasibility of their early-stage solutions. Then, they will use their results to inform decisions on subsequent larger scale R&D projects.

In this strand, projects should last up to three years and have total project costs of between £1m and £3m. The aim is to carry out R&D for innovative solutions with the potential to significantly improve the productivity, sustainability and resilience of the sector.

  • Large R&D Partnership Projects

A further strand will launch in early 2022. This funding is for larger-scale R&D and demonstration of innovative solutions. It will fund projects that last up to four years and have total costs of between £3m and £5m. Once again, projects must have the potential to significantly improve the productivity, sustainability and resilience of the sector.

More Information

The first Farming Innovation Programme competitions will open to applicants on 20th October 2021. You can find more information here, and follow the latest updates on our blog and social media channels (LinkedIn and Twitter).