£5 million available for innovative food production projects

SMEs can apply for a share of £5 million in grant support to transform food production towards net zero. The grant funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The project must also align with a Series A investment, which you can read more about here.


In short, you must develop precision technologies and data-driven solutions that make a significant step towards realising net zero food production systems by 2040. Additionally, you must demonstrate how your project meets the overall aims of the ISCF Transforming Food Production Challenge, which are to:

  • help food production systems achieve net zero emissions by 2040
  • help produce food in ways that are more efficient, resilient and sustainable
  • speed up the development and use of integrated precision approaches to improve productivity in agricultural systems.

Funding is only available for experimental development projects. They must focus on one or more of the following themes:

  • the development of precision solutions and systems that will make a significant step towards net zero emissions for food production
  • improving productivity of the agricultural sector
  • stimulating the establishment of novel high value production systems
  • developing export opportunities
  • Please also note that projects involving equine, amenity horticulture, wild-caught fisheries or non-food crops are ineligible.

Your project must have total eligible costs of between £1 million and £3 million. It should last 18 months, starting by 1st October 2021 and ending by 31st March 2023. To secure grant funding, you must also secure an investment of at least twice the amount of grant through one of the lead investors associated with this programme. However, you can submit your application before speaking to an investor.

This competition is open to single applicants only. To apply your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out its project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from/in the UK
  • be prepared to negotiate head of terms for an aligned series A investment.

The ISCF Transforming Food Production Challenge opens on 2nd November and closes on 13th January. To find out more, please visit Innovate UK. Alternatively, you can contact us if you have any further questions.

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