open Opened: 25 July 2022 | Closes: 21 September 2022
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will invest up to £12.5 million in innovation projects.
This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.
Defra and Innovate UK will work in collaboration to deliver a portfolio of projects that meet the objectives of the Farming Innovation Programme to develop innovative solutions that increase the productivity and sustainability of farming. The focus of this competition is sustainable farm-based protein production.
The aim of this funding is to:
- accelerate the development of novel and disruptive technologies, that will transform traditional farm protein production systems into more sustainable models
- support innovation with the potential to grow the sustainable protein industry and create new sources of resource efficient, low emission proteins
- support significant improvements to farming productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience in the sector and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
- accelerate R&D of game changing opportunities by building diverse consortia including the UK agricultural sector and relevant research expertise
- support projects that demonstrate environmental and societal impact, and include clear project deliverables for measuring the sustainability of the solutions and how they are preventing negative impact upon the sector
- encourage dissemination and knowledge exchange to drive impact and wide uptake in the farming sector
Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.
This competition is split into 2 strands:
- Strand 1: Farming Futures R&D Fund: Sustainable farm-based protein, Feasibility studies (this strand)
- Strand 2: Farming Futures R&D Fund: Sustainable farm-based protein, Industrial research
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they are applying to the correct strand for their project.
If you apply to the wrong competition you will be made ineligible and will not be sent for assessment, you cannot transfer your application.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
Your project’s total costs must be between £200,000 and £500,000.
Who can apply
If you are successful, any awards given to primary agricultural producers are subject to the green box exemption under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.
Please see further guidance on green box subsidies here WTO Guidance for support in Agriculture. Applicants receiving this type of support must ensure that there is minimal to no distortion of trade and comply with the requirements of Annex 2 of the Agriculture Agreement.
Your project must:
- have total costs between £200,000 and £500,000
- start by 1 April 2023
- end by 31 March 2025
- last up to 24 months
- be collaborative
- carry out all of its project work in the UK
- intend to exploit the results from or in England
- have a minimum of 50% of any grant that is requested by farmers, growers or foresters, allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England
You must only include eligible project costs in your application.
Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.
To lead a project your organisation must:
- be a UK registered business of any size,
- be a UK registered academic institution,
- be a UK registered research and technology organisation (RTO)
- collaborate with other UK registered organisations
If the lead organisation is an academic institution or an RTO it must collaborate with at least 2 businesses of any size.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK business of any size or a UK registered:
- academic institution
- not for profit
- public sector organisation
- research and technology organisation (RTO)
Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.
The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.
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 project costs.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.
You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.
You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. Innovate UK will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.
Number of applications
A business, can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications across both strands of the competition.
If an organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications across both strands of the competition
Academic institutions and research and technology organisations (RTO), can lead or collaborate on any number of applications across both stands of the competition.
You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.
Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:
Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)
This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. Innovate UK will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.
EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.
If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. Innovate UK is unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.
You must at all times make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.
If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean Innovate UK needs to change the terms of this competition, Innovate UK will tell you as soon as possible.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has allocated up to £12.5 million, working in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Transforming Food Production Challenge, to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.
If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.
For feasibility studies, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:
- up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
- up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
- up to 50% if you are a large organisation
If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.
The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50 % of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.
Of that 50% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:
- 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
- 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation
The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative feasibility studies developing ambitious new solutions for sustainable farm-based protein production in the UK. These must address identified major on-farm or immediate post-farmgate challenges or opportunities in agricultural and horticultural practices.
Your project must seek to significantly improve:
- sustainability and environmental impact of farming
- progression towards net zero emissions
- longer term resilience
Your proposal must:
- demonstrate environmental benefits and societal impact
- include clear project deliverables for measuring the sustainability of the solutions, and how they are preventing negative impact upon the sector
- be able to demonstrate how the solution and output will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England
- ensure your solutions are closely aligned with industry priorities to deliver business-orientated and transformative opportunities
- consider how it will encourage dissemination and knowledge exchange to the wider sector
Portfolio approachInnovate UK wants to fund a variety of projects across both strands of the competition, different technologies, markets, technological maturities, and research categories. Innovate UK calls this a portfolio approach.
Your project must be in one or more of the four industry subsectors:
- novel animal feed production systems (such as algae, seaweed, insects, etc)
- bioeconomy and agroforestry
Your solutions can also support emerging production systems that create new sources of resource efficient, low emission proteins that address longer-term food security for mainstream consumers or animal feed users.
Projects that will not be funded
Innovate UK is not funding projects that:
- are not addressing sustainable protein production
- are equine specific
- involve wild caught fisheries
- involve aquaculture for fish production or human consumption
- involve cellular expression of proteins or cultivated meat
- involve acellular production systems, fermentation systems for bacteria, yeast or fungi for human consumption
- are for the production of cannabis for medicinal or pharmaceutical use
- do not benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England
- are dependent on export performance
- are dependent on domestic inputs usage