open now Opened: 23 May 2022 | Closes: 06 July 2022
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will work with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to invest up to £1million in innovation projects.
The funding for this competition is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.
This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition. If your application is successful, you will be invited to apply to a full stage competition.
This two stage competition is designed to make funding accessible to a wider range of applicants. Applicants that are successful in the EoI stage will be able to access independent support to help them complete the full application stage. The full stage will open in August 2022.
The aim of this competition is to:
- investigate early-stage solutions with the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability, resilience and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
- prioritise solutions that have positive outputs for farmers, growers or foresters in commercially relevant situations
- accelerate development of effective new agricultural solutions by working with end-users and collaborating with the wider UK research community in the innovation process
Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
Project cost details are not required at the EoI stage. At the full application stage your total project costs must be between £28,000 and £56,000.
Who can apply
If your application is successful in this EoI stage, you will be invited to apply for a full stage competition. In the full stage you must collaborate with other eligible partners.
Your full stage project must:
- have total project costs between £28,000 and £56,000
- start by 1 April 2023
- end by 31 March 2024
- last up to 12 months
- 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 requested by farmers, growers or foresters, allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England
If you are successful at the full stage, 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.
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 an active farming, growing or forestry business of any size based in England
- be able to evidence that you are an established business, including sole traders and partnerships
- have a UK bank account
- not have been awarded Innovate UK funding as a project lead within the last 5 years before 6 July 2022
To collaborate with the lead at the full stage, your organisation must be a UK registered organisation or a farmer, grower or forester based in the UK.
Number of applications
A business can only lead on one EoI application.
You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.
At the full application stage, Innovate UK will not award you funding if you:
- are leading this project and have been awarded Innovate UK funding as a project lead within the last 5 years before 6 July 2022
- have failed to exploit a previously funded project
have an overdue independent accountant’s report
have failed to comply with grant terms and conditions
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 full 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 make sure at all times 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, they will tell you as soon as possible.
The competition aims to provide an entry point for farmers, growers or foresters that have bold, ambitious, early-stage ideas solving major problems that impact their business. This may help them exploit new significant opportunities for their business and industry sub-sector.
The outputs of this competition will ideally provide applicants with the knowledge and information needed to aid them in applying for a larger funding grant.
The scope of the competition is feasibility studies investigating new solutions to industry identified challenges, or opportunities for farmers, growers or foresters that have the potential to significantly improve:
- sustainability and environmental impact
- progression towards net zero emissions
Projects must focus on developing on-farm or immediate post farmgate solutions.
Your project must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or forestry in England.
Innovate UK wants to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, industry sectors, technological maturities and business size.
Your project must address a significant industry challenge or opportunity in at least one of the four industry subsectors:
- novel food production systems
- bioeconomy and agroforestry
Projects that will not be funded
Innovate UK will not funding projects that:
- are equine specific
- involve wild caught fisheries
- are cellular or acellular production systems, fermentation systems for bacteria, yeast or fungi
- are for the production of cannabis for medicinal or pharmaceutical use
- are aquaculture, including algae and seaweed, for human consumption
- do not benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England
- are dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
- are dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product