Agricultural Innovation Opportunity

Posted by LindaStenner on August 23, 2021

Agricultural Innovation Opportunity

August 23, 2021 at 3:33 PM

In October 2021, Defra will launch the first competitions of their new Industry-led R&D Partnerships fund. This is the first of three different funds to launch in Defra’s new Farming Innovation Programme.

Through this fund, they want to encourage groups of farmers, growers, businesses and researchers to get involved in collaborative research and development. They believe that by working together, they will be able to solve challenges and exploit opportunities for increasing productivity and environmental sustainability in the agricultural and horticultural sectors in England.

The Farming Innovation Programme will also support knowledge exchange between farmers, growers, businesses, and researchers. This will enable the results and learnings from the projects to be shared widely and will still benefit those who cannot directly take part in the competitions.

What funding is available?

There will be four types of competitions within the Industry-led R&D Partnerships fund, which are designed to encourage applications from a wide range of groups, sectors and regions. Each competition will offer different scales of funding. Project teams will be able to apply for grants towards the total project costs, while providing some of their own match funding. Competitions are summarised in the table below.

Competition Name


Length & funding

Outline of aims

Research Starter Projects

Launching October 2021

Projects up to 12 months 

Total project costs between £28k - £56k

To help farmers and growers with bold, ambitious early-stage ideas develop them further and build a collaborative team – for those who haven’t previously received Innovate UK funding

Feasibility Projects

Launching October 2021

Projects up to 2 years

Total projects costs of between £200k - £500k

To test the feasibility of early-stage solutions and to inform decisions on subsequent larger scale R&D projects

Small R&D Partnership Projects

Launching October 2021

Projects up to 3 years

Total project costs of between £1m - £3m

To carry out R&D for innovative solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of the sector

Large R&D Partnership Projects

Launching early 2022

Projects up to 4 years 

Total projects costs of between £3m - £5m

Larger-scale R&D and demonstration of solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of the sector


Who can apply for funding?

You could be a farmer or grower with an exciting idea that will benefit England's farming sector, or for larger projects, a group of agri-businesses wanting to collaborate with other businesses, researchers and end-users to develop and commercialise your innovative product.

When do the competitions open and how long will they be open for?

The competitions will open to applicants in early October, and Defra will be sharing lots more information in the early autumn. This will include briefing events, detailed guidance on eligibility requirements and how to apply, and support to form partnerships with other applicants.

The competitions will be open to applications for 6-7 weeks, with different closing dates for each competition. But the Farming Innovation Programme is a long-term funding programme, and we will be launching lots more new and exciting competitions for ambitious R&D on a regular basis over the coming years.

For further advice please feel free to contact Kathryn Williams at Davis Meade Property Consultants Ltd.



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