UK Announces Fresh Funding For Two New Agriculture Research, Feasibility Competitions

Must Read

News in brief: UK DEFRA has allocated over €14m in funding to encourage collaboration among farmers and growers in addressing sustainability and net zero challenges through two agriculture research and feasibility competitions. The funding is part of the government’s Farming Innovation Programme, aiming to drive agricultural innovation and productivity in the industry.

The UK Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced fresh funding to encourage farmer-grower collaboration in solving sustainability, efficiency and net zero challenges.

DEFRA disclosed that it will commit more than €14m towards two new research and feasibility competitions as part of the government’s Farming Innovation Programme. The breakdown of the funding shows an almost €10m commitment via a third round of the Small R&D Partnerships competition and another €4.5m goes to a Feasibility Studies competition.

The funding is developed in tandem with the Transforming Food Production Challenge, and delivered by Innovate UK. It is in line with the UK government’s commitment of €600m towards agricultural innovation over three years.

The ministry’s past competitions have been to support schemes to harness automation in improving soft fruit harvests. They have also helped in rolling out asparagus-harvesting robots and the use of ultraviolet as a disinfectant in the dairy and poultry sectors.

Its other recent funding have explored how to breed sheep with a naturally low carbon footprint. It has also funded a project to harness renewable electricity generation to power automated picking, sensor, and vehicle technologies.

Since October, 2021, 16 competitions have so far been launched under the government’s €270m Farming Innovation Programme. An additional €123m in funding for research and development in agriculture and horticulture has also been pledged.

Applications will open from 14 August for the Small R&D competition and the Feasibility Studies competition window will be open on 18 September 2023.

The UK farming minster, Mark Spencer, said a strong partnership between farmers and growers would help move innovative ideas from planning into practice and it will include research and industry partnerships. He further disclosed that the successes of the previous competition rounds show the range of possibilities available for driving up productivity while solving some of the industry’s biggest challenges.

Executive director for the Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, Dr. Katrina Hayter, also lauded the project. She stated that the body looks forward to supporting the next round of applicants and identifying promising partnerships.

These partnerships, she adds, hold the potential to address the sustainability, efficiency and net zero challenges confronting the UK’s agri-food industry.

Feasibility studies mark the initial stage in researching an idea that could improve farming. On the other hand, small R&D partnerships are a vital step to empowering businesses to forge novel farming products and services, paving the way towards successful commercialisation.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Articles Like This

Latest News

Belarus To Strengthen Agricultural, Educational Partnership With Nigeria

News in Brief: - Belarus seeks to strengthen its partnership with Nigeria in agriculture, food processing, industry, and education sectors. -...


  • Gain full access to our premium content
  • Never miss a story with active notifications
  • Browse free from up to 5 devices at once