Agri-tech and food technology, Eastern England – round 2 CR&D

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4.5 million for business led projects that grow their innovation activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Eastern England. This funding is from Innovate UK.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £4.5 million

Opens: 7th May 2024

Closes: 19th Jun 2024


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, Greater Lincolnshire LEP and the Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to invest up to £4.5 million in innovation projects.

This funding is from Innovate UK’s Launchpad programme. The Launchpad programme supports the UK government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper.

The funding will support projects across two Launchpad competition strands that target the innovation cluster in Eastern England.

The businesses will use the funding to grow their innovation activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Eastern England, both during and after the project.


The aim of this competition is to support outstanding innovation projects led by businesses. Your business must be growing innovation activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Eastern England.

For this competition, Eastern England consists of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership area, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The geographical requirement is set to align this competition to the UK government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Your project must contribute to growing your innovation activities in the cluster, both during and after the project.

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories. Innovate UK call this a portfolio approach.

In support of the UK government’s Levelling Up goals, we reserve the right to prioritise projects that:

  • are shorter in duration
  • have more innovation activity taking place in the innovation cluster or outside of the Greater South East
  • achieve a balance between the specific themes for this competition

Specific Themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • enhancing the productivity of primary crops, livestock, aquaculture or ornamental crops
  • biotechnologies related to agriculture, aquaculture, food processing and nutrition
  • food that promotes safe, lower carbon or more sustainable healthy and nutritious diets
  • resource efficient production and processing methods for low emission foods

This list is not exhaustive. Where you can show your proposal fits within the scope of this competition you can focus on other themes.


Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request of between £150,000 and £300,000
  • last between 6 and 18 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • start between 1 November 2024 and 1 April 2025
  • end by 30 September 2026

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

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 or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be growing your innovation activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Eastern England
  • have a demonstrable ambition for business growth

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in the IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs and completing their Project Impact questions in the application.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

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.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one CR&D application but can be included as a collaborator in any number of applications. Any subsequent applications submitted with the same project lead will be ineligible and will not be forwarded for assessment.

If an organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

If you apply to the New Innovators strand of this competition, as well as this CR&D strand, each project must be clearly distinctive and separate. We will monitor closely for this separation if you are awarded funding in both competition strands.

Use of animals in research and innovation

Innovate UK expects and supports the provision and safeguarding of welfare standards for animals used in research and innovation, according to best practice and up to date guidance.

Applicants must ensure that all of the proposed work within projects, both that in the UK and internationally, will comply with the UKRI guidance on the use of animals in research and innovation.

Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet the competition eligibility or scope requirements
  • are aimed solely at equine markets
  • involve wild caught fisheries
  • involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture, or in agriculture; meaning the project must be undertaking research and development, the solution must be for exploitation by the wider business community and the funding cannot be used for capital asset acquisition
  • have activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • do not evidence value for money

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that 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
  • 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

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £4.5 million to fund innovation projects across the two strands in this Launchpad competition for Eastern England.

Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The total funding available for this Launchpad competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the funding allocations between all Launchpad competitions and strands
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

If 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 but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

The balance between your total project costs and the amount of grant awarded must be funded by the organisation receiving the grant.

For industrial research projects, you can 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

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you can get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% 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 30% you can 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

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.