Farming Futures R&D Fund: Sustainable farm-based protein, feasibility studies

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £12.5 million across the two strands of this competition to develop innovative solutions for sustainable farm-based protein production. This funding is from the Farming Futures R&D Fund.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £12.5 million

Opens: 25th Jul 2022

Closes: 21st Sep 2022

Overview

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.

Scope

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:

  • productivity
  • 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

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

Specific Themes

Your project must be in one or more of the four industry subsectors:

  • livestock
  • plants
  • 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.

Exclusions

Innovate UK are 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

Eligibility

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
  • charity
  • 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.

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.

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Funding Costs

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

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