Farming Innovation Pathways (FIP) – Industrial Research

Key Features

UK registered businesses and research organisations can apply for a share of up to £7 million for industrial research to address the farming challenges of productivity, sustainability, and net zero emissions.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £7 million

Opens: 1st Mar 2021

Closes: 28th Apr 2021

! This scheme is now closed


The aim of this competition is to support the development of novel innovations to develop and support a productive, resilient, and sustainable agricultural sector. This funding is from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).


The aim of the Farming Innovation Pathways (FIP) competition is to develop and support a productive, resilient, and sustainable agricultural sector. Novel solutions are needed to produce healthy food for consumption, where farms can be profitable and economically sustainable without subsidy.

Projects can be based anywhere in the UK but must be able to clearly demonstrate potential benefits to the English farming sector.

Your project must engage with farmers, growers or producers to develop farm-focused solutions. These solutions must solve the short to long-term challenges of productivity, sustainability and net zero emissions.

To meet these challenges, your project must focus on innovative solutions that can be integrated into the sector with the potential to be taken up and widely adopted

Your project must address at least one of these four industry sub-sectors:

  • Livestock.
  • Plant.
  • Novel food production systems.
  • Bioeconomy and agroforestry.

Your project must focus on one or more of the high priority areas listed below.

Livestock (for example: beef, dairy, sheep, pigs, poultry):

  • improving resource use efficiency, particularly feed efficiency
  • advances in breeding and genetic improvement
  • improving animal health and welfare
  • improved data capture, management and decision support
  • intelligent housing solutions
  • manure and slurry management

Plant (for example: arable, horticulture, vegetable production):

  • reducing reliance on fossil fuels and agrochemical inputs
  • improving resource use efficiency, particularly fertiliser
  • improving soil health
  • improving sustainability of growth substrates (horticulture)
  • diversification of rotations with novel crops
  • advances in breeding and genetic improvement
  • improving the quality, nutritional characteristics and life of arable and horticultural produce
  • increasing automation for crop husbandry and harvesting

Novel food production systems:

  • insect production for feed
  • controlled environment agriculture

Bioeconomy and agroforestry:

  • developing opportunities for UK farmers, growers and foresters in the Bioeconomy (primary focus must be on food or feed production)
  • integrating biomass and agroforestry into traditional farmed systems and land-use practice, improving sustainability, productivity and income diversification

Integrated approaches:

  • Innovate UK are also encouraging applicants with proposals which are developing or improving integrated plant and livestock systems


This competition will not give subsidies to projects:

  • that are equine-specific
  • for amenity and ornamental horticulture
  • for wild caught fisheries
  • that do not primarily benefit farming in England
  • that are dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • that are dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product


Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £250,000 and £750,000
  • start by 1 October 2021
  • last up from 18 to 24 months

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations or RTOs
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, charity, public sector organisation, academic institution, research organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Funding Costs

Up to £7 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this industrial research competition.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industrial research 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 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.