Farming Innovation Programme: Large R&D partnerships Round 3

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7.8 million for large R&D partnership projects, from the industry-led R&D Partnerships Fund, a part of the Farming Innovation Programme.

Programme:     Defra

Award:     Share of up to £7.8 million

Opens: 15th Jan 2024

Closes: 13th Mar 2024

! This scheme is closing soon

Overview

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will invest up to £7.8 million in innovation projects.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, which is a partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge and delivered by Innovate UK.

Scope

The aim of this competition is to fund industrial research and experimental development projects that will address major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities.

Your solutions or project outputs must significantly improve:

  • productivity
  • sustainability and environmental impact of farming
  • progression towards net zero emissions​
  • resilience

Businesses within a supply chain, are encouraged to come together as a partnership to solve major challenges or opportunities.

Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will:

  • benefit farmers, growers, or foresters in England through commercially relevant solutions
  • actively work with end users across the whole supply chain to identify the major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities
  • accelerate the development and demonstration of new agricultural solutions through collaboration with the wider UK research community
  • build understanding of how your approach can best achieve widespread use, developing a theory of change, working with economists, social scientists, and other relevant experts
  • have scalable solutions that can be taken up widely, be integrated into existing production systems, and have widespread impact
  • demonstrate how the project will support a transformative change in the agricultural sector
  • develop and deliver a knowledge exchange (KE) plan that identifies the targets for the solution with a clear dissemination plan to relevant stakeholders and the wider sector
  • exploit the outputs of the project, and expected outcomes in terms of solution adoption, for example, number of end users, area of land, and percentage of production using the new solution

Portfolio approach
Defra want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities, research categories, strand, theme sector categories and business sizes.

Specific Themes

Your project must address a significant industry challenge or opportunity in at least one of the industry subsectors below:

  • livestock
  • plants
  • novel food production systems
  • bioeconomy and agroforestry

Eligibility

If your application is 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 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

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £3 million and £5 million
  • start by 1 October 2024
  • end by 30 September 2028
  • last up to 48 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in England

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.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • involve at least one grant claiming academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not-for-profit or public sector organisation

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

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

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 IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs 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

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

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

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in two further applications.

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

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.

Exclusions

Defra are not funding projects that are:

  • 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 crops or plants for medicinal or pharmaceutical use
  • do not benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England

Defra 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

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has allocated up to £7.8 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, which is a partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge and delivered by Innovate UK. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

For this competition a minimum of 50% of any grant that is requested by farmers, growers or foresters in your application, must be allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England.

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.

For industrial research projects, 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

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could 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 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

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.