New Innovators in agri-tech and food technology, Eastern England

Key Features

UK registered micro and small businesses can apply for a share of up to £4.5 million for projects that grow their innovation activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Eastern England.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £4.5 million

Opens: 7th May 2024

Closes: 19th Jun 2024


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

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 aim of this competition is to provide a package of targeted support to enable ambitious UK registered micro and small businesses to develop highly innovative ideas that have a clear route to commercialisation and business growth.

Your project must use the funding to help to grow your innovation activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Eastern England, both during and after the project.

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

Your innovation can lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available, or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across different durations, locations and themes. 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:

  • significantly advance innovation (the idea)
  • have more innovation activity taking place within 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

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £25,000 and £50,000
  • have total project costs that equal your grant funding request
  • last between three and six months in duration
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • help to grow your innovation activities during and after the project in the innovation cluster described in the Scope section
  • start between 1 October 2024 and 1 January 2025
  • end by 31 March 2025

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. If your total project costs exceed £50,000 you will be ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment. If your grant funding request does not equal your total project costs you will be ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

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.

You will be made ineligible if you exceed the Minimal Financial Assistance limit. You must submit a complete declaration as part of your application.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered micro or small business.

If your business has been funded directly by Innovate UK previously, you are not eligible to be offered funding through this competition.

If you have only received funding directly from Innovate UK Business Growth (previously named Innovate UK EDGE) or a Catapult scheme, you are eligible to apply for this competition.

Businesses with directors who have previously received a grant or Innovation Loan from Innovate UK as part of a different company, are eligible to apply but will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A business with a previous award to a parent or subsidiary would also be eligible to apply, but the parent company must be classified as a micro or small business. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are unsure, contact our customer support team by email at least 10 working days before the submission deadline.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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

Innovate UK expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Number of applications

An eligible UK business can submit one application only. Any subsequent applications submitted with the same project lead will be ineligible and will not be forwarded for assessment. This limit extends to current owners, directors and persons of significant interest, prohibiting them from leading multiple submissions through different entities.

If you apply to this New Innovators strand of this competition, as well as the 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.

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 apreviously submitted application to apply for this competition.

You can make a maximum of two submissions to Innovate UK with any given proposal. If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be counted towards this maximum.

If your application goes through to assessment and is unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more.

Innovate UK will not award you funding if your business has:


Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet the competition eligibility or scope requirements
  • purely result in reports, academic papers or similar
  • do not evidence value for money
  • are aimed solely at equine markets
  • involve wild caught fisheries

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that:

  • involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • involve primary production in agriculture
  • have activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • are not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • are not eligible to receive Minimal Financial Assistance
  • are dependent on export performance, for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 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.

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

Each eligible business can apply for grant funding of between £25,000 and £50,000.

Your total project costs will be 100% funded. Your grant funding request must match your total project costs. If your grant funding request is not 100% of your total project costs then your application will be made ineligible.

Your total project costs detailed within your application must not exceed the maximum of £50,000. If your total project costs are below the minimum of £25,000 or exceed the maximum of £50,000 then your application will be made ineligible.

Innovate UK will aim to pay:

  • 70% of your grant request within a month of your agreed project start date
  • a further 20% in arrears, after approval of your 70% claim and the evidence of spend made, submitted with your claim
  • the remaining 10% of the grant 10 to 14 days after Innovate UK approve your final claim