Science and technology into practice: demonstration

Key Features

Apply for between £400,000 and £4 million to demonstrate solutions that can transform food production and help the industry move towards net zero emissions by 2040. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £10 million

Opens: 11th Nov 2019

Closes: 26th Feb 2020

! This scheme is now closed


There is often a lack of connection between those developing new solutions (in research organisations or technology sectors) and end users such as farmers, agronomists, vets and the wider supply chain. This is a significant barrier to the use of new precision agriculture solutions amongst ‘traditional’ farming sectors.

The aim of this competition is to help by ensuring solutions are driven by the needs of end users and the best research and innovation addresses these needs.


Your project must focus on the development of precision, data-driven solutions and systems. These must make a significant step towards net zero emissions and improved resource use efficiency for food production, while also improving productivity of the sector.

Your project must accelerate the adoption of new, integrated solutions and projects. It must also focus on combinations of technologies to improve production systems rather than the demonstration of individual technologies.

Your project must:

  • deliver effective knowledge exchange (KE) and embed the approaches by working with and communicating results to end-users during and at the end of the project
  • develop and deliver a KE plan that identifies the target markets for the technology, expected engagement quality and quantity with the target markets and expected outcomes in terms of technology adoption (such as number of farmers, area of land, percentage of production using the new technology)
  • give responsibility to a specific project partner with suitable infrastructure and proven experience to deliver the KE activities
  • include objectives around building understanding of how your approach can best achieve widespread use, working with economists, social scientists and other relevant experts
  • meet the specific objectives of the Transforming Food Production challenge and particularly objectives 1 and 2

Your project must:

  • outline a set of economic and environmental indicators that will be used to evidence the effectiveness of the systems being demonstrated
  • include resources to provide accurate and independent measurement of the effectiveness of the solutions demonstrated

To enable projects to have the maximum impact possible, Innovate UK will work across projects to co-ordinate:

  • dissemination of outcomes
  • outreach to end users
  • sharing of best practice

You must take part in these co-ordination activities.

You are strongly encouraged to work with one or more existing demonstration platforms, networks or supplier groups, rather than developing new entities in this area.

Your project can focus one or more agricultural sectors, including, but not limited to:

  • arable, such as cereals, field-scale vegetables or potatoes
  • dairy
  • ruminants, such as beef, lamb, goat
  • monogastrics, such as pork, poultry and eggs
  • horticulture, including berries, apples, lettuce and tomatoes but not ornamentals
  • aquaculture


To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector 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
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • enter its costs in the Innovation Funding Service

Your project team must include at least one organisation with proven knowledge exchange and demonstration capability and experience.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

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 eligible project costs.

Funding Costs

Up to £10 million has been allocated to funding innovation projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £400,000 and £4 million.

For exceptional demonstration projects, Innovate UK may consider total eligible costs greater than £4 million. If you are considering this, you must provide justification by email to at least 6 weeks before the competition closes. A decision will then be made whether to approve your request.

Projects must start by 26 August 2020 and end by 31 March 2023. They can last up to 30 months.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs if you are a research organisation
  • 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • 50% if you are a large business

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

  • 80% of full economic costs if you are a research organisation
  • 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • 25% if you are a large business

For demonstration projects the research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.


Innovate UK are not funding:

  • projects relating to non-food products, equine and amenity horticulture
  • projects that only include one solution