UK-Canada: enhancing agricultural productivity & sustainability

Key Features

UK businesses with Canadian business partners can apply for a share of up to £2 million, from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, for innovative projects that enhance productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £2 million

Opens: 27th Jan 2020

Closes: 24th Jun 2020

! This scheme is now closed


The UK and Canada are running a joint funding competition to support collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects, to develop new products, processes and services.

Projects must target improvement to the productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems.

Innovate UK want applicants to deliver integrated precision approaches and data driven solutions to support the transition to a net zero-emission industry by 2040.


Innovate UK want to support a portfolio of projects across the breadth of the agriculture sector, including projects that focus on crop, livestock and aquaculture production systems that:

  • combine digital technologies, artificial intelligence, the application of big data and engineering solutions with biological, environmental or social science to drive productivity
  • develop technologies and solutions that connect farms and supply chains
  • transfer technology from another sector into agriculture, providing this requires innovation

The role of UK and Canadian participants in supported projects must align with the UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s ‘transforming food production’ objectives to provide transformations in their respective countries:

  1. Create integrated data-driven solutions to drive primary agricultural productivity whilst transitioning towards net zero agriculture emissions by 2040.
  2. Embed adoption of precision approaches to bridge the productivity gap, strengthening connections between researchers, businesses and practitioners
  3. Stimulate the establishment of novel high value production systems to position UK technologies at the forefront of new industries.
  4. Drive growth UK precision technology companies, creating high value jobs and adding value in the global agricultural value chain.
  5. Develop export opportunities and increase investment into UK research and innovation.

Projects are encouraged to:

  • bring new businesses and technologies into the UK and Canadian precision agriculture sector
  • include farmer or grower involvement or endorsement

Book a 30-minute consultation

Our team are available to discuss your innovative business, your project ideas and how we can help you to write a successful application for this Grant Funding opportunity.

Use the calendar to select and book a consultation with one of our experts, at a time that’s convenient for you.


Your organisation cannot work alone. The project consortium must contain at least:

  • one UK registered business of any size and
  • one registered Canadian SME (500 or fewer employees)

Academic institutions or research and technology organisations (RTOs) may participate in the project but cannot be awarded funding through this competition. They may, however, act as a sub-contractor to a funded project partner.

The role of each project partner must be detailed in a collaboration/consortium agreement included as part of the project application.

  • At least one business from each country (UK and Canada) in a project must receive funding.
  • The majority of work undertaken by each partner should occur in their home country.
  • No one country and/or organisation can represent more than 75% of the total project cost.
  • Applications must demonstrate a clear intention to exploit the results of the project commercially.

Funding Costs

There is up to £2 million allocated to fund UK business involvement in innovation projects in this competition. The combined total funding sought (grant available) for all UK partners can be a maximum of £400,000 per application and must provide a full cost breakdown in the Innovation Funding Service.

If your total funding sought is over £400,000 your project will be deemed ineligible and not be sent for assessment.

Organisations that are primarily engaged in commercial or economic activity (known as selective advantage) as part of the project must ensure their request for funding does not exceed the limits defined below.

Industrial research projects, UK businesses could get funding for eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

Experimental development projects which are nearer to market, UK businesses could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

NRC IRAP will provide a maximum contribution of up to $700,000 CAD to be shared between the Canadian partners involved in the project. Canadian SMEs may receive up to 50% reimbursement of eligible project costs.

Projects must start by 1 November 2020 and end by 31 March 2023. They can last between 24 and 29 months.


Projects that focus on the following, will not be funded:

  • forestry
  • non-food crops
  • wild capture fisheries
  • amenity or ornamental horticulture
  • equine
  • integrating cannabis products into the food chain