Merger of Agri-Tech Centres paves way for future ambitions

Innovate UK is working with its three Agri-Tech Centres to create a new integrated capability.

The three Agri-Tech Centres are Crop Health and Protection, Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock and Agricultural Engineering, Precision and Innovation Centre.

This new single entity will facilitate a stronger cross-sectoral approach and drive better outcomes for the agri-tech sector across innovation, commercialisation, and adoption, as well as research. Together they are being invited to develop a proposal to establish an agri-tech Catapult, to complement the work of the existing nine Catapults.

Established by Innovate UK, Catapults are world leading technology and innovation centres spanning over 50 locations across the UK, transforming the UK’s capability for innovation in sectors of strength.

As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK will offer additional support to UK businesses in the agri-tech sector, aligning with a key strategic priority in its healthy living and agriculture domain.

Driving the next wave of investments

The Minister of State for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman MP, said:

With global population set to hit 9 billion within the next 25 years, scientists have been clear that we need to double global food production using the same land with half as much energy and water. That is the challenge driving global demand for agri-tech – the technologies that allow us to produce more with less.

From drought and disease resistant crops to precision farming, robotics and the shift to biological pest control instead of agrochemicals, the fast-growing agri-tech sector is attracting billions worldwide. The UK has long been a scientific leader in academic agricultural research but for 40 years we have not commercialised it effectively.

Having launched our first Agri-Tech Industrial Strategy in 2013, I’m delighted to be back driving the next wave of investment with much clearer frameworks, and an offer for global investors to back UK agri-tech.

A transformational impact

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK said:

As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK supports innovative businesses on their growth journeys. Our plans to merge these centres and work with them to develop a proposal for a new Agri-tech Catapult will have a transformational impact on the UK, creating an excellent environment to start and grow innovative agri-tech businesses. This is and will be an important area for Innovate UK’s work.

Accelerating innovation

Peter Quinn, Chair of Crop Health and Protection said:

The formation of the new single organisation will build on the three Agri-Tech Centres’ strong foundations to create an innovation ecosystem that will strengthen connections and accelerate innovation to develop scientifically robust, commercially viable and sustainable solutions that will benefit business, people and the environment.

Top image:  Credit: Agri-Tech Centres

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.