UKRI and Defra open two new collaborative R&D competitions

A cloud of dust expands behind a tractor ploughing a field.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Defra open two new collaborative research and development (R&D) competitions, with over £20 million in funding available.

In partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), UKRI will be opening the latest two competitions from the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) on 30 March.

The two competitions will offer a combined investment of more than £20 million. They will continue the FIP’s aims to fund innovative projects that support farmers, growers and foresters with tackling issues of:

  • sustainability
  • productivity
  • resilience.

A focus on R&D

Defra’s FIP competitions, which will be delivered by UKRI, are part of their wider commitment to R&D that can demonstrate benefits to the food production sector in the UK. It can also reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and horticulture.

FIP funding focuses on R&D that brings real world benefits, and the use of scientific solutions for the challenges facing the farming sector. It will provide valuable support to innovative new ideas.

Find out more about the FIP and Defra’s own recent announcement of the competition opportunities being launched.

Competition one: large R&D partnership projects

A total funding grant of £8 million is available for this competition.

The aim is to find projects that will drive improvements in productivity, profitability and sustainability across the sector. As well as mitigating emissions and helping the sector adapt to the effects of climate change.

The competition will also focus on collaboration, bringing together businesses, researchers, farmers and growers to accelerate the:

  • research
  • development
  • demonstration
  • adoption of new solutions.

Projects can last up to 48 months and must be a collaboration either in industrial research or experimental development that can demonstrate benefits to farmers, growers or foresters in England.

Applicants will need to identify how the project will support transformational change and achieve greater scale.

Whilst also working closely with end users across the supply chain to ensure on-farm and post farmgate challenges and opportunities remain at the heart of the project.

Competition two: farming futures R&D fund, climate smart funding, expression of interest (EOI)

The aims of this second competition are to help develop a climate resilient food production industry. This focuses on reducing emissions as the sector moves towards net zero and helping the sector adapt to a changing climate.

Farming Futures will also look to build diverse consortiums and collaborations of innovative businesses and research expertise. These can help drive impact and wider uptake of new solutions with a demonstrable societal impact.

This competition is at the first of two stages:

  • where EOI are requested that outline the challenge being tackled
  • where the focus of innovation lies
  • how this aligns with the overarching FIP goals
  • how the collaborating partners will work together.

The second stage, by invitation only following stage one, will see projects able to apply for part of the total funding grant available of £12.5 million.

To receive this successful invitation, applicants will have had to create a solution that ties into the core aims of the competition.

Further details on the two competitions

If you are interested in applying or becoming part of a collaborative project, more information on the details and eligibility for the two competitions can be found at:

Competition webinars

In addition, Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network will be running the following competition webinars.

These will be for both the large R&D partnership projects and Farming Futures R&D Fund opportunities to help those interested in applying for these funding rounds:

Top image:  Credit: allou, iStock via Getty Images

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