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Agri-tech catalyst round 9: agriculture and food systems innovation, mid stage

Registration is closed
Funding details
Registration opens
14 Oct 2019, 00:00
Registration closes
08 Jan 2020, 00:00
08 Jan 2020, 00:00
For mid stage industrial research, your total eligible project costs must be between £250,000 and £1 million. Up to 70% of costs can be covered, depending on business size.
Department for International Development (DFID) and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

Up to £5 million of funding is available from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This is for projects working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with partners in eligible African countries.

We are running 3 strands to this competition at the same time:

  • Early stage feasibility studies
  • Mid stage industrial research (this competition)
  • Late stage experimental development

It is your responsibility to make sure you are applying for the correct strand.

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of innovation in the development of agricultural and food systems in Africa. Your project must result in more use of innovations by farmers and food systems organisations such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors and wholesalers.

For mid stage industrial research, your total eligible project costs must be between £250,000 and £1 million. Projects must start by 1 July 2020 and last up to 3 years.

All projects must:

  • include a UK registered administrative lead (must be a UK business, of any size)
  • include a technical lead from any country (can be the same as the admin lead)
  • include at least one business from the UK
  • be collaborative
  • include at least one business from an eligible African country from the list below
  • implement significant activity in the eligible African country

Eligible African countries are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

For mid stage industrial research projects, you could get funding for your 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

Your proposal must show the potential to have a positive impact on poverty through the uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation.

You can choose from one or more of the following areas:

  • primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture
  • non-food uses of crops, excluding ornamentals
  • challenges in food processing, distribution or storage, and value addition (such as through a change in the physical state or form of the product)
  • improving the availability and accessibility of safe, healthy and nutritious foods

Your project’s innovations must:

  • be sustainable in the context of environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity
  • minimise negative effects such as pollution, food loss and waste
  • promote safe, healthy and nutritious diets

Your project and its outcomes must fit within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) criteria.

Your application must demonstrate how the primary benefit from your project will be a contribution to international development outcomes, specifically: enhanced food and nutrition security, and
welfare of the poor in urban and rural areas in developing countries

Activities carried out in the UK must clearly deliver impact in an eligible African country. Any benefits to the UK must be secondary in nature and result from delivering the primary benefit. Your proposal must clearly demonstrate the ways it will have an impact in the country.

If your project will support crop breeding it must have clear potential for impact at scale, in more than one eligible African country.

Gender analysis and data disaggregation

Men and women experience poverty differently and face different obstacles to moving out of poverty. A significant gender gap in agriculture means women have unequal access to and control over productive assets and income. This is despite contributing a significant share of agricultural labour.

If your project is not sensitive to how this affects agricultural productivity, marketing and processing, the impact will be limited and potentially exacerbate gender inequalities. You should not assume that the household is a unit in which everything is pooled and shared and in which one person makes decisions on behalf of all household members.

Your proposal should recognise that to promote gender equality and empower girls and women is not only a goal in its own right. It is often a means to improving agricultural productivity or achieving food and nutrition security.

You must include an analysis of the gender factors affecting the innovation. For example, you may find it is inappropriate to refer to ‘farmers’ without indicating whether you are referring to male farmers, female farmers, or both. Consider whether you need to include expertise on gender and social analysis within your project.

You must separate data about other variables, where relevant, such as ethnicity, age, disability and spatial geography.

Animal welfare

You must make sure that all your proposed research, both in the UK and internationally, complies with the principles of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) and other UK funders’ common guidance on Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research.

We will not fund projects likely to directly compromise farm animal welfare outcomes. Projects likely to benefit animal welfare will be viewed favourably.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • integrating smallholders into global and local supply chains
  • increasing the value of production to smallholders
  • control of crop pests, weeds and diseases
  • meeting quality standards and improving productivity
  • reducing food losses ‘post-farm gate’ and through the value chain
  • addressing food safety issues through the value chain
  • new food technologies and data-driven food systems, including for urban areas
  • addressing challenges in downstream food processing, distribution, or storage and value addition
  • innovation that supports food systems to deliver nutritious, healthy and safe food

We are not funding:

  • forestry or ornamentals
  • wild-capture fisheries
  • equine
  • crops for energy production

An online briefing event for the competition as a whole will be held on 30th October, starting at 12 noon London time: click here to register.

Further online briefings for specific sectors will follow on 6th November:

Online briefing event: crops (10am-11.30am) – register here

Online briefing event: livestock and aquaculture (12.30pm-2pm) – register here

Online briefing event: food systems and nutrition (2.30pm-4pm) – register here

KTN has set up a LinkedIn group to facilitate partnering activities. You can join the group here.
Please contact a member of the KTN Agri-Food team on if you would like to discuss a potential application or need help finding project partners.

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