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Agri-food funding round-up

Posted on 28/11/2019

Find out about the latest funding calls of relevance to the agriculture and food & drink manufacturing sectors. Updated 28th Jan 2020.

The funding landscape can be complex, so KTN’s Agri-Food team have compiled a list of some of the latest funding calls of relevance for the agriculture and food & drink manufacturing sectors, bringing them together in one place – find out more below.

The team will be happy to help if you wish to find out more about these or other funding opportunities, need help finding collaborative partners, or are seeking advice on how to apply for funding. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Funding to assess emerging technologies against phenotyping tasks

PhenomUK offers grants of £5-25k for preliminary and feasibility studies. This funding is intended to allow recipients to assess emerging technologies against phenotyping tasks and perform initial investigations of promising technology combinations. With the emergence of powerful machine learning approaches, annotated data sets are becoming an increasingly important resource, and it is anticipated that some projects will generate such data sets.

Application deadline: 27 March 2020, 5pm

To find out more, click here.

Future Leaders Fellowships

The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships is a £900 million fund helping to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across UK business and academia. The fund will enable each fellow to tackle ambitious and challenging research and innovation. It will also help them develop their own careers. Fellows will benefit from:

  • A scheme that is committed to supporting excellent researchers and innovators regardless of their background. Fellowships can be part-time basis and/or as a job share.
  • Networking across their cohort, formed of some of the UK’s most talented researchers and innovators from different disciplines and sectors, putting them at the forefront of modern, interdisciplinary research.
  • A career boost, including time and investment for training and professional development, providing a route to an open-ended contract for academically hosted fellows (in line with organisational policies and practices).

The fellowships can be held at any UK-based organisation currently registered as eligible to apply to the Research Councils (e.g. Higher Education Institutes, institutes and Independent Research Organisations) or Innovate UK (e.g. UK based businesses). Round 5 closes on 16:00 on 30 April 2020. More information can be found here.

UK – Canada Bilateral Competition

Innovate UK and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program are running this joint funding competition to support collaborative research and development projects. Projects must target improvement to the productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems.

Applicants to this competition must deliver integrated precision approaches and data driven solutions to support the transition to a net zero-emission industry by 2040.

Click here to find out more. Closes 2nd May 2020.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

The current KTP application round closes on 29th May 2020. After this, the next round will be available immediately, so don’t rush your application unnecessarily.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)  links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration – between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

Read more


Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Just like our highly effective KTP programme, Management KTPs (MKTPs) create a dynamic 3-way partnership between your company, a team of academic experts and a skilled graduate. The focus of a MKTP is specifically on increasing effectiveness and improving results through better management practices.

The first round of these has now closed – visit to be kept informed about future MKTPs.

Innovate UK Smart Grants

Competition opens: 09.01.20. Competition closes: 22.04.20 at 12:00pm.

Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused. Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy.

Click here for details.

Seafood Innovation Fund

Opens 07/02/20, closes 20/04/20

The £10 million UK Seafood Innovation Fund will support the UK’s fishing, aquaculture and seafood industries to deliver cutting-edge technology and innovation. By supporting ambitious projects with a long-term view, the fund aims to kick-start a step-change in the productivity and sustainability of UK seafood into the future.

Running for three years, this programme administered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), will share regular calls for applications, offering interested collaborators the chance to bid for up to £50,000 for feasibility studies, or up to £250,000 for full R&D projects.

The fund is open to all organisations within the EU who have an innovative idea meeting the objectives of the fund. EU organisations can apply as a project lead, or can be part of an application as a subcontractor. Collaborative projects including both seafood sector experts and technology businesses are encouraged.

Eligible projects:

Primary producers.
Onshore supply chains.
Marine fisheries, including for species that move between freshwater and marine environments.
Marine and land-based aquaculture.

Ineligible projects:

Freshwater fishing.
Recreational fishing.

Priority research areas for the fund are:

Innovative technologies for sustainable seafood production.
Increasing seafood productivity.
Increasing seafood sustainability.
Reducing commercial risk.
Strengthening the evidence base for sustainable fisheries management.

Projects that foster new collaborations are particularly encouraged.

To find out more, click here.

Centre for Doctoral Training Funding for UK-based research organisations

This funding is for UK-based research organisations  to create a Centre for Doctoral Training. This new centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) will be  focused on developing the next generation of interdisciplinary food systems thinkers. It will ensure a pipeline of skilled individuals who are able to apply holistic and critical interdisciplinary food systems thinking to health and sustainability challenges in academia, government, business and civil society organisations, and who will lead the way in transforming the UK food system. It will support three cohorts of doctoral candidates beginning in October 2021 and as a legacy will develop the next generation of food system thinkers.

Application deadline: 13 May 2020, 4pm

To find out more, click here.

BactiVac Catalyst Training Awards

The call for applications is an open call, you can apply at any time. This scheme will be run up to August 2021.

Catalyst funding is available to support training opportunities and exchanges, prioritising those involving LMIC members and academic/industrial partners, for the transfer of knowledge and skills in bacterial vaccinology. Up to £6,000 per award is available and each training visit is expected to be up to three months in duration. The aim of this funding scheme will be to support members to train in vaccine research & development (R&D), targeting the main preclinical to clinical area of focus for BactiVac.

Click here to find out more.

AgRIA Short Leaps

AgRIA (Agri-Tech Research Innovation Accelerator), supported for three years by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is led by Rothamsted Research in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, University College London, Cranfield University, Green Triangle, and Rothamsted Enterprises. Total project costs can be up to circa £65,000 with a minimum contribution of £8,000 from the small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This contribution can be in the form of paying for consumables, travel, consultancy, and patents. The remaining funding is provided by ERDF and Delivery Partners. These “short leap” projects, which will run for circa six months, are expected to cover one or more of the four highlighted themes (see below). They will be based at Rothamsted Research’s Harpenden campus with hot desk office space; they will also have access to facilities at the University of Hertfordshire and University College London.

Read more

STFC Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a multidisciplinary research organisation that funds and operates a number of large science facilities offering research and development access to commercial users. Through these facilities, and their expert staff, they can provide access to advanced experimental and computational tools to address challenges in all aspects of the food production and packaging supply chain. Their £8 million Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme is specifically designed to help companies overcome difficult product, manufacturing or process performance issues by providing access to advanced analytical technologies, supporting expertise and capabilities through STFC’s large scale science facilities located around the UK.

Click here to find out more.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S)

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base. UKI2S works closely with its partners – led by STFC, BBSRC and NERC, which are all part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and Dstl — and is aligned with the Catapults and Innovate UK to create the best environment for innovation to flourish and in turn, boost the UK’s competitiveness and productivity by commercialising key technological advances in industrial biotech, ag tech, healthcare, medicine, clean energy, materials, artificial intelligence, software and space. Foodtech is also within scope.

Click here to find out more.

HSBC SME Loan Fund

HSBC UK has announced a £12 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced minimum pot of £300 million to support the UK’s agriculture businesses. It also includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply.

Click here to find out more.

Horizon 2020 Calls

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s multi-billion research and innovation funding scheme running from 2014 to 2020. The UK government has issued some documents to clarify the UK’s eligibility to participate in Horizon 2020 if there is no Brexit deal.

KTN has a range of training videos for UK companies in how to write a successful project proposal for European funding.

UK businesses benefitting from Horizon 2020 research funding are urged to register their details with the government so they can continue to receive funding if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Forthcoming and currently open calls include:

Horizon 2020: SME Instrument – Phase 1 – The SME Instrument supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and bring to market new products, services and business models that could drive economic growth. Closes: 04.11.20. Click here to find out more.

Horizon 2020: SME Instrument – Phase 2 – The SME Instrument supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and bring to market new products, services and business models that could drive economic growth. Closes: 07.10.20. Click here to find out more.