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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 5th May 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.

See our Covid-19 funding round-up for all Covid-related funding calls.

David Phillips Fellowship

Support for researchers to establish their first independent research group.

The David Phillips Fellowship provides support for researchers wishing to establish their first independent research group. The Fellowship will invest in scientists who can demonstrate that they are on an upward trajectory and are eager to lead their own fully independent programme of research. David Phillips Fellows strive for continuous personal and professional development and have a strategy for how they will develop themselves and their team over the lifetime of the award.

Awards are for five years and include personal salary and a significant research support grant to enable fellows to establish their own independent research group. It is expected that up to five fellowships will be awarded, each at a value of up to £1 million (80% fEC).

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will provide funds of up to £1 million (80% of the full economic cost). The total costs (100% full economic cost) requested may be up to £1.25 million. In addition to this investment, it is also expected that a substantial demonstration of support for the fellow be made by the host Research Organisation (see below – value for money).

Proposals from candidates seeking flexible working arrangements (for example part-time) are encouraged.

Application deadline: 12 May 2020, 4PM

To find out more, click here.

Discovery Fellowships - Support for early stage researchers

The Discovery Fellowship provides support for researchers wanting to undertake independent research and gain leadership skills. The Discovery Fellowship will support the transition of early stage researchers to fully independent research leaders.
Awards are for three years and it is expected that up to 10 fellowships will be awarded. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will provide funds of up to £300k (80% of the full economic cost). The total costs (100% full economic cost) requested may be up to £375,000.

This investment can be used to support personal salary as well as travel and subsistence, training activities, and research consumables, but not equipment. In addition to this investment, it is also expected that a substantial demonstration of support for the fellow be made by the host Research Organisation. Proposals from candidates seeking flexible working arrangements (for example part-time) are encouraged.

Application deadline: 12 May 2020, 4PM

To find out more, click here.

Call for Joint Transnational Research Proposals

Development of targeted nutrition for prevention of undernutrition for older adults.

This funding call will support transnational, collaborative research projects. The projects should address important research questions regarding the prevention of undernutrition in European older citizens through the consumption of appropriate nutritious food.

Only transnational projects will be funded. This means you must apply as a consortium. Your consortium should involve three to six partners eligible for funding from at least three different countries.

If you would like help in finding partners to form a consortium, get in touch with our Agri-food team.

To achieve ambitious and innovative scientific goals, each consortium should be made of different fields and sectors such as academic and clinical researchers and allied professions, care workers, industry (e.g. food and social and health care industry) and other relevant organisations/stakeholders. Disciplines may include (but are not limited to) nutrition (including food chemistry/processing), biochemistry, physiology, psychology, sociology and social and health care.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) will fund the UK partner of successful consortia. Up to €1.5 M will be available to UK researchers for this call. BBSRC and MRC anticipate funding 5-6 proposals.

Application deadline: 12 May 2020, 5PM

To find out more, click here.

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: 27.05.20 at 12noon (deadline extended in response to Covid-19).

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 26/06/20 (note extension of deadline – previously April 2020)

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.

Shake Climate Change

Funding and training for agri-food projects fighting climate change

SHAKE helps entrepreneurs and start-ups who are combating climate change with science or tech-based ideas in the areas of agriculture and food production. It offers start-up funding of up to £140K, three years of training and mentoring, and access to leading science, tech and business experts.

Application deadline: 27 May 2020. To find out more, click here.

AgRIA Short Leaps

Match funding for English SMEs developing new agri-food products

The AgRIA Short Leaps Call grants will match your spend on product development, and match you with a leading researcher to overcome technical challenges.

AgRIA is a £1.6M fund to support innovation projects that bring together scientists and small businesses on a dedicated site in Hertfordshire. It is seeking to support 19 new collaborations to boost economic growth. Total project costs can be up to circa £65,000 with a minimum contribution of £8,000 from the 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 will run for around six months. They are expected to cover one or more of these four highlighted themes: soils, water and environment | internet of things | high value products | sustainable and green products. 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.

Application deadline: 31 May 2020. To find out more, click here.

GCRF Demonstrate Impact in developing countries - Round 2 - Phase 1

Funding for prototype stage projects with the potential to transform lives in developing countries

Projects addressing one of the 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals (including zero hunger, responsible consumption and production, life below water) could get a grant of up to £60K. You project must lead to the deployment of your innovations within one of these countries.

This funding is split into 2 phases:

Discovery: enabling businesses to gain insights into local market feasibility for the innovation prior to prototyping.
Prototype phase: to test, validate and improve a prototype of the innovation in a developing country market.

This competition is to secure funding for phase 1 projects. Only successful phase 1 applicants will be eligible to apply for the phase 2 funding.

Application deadline: 10 June 2020. To find out more, click here.

PARSEC Accelerator - Second Open Call

Funding for SMEs working on Earth Observation products or services in the food sector

The PARSEC Accelerator funds and supports SMEs to create products and services based on Earth Observation, with strong market potential in the sectors of food, energy and environment. The PARSEC Accelerator runs in two stages. After the first Open Call “Call for ideas”, 100 applicants were selected (#100PARSEC) and are already part of the PARSEC first stage that runs between March and July 2020.

The second Open Call aims to find the best 15 consortia that will join the PARSEC second stage and have access to 100.000€ each (maximum 50.000€ per partner). They will also receive business support like the investment readiness programme, coaching and export promotion training. The winners will see their new products or services launched into the market.

Application deadline: 20 June 2020, 5PM. To find out more, click here.

Safety of food – evidence context – Lloyd's Register Foundation

Up to £170K grant for research into the role of evidence in food safety

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is looking for organisations to complete research into the role of evidence in food safety. The findings of this research will be published by the Foundation to contribute to the body of knowledge on food safety. It will also inform the implementation of the Foundation’s strategy in this area. The deadline for the project’s completion is 27 November 2020.

Application deadline: 7 July 2020. 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.

Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) programme

Funding programme for career researchers with an interest in science entrepreneurship

Deep Science Ventures and the University of Edinburgh have launched the Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) programme to design and launch a contingent of innovative high growth start-ups operating exclusively in the agriculture sector. They are currently recruiting people with specialist domain knowledge who want to co-found agritech companies. No prior IP or “idea” required, but they are definitely looking for potential founders who want to build technology companies around with their larger Agriculture thesis on Restorative Cultivation.

Applications are open on a rolling basis, with decisions normally made in 2 weeks. To find out more, click here.

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.