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GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards Competition

Posted on 04/11/2019

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5bn fund to support cutting-edge research which addresses problems faced by developing countries.

Innovate UK has recently secured GCRF funding to extend activities initiated through the Department for International Development (DFID) funded Agri-Tech Catalyst. The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is pleased to announce a call for GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards as a means to encourage UK research partners, including Universities and Research Technology Organisations (RTOs), to address AgriFood challenges in Africa. Up to £800k will be available to support a maximum of 20 awards. The call for Round 1 opens at our event on Monday December 9th, with up to ten awards of up to £40,000 available. The deadline for applications is midnight Monday January 6th 2020.

GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and will be awarded in a manner that fits with ODA guidelines.  For further information see: UK Research and Innovation: Global Challenges Research Fund.

What is a GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Award?

This call will provide funds to a UK research partner for a collaborative project to address the AgriFood challenges of an African partner. These Awards are intended to help resource small confidence building measures, employing research and innovation within the scope as outlined below. Projects must be between an African partner and a UK research partner that is likely to lead to a longer-term relationship and follow-on projects, particularly in further rounds of the Agri-Tech Catalyst.

We expect to announce a second and final call in 2020 with funding for additional awards (up to 20 awards in total across the two rounds).

Scope & Eligibility

The collaborations supported by a GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Award must comprise a defined piece of research and innovation work by the UK research partner for the African partner or partners, for example feasibility studies, industrial research projects or social science studies into barriers to the adoption of or investment in technologies and innovations in the agricultural sector.

These awards will take innovative ideas from any sector or discipline. Ideas must show the potential for a positive impact on poverty through the uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation. The scope includes:

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

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

Applications must be led by an eligible Principal Investigator in the UK. The call is open to individuals and organisations normally eligible to apply to the UK research councils for research grants*. Assessment of the ‘Evidence of Expertise’ section of the application will take the applicant’s career stage into account. Early career researchers who are interested in applying for these awards but who do not fit these criteria are encouraged to contact KTN ( about their eligibility. We are happy to discuss arrangements for early career applicants who have the support of a Principal Investigator and their institution

For full details please see the guidelines here, or the funding call here.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Gender Equality Act (GEA)

Your project and its outcomes must fit within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) criteria and align with the Gender Equality Act (GEA).

Application Procedure
Step 1: Carefully read the application guidelines here.

Step 2: Download and complete the case for support document. This document will outline the key project details and case for funding. This will form the main part of your application, so we recommend you start this as soon as possible.

Step 3: Once your case for support document is ready, fill out the online application form, which can be accessed here. Make sure you have partners’ contact details to hand as all fields are required. We recommend that you do not leave this to the last minute!

Step 4: Attach your case for support document (the attachment must be a Word Document, NOT a PDF file) and press ‘submit’.
Please note:
Applications must be submitted by the UK academic partner.
Please only submit your application once.
Only application forms received by midnight Monday 6thJanuary 2020 will be considered.