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Farming Innovation Programme – feasibility projects

Overview:

UK-registered businesses can apply for a share of £5.5million for feasibility projects, from the industry-led R&D Partnerships Fund, a part of the Farming Innovation Programme.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will work with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to invest up to £5.5million in innovation projects.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.

The aim of this competition is to:

  • Investigate early-stage solutions that have the potential to substantially improve the overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of farming, and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
  • Prioritise solutions that will have positive outputs for farmers, growers and foresters in commercially relevant situations
  • Accelerate research and development of new agricultural solutions by actively engaging collaboration with the wider UK research community in the innovation process

Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

This is one of three competitions:

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they are applying to the correct competition for their project.

If you apply to the wrong competition you will be made ineligible and will not be sent for assessment, you cannot transfer your application.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £200,000 and £500,000.

Open Date:

20/10/2021

Close Date:

01/12/2021

The aim of this competition is to fund feasibility studies investigating new solutions that will address major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities.

Your solutions must significantly improve:

  • Productivity
  • Sustainability and environmental impact
  • Progression towards net zero emissions​
  • Resilience

Your project must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

Innovate UK aim to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, industry sectors, technological maturities and business size.

Specific themes

Your project must address a significant industry challenge or opportunity in at least one of the four industry subsectors below:

  • Livestock
  • Plants
  • Novel food production systems
  • Bioeconomy and agroforestry

If your application is successful, any awards given to primary agricultural producers are subject to the green box exemption under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.

Please see further guidance on green box subsidies WTO Guidance for support in Agriculture. Applicants receiving this type of support must ensure that there is minimal to no distortion of trade and comply with the requirements of Annex 2 of the Agriculture Agreement

Your project

Your project must:

  • Have total eligible costs between £200,000 and £500,000
  • Start by 1 May 2022
  • End by 30 April 2024
  • Last up to 24 months
  • Carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in England
  • Have at least 50% of the farmers, growers or foresters involved based in England

To lead a project, your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business of any size,
  • Collaborate with other UK organisations

Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK business of any size or a UK registered:

  • Academic institution
  • Charity
  • Not-for-profit
  • Public sector organisation
  • Research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. They can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK. You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

Innovate UK expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. Innovate UK will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

business can only lead on one application and can be included as a collaborator in a further two applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

Academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not-for-profit or public sector organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK’s obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. Innovate UK will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see the general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. Innovate UK are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must make sure at all times that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean Innovate UK need to change the terms of this competition, they will tell you as soon as possible.

Defra and UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge have allocated up to £5.5million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For feasibility studies, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • Up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 50%, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-s registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, non-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • Equine-specific​
  • Wild caught fisheries
  • Aquaculture, including algae and seaweed production​
  • Cellular or acellular production systems, fermentation systems for bacteria, yeast or fungi​
  • Projects that do not benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England
  • Dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • Dependent on domestic inputs usage– for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.