£ 17.5million innovation fund available to farmers and producers

Farmers and growers with ideas that could directly benefit the agriculture and horticulture sectors in England can bid for a share of the £ 17.5million funding.

Defra’s new research and development partnership fund has been earmarked for initiatives that increase agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.

As the first initiative to be announced in the new Agricultural Innovation Program (FIP), this fund aims to support game-changing agricultural and forestry ideas – those that will solve the problems holding back the sector.

See also: Fundraising guide for arboricultural projects on the farm

Applications will open on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, with three of the four categories of projects available.

  • In the Research Start-up Projects category, farmers, producers and foresters will be supported to develop “bold, ambitious and early-stage ideas” and to build a collaborative team.

Candidates for Research start-up projects have until November 24, 2021 to submit their offer.

  • Under the Feasibility Projects category, funding will be provided to test the viability of projects in their early stages and to inform decisions on subsequent research and development projects on a larger scale.

The application window for Feasibility projects runs until December 1, 2021.

  • There is also funding for small research and development partnership projects – research and innovative solutions that have the potential to dramatically improve the overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of agriculture and forestry.

Applications to Small research and development partnership projects category can be made until December 1, 2021.

A similar program for large research projects will be launched next year.

“Exciting” ideas

All farmers, producers and foresters with exciting ideas and the goal of developing them into projects can apply – this is not limited to those based in England only.

Defra would like UK-wide companies, universities and research organizations to apply and collaborate on research and development projects – but these projects must seek to improve the productivity and sustainability of agriculture and horticulture in England.

“When farmers, producers or foresters are directly involved in a project, we ask that at least 50% of them on the team be based in England,” Defra said.

Details on how to apply are available at Research start-up projects, Feasibility projects and Small research and development partnership projects.

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