UKRI and Defra open second round of research starter funding

A farm worker ploughing a field at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, 28 September 2020.

In partnership with Defra, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will be opening the latest competition from the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) on 23 May.

The competition will begin with an expression of interest stage for farmers, growers or foresters in England. They can apply for a share of the £1 million funding aimed at new and innovative on-farm solutions.

Defra’s FIP competition, which will be run by UKRI, is part of their wider commitment to research and development that can demonstrate benefits to the food production sector in the UK. It can also reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and horticulture.

Focusing on research that brings real world benefits, and using scientific solutions for challenges facing the farming sector, the FIP funding will provide valuable support to innovative new ideas.

Find out more about the FIP.

Research starter: round two

The competition, which runs until 6 July, provides an entry point for farmers, growers and foresters to develop their early-stage ideas that tackle an issue affecting their business.

The ultimate aim is to identify and accelerate new and effective solutions within the sector that can have a positive impact on UK agriculture and the businesses within it.

At this first stage, the competition considers the feasibility of these new ideas, solutions and their potential impact on:

  • productivity
  • sustainability
  • resilience
  • wider environmental impact.

It then supports successful applicants to move towards applying for larger funding.

Four key industry subsectors

Projects can last up to 12 months, ending by March 2024, and must demonstrate how the proposal will benefit stakeholders across one of the four key industry subsectors:

  • livestock
  • plants
  • novel food production systems
  • bioeconomy and agroforestry.

Successful projects in this initial expression of interest stage will then be invited to the full stage competition, opening later in 2022.

You can also listen to the recording of the briefing and register for the applicant question and answer events below:

Bringing concepts to life

Katrina Hayter, Challenge Director for the transforming food production challenge, commented:

Who understands the issues facing farmers better than the farmers themselves?

We are always keen to support and make use of the on-the-ground knowledge that farmers, growers and foresters possess, and this competition enables some of these bold new ideas to be tested and researched at an early stage to see their potential for the wider sector.

We look forward to helping farmers take the first steps to bringing their concept to life.

This competition is delivered by Innovate UK.

About the transforming food production challenge

This challenge is supporting new ways to produce food that reduce emissions and pollution, and contribute to feeding a growing world population.

We are investing up to £90 million of funding to help businesses, researchers and industry to transform food production, meet the growing demand and move towards net zero emissions by 2040.

It is predicted that 60% more food will be needed worldwide by 2050 to feed the increasing global population. To do this, we need to be able to produce resilient and sustainable food more efficiently. This will reduce emissions and pollution, minimise waste and improve soil.

Funding will be invested in:

  • future food production systems
  • science and technology into practice
  • international opportunities
  • investment ecosystems.

Top image:  Credit: Adam Gasson

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