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£16.5 million more funding for research and development in farming

The following blog has just been shared on the DEFRA website, providing details of funding available:

As part of Farming Innovation Programme, farmers, growers, foresters, businesses and researchers are being invited to collaborate and submit applications for the second round of two competitions:

  • A £5.5 million competition for ‘Feasibility projects’ will offer grants for projects worth between £200,000 and £500,000 to support research and development through an idea’s testing phase, to see if it is worth investing in further

  • The ‘Small R&D Partnership’ competition will award grant funding worth between £1 million and £3 million for industrial research projects. The project should further develop new solutions that will ultimately address major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities, such as enhancing productivity and sustainability

Applications will open at the end of August. These competitions are part of the £270 million Farming Innovation Programme, run in partnership with UK Research and Innovation. It aims to spark new ideas and collaboration across the sector to address long-term challenges, such as producing nutritious food more efficiently while helping the sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero goals.

Also today, UKRI shared details of the successful applications from the first round of Small R&D Partnership Projects, Feasibility Projects and Research Starter Projects, that were launched in October 2021. These include:

  • Farmsense’s use of innovative sensor technology and AI to optimise welfare in pigs

  • Blue Planet II, a new project which aims to build upon its highly successful autonomous technology to further increase fruit crop yield and quality

  • A new project from ‘Muddy Machines’, whose agri-robot concepts aim to speed up vegetable harvesting with sustainability and reliability at their core

Altogether, Defra expects to spend around £600 million on grants and other support for farmers to invest in productivity, animal health and welfare, innovation, research and development over the next three years. For more information, read the Future Farming Blog post.

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