Farming Innovation Programme Small R&D Partnership Projects

UK Government

Relevent Country: United Kingdom

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £9.8 million for Small R&D Partnership 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 invest up to £9.8 million in innovation projects.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is a partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge and delivered by Innovate UK.

The aim of this competition is to:

  • develop solutions with the potential to improve overall productivity, sustainability, resilience and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
  • ensure solutions have positive outputs for farmers, growers or foresters in commercially relevant situations
  • develop new agricultural solutions, by collaboration through engagement with end users and the UK research community in the innovation process
  • accelerate adoption by ensuring knowledge exchange with the wider sector and other stakeholders
  • Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

Specific Themes

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

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

Funding Information

  • Your project’s total costs must be between £1 million and £3 million
  • The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has allocated up to £9.8 million, working in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Transforming Food Production Challenge, to fund innovation projects in this competition. This competition is delivered by Innovate UK and funding will be in the form of a grant.
  • If your project includes grant funding for farmers, growers or foresters, a minimum of 50% of the total grant amount requested by them in your application, must come from farmers, growers or foresters geographically based in England.
  • If 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 but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.
  • For mid-stage R&D industrial research projects 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

Who can apply?

  • If you are successful, any awards given to primary agricultural producers are subject to the green box exemption under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.
  • Your project

Your project must:

  • start by 1 June 2024
  • end by 31 May 2027
  • last up to 36 months
  • be collaborative
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in England
  • Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.
  • You must only include eligible project costs in your application.
  • Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

  • To lead a project your organisation must:
  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or work with at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead or work alone.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • 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 (IFS) 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 IFS.
  • The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs into the application.
  • Non-funded partners
  • 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.
  • Subcontractors 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 provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. They will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.
  • All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
  • Number of applications
  • A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in 2 further applications.
  • If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.
  • Academic institutions, research and technology organisations (RTO), charity, not-for-profit or public sector organisations can collaborate in any number of applications.