Businesses across the Marches are being urged to apply for a share of up to £15 million to look at more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to produce the UK’s food.
Innovate UK has up to £15 million to invest in feasibility studies and demonstration research projects that help to show how emerging technologies can be used to produce our food in a more sustainable and efficient way.
Now it is urging businesses from across the region to put forward their ideas for how they would use the cash to benefit the nation’s food production industry.
A spokesman said: "We must respond to this challenge if we are to meet the expected 60% increase in global demand for food by 2050. "Better ways of working the land can lead to reduced emissions and pollution, less waste and improvements to the soil.
"UK companies are global leaders in the technologies that will help to achieve this, including in environmental management, earth observation, sensors, big data, artificial intelligence and robotics."
The funding call falls into two sections – with up to £5million available for feasibility projects and a further £10million for a series of demonstrator projects.
The research projects must focus on precision, data-driven solutions. They can undertake research in one or more areas including:
- arable, such as cereals, field-scale vegetables or potatoes
- ruminants, such as beef, lamb, goat
- monogastrics, such as pork, poultry and eggs
- horticulture, including berries, apples, lettuce and tomatoes but not ornamentals
They should also have the potential to improve productivity and sustainability and contribute to the target of net zero emissions from agriculture by 2040.
Feasibility projects must evaluate potential solutions that tackle challenges identified by industry to see if they could be commercialised.
- look at business models alongside technical feasibility and draw in expertise to do this
- work with end users to make sure solutions meet their needs
Demonstrator projects will be used to develop best practice and shape future investment in science.
Projects will be expected to take part in the work to share results and reach potential users of the technology.
- demonstrate the viability of combinations of precision solutions to transform food production
- demonstrate solutions across different production environments, to encourage their widespread use
- work with end users
- produce evidence of technical feasibility and economic viability at commercial scale
Businesses of all sizes are eligible to apply for the schemes, with the deadline for applications at midday on 26 February.
For more information and detailed criteria visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/helping-farmers-to-work-more-efficiently-apply-for-funding