New Funding for Agriculture and Horticulture Automation from IUK

£12.5 million has been set aside for projects focused on cutting-edge agriculture and horticulture innovation to create more sustainable farming practices.

The aim of this Defra-funded programme is to support collaborative development projects with ambitious solutions for robotics and automation in agriculture and horticulture.

The programme comprises two competition strands, each operated by Innovate UK (IUK):

  • Strand 1: Industrial Research, accelerating collaborative R&D with the UK’s world-leading research base, agri-tech businesses, SMEs and the UK agricultural sector.
  • Strand 2: Experimental Development, accelerating the employment and uptake of innovation for robotics and automation in agriculture and horticulture that is almost at commercial stage.

Supported projects will benefit England’s farmers, growers, foresters and other businesses to conduct R&D to help boost productivity, enhance sustainable practices, support economic growth, improve environmental outcomes and reduce carbon emissions in England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors.

Defra has allocated up to £12.5 million to fund innovation projects across the two strands. For the industrial research strand, each project’s total costs must be between £500,000 and £1 million. For the experimental development strand, each project’s total costs must be between £750,000 and £1.5 million.

The competitions are open to collaborations only. To lead a project an organisation must be a UK registered business of any size. The lead must collaborate with a UK based farmer or grower, or another business of any size, academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not-for-profit, or public sector organisation.

Both competition strands open on 9 January 2023. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2023.

(This report was the subject of a GRANTfinder Newsflash.)