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Agri-tech Catalyst (early stage)

General & Misc
Project Size:


The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of innovation in the development of agricultural and food systems in Africa. Your project must result in more use of innovations by farmers and food systems organisations, such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors, and wholesalers.


Your project must:

  • Have total eligible costs between £100,000 and £500,000
  • Start by 1 April 2021
  • Last between 12 and 18 months

All projects must:

  • Be collaborative
  • Include a UK registered lead applicant organisation (known in previous rounds as the ‘administrative lead’)
  • Include a technical lead, from any country
  • Include at least one business (UK or an eligible African country)
  • Include at least one partner from an eligible African country
  • Implement significant activity in the eligible African country

The roles of lead applicant and technical lead could be carried out by a single UK organisation. Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the world. Subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs

Additional assurance requirements:

  • Successful UK applicants must demonstrate they have proper and transparent arrangements for passing grant monies to African partners 
  • Innovate UK will carry out initial due diligence and final audit checks on all non-UK partners


Your proposal must show the potential to have a positive impact on poverty through the uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation.

You can choose from one or more of the following areas:

  • Primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture
  • Non-food uses of crops, excluding ornamentals
  • Challenges in food processing, distribution or storage, and value addition (such as through a change in the physical state or form of the product)
  • Improving the availability and accessibility of safe, healthy and nutritious foods

Your project’s innovations must:

  • Be sustainable in the context of environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity
  • Minimise negative effects (e.g. pollution, food loss, waste)
  • Promote safe, healthy, and nutritious diets

Applications must demonstrate how the primary benefit contributes to international development outcomes, specifically:

  • Enhanced food and nutrition security and
  • Welfare of the poor in urban and rural areas in developing countries

Grant funding for feasibility studies: This means analysis and evaluation of a project’s potential, aimed at supporting the process of decision making. This is achieved by uncovering its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as well as identifying the resources needed and the prospects for success. Feasibility studies will usually help businesses decide to work either individually or collaboratively with other industrial or research organisations, before conducting a subsequent larger project.

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