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Farming Futures R&D Fund: Climate smart farming - EoI

Project Size:
Between £3million to £6million

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will work with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to invest up to £12.5million in innovation projects.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.

We will work in collaboration to deliver a portfolio of projects that meet the objectives of the Farming Innovation Programme and specific Defra key priorities. These are around reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate.

The aim of this funding is to:

  • develop ambitious solutions that will reduce emissions in existing practices whilst making the sector climate resilient
  • support innovation to transform farming productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience, whilst moving the sector towards net zero
  • prioritise outcomes aligned with Government key priorities to deliver business oriented solutions
  • develop solutions with a demonstrable societal impact, with clear deliverables including measurement of specific emissions reductions, and impacts
  • build diverse consortiums of innovative agricultural and horticultural businesses and relevant research expertise
  • encourage dissemination and knowledge exchange to drive impact and a wide uptake in the farming sector
  • increase the market readiness or maturity of emerging academic solutions

Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

This is stage 1 of a 2 stage competition. The whole process will take at least 8 months.

  1. Farming Futures R&D Fund: Climate smart farming - Expression of interest (EoI): Defra and Innovate UK will assess your application. Defra will review whether your application aligns to their key priorities (this competition).
  2. Farming Futures R&D Fund: Climate smart farming - Full Stage competition: Only applicants who are successful in the EoI stage will be invited to apply. The full stage will be independently assessed by Innovate UK. If your application is assessed as eligible, you will be required to present at interview. The selection of successful projects will be decided after the interviews. You can review the questions for the full stage competition in the ‘Supporting Information’ tab.

Your project’s total costs at full stage must be between £3million and £6million and can last up to 48 months.

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

If your application is successful in this EoI stage, you will be invited to apply for a full stage competition. In the full stage you must collaborate with other eligible grant claiming partners.

Your full stage project must:

  • address the specific requirements of the Defra key priorities for reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate
  • start by 1 April 2023
  • end by 31 March 2027
  • last between 24 and 48 months
  • have total eligible costs between £3 million and £6 million
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in England
  • have a minimum of 50% of any grant awarded to farmers, growers or foresters, allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

To lead a project your organisation must be:

  • a UK registered business of any size
  • an academic institution
  • a research and technology organisation (RTO)

If the lead organisation is an academic institution or an RTO it must collaborate with at least 1 UK registered business of any size.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK business of any size or a UK registered:

  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

The aim of this competition is to fund industrial research studies developing ambitious new solutions reducing farming emissions and adapting to a changing climate. These must address major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities.

Your solutions must address the priority areas identified by Defra for reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate, and significantly improve:

  • productivity
  • sustainability and environmental impact
  • progression towards net zero emissions​
  • resilience

You must reflect the societal impact of the proposed solution and include clear deliverables in measuring the specific emissions being addressed. You must demonstrate the impact and ability to manage the solution.

Your project must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

We aim to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, industry sectors, technological maturities and business size.

We will not accept unjustified changes in challenge and solution but the consortium can have additional partners added at the full stage. We expect the organisations identified in the EoI to continue to participate if selected to pass through to full stage competition.

Your project must focus on solutions to reduce emissions in existing agricultural practices or enhance resilience to climate change in one or more of the four industry subsectors:

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