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Farming Innovation Programme: Large R&D Partnerships Round 3

General & Misc
Project Size:
£7.8 million

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is offering up to £7.8 million for large R&D partnership projects through the Farming Innovation Programme. This initiative, in collaboration with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge and delivered by Innovate UK, is designed to address significant challenges and opportunities in farming, with a focus on industrial research and experimental development.

  • Competition Opens: Monday, 15 January 2024
  • Competition Closes: Wednesday, 13 March 2024, at 11:00 AM UK time

Funding Details:

  • Type: Grant
  • Total Funds Available: Up to £7.8 million
  • Project Size: Total costs must be between £3 million and £5 million

Eligibility and Scope:

  • Open to UK registered businesses.
  • Projects must aim to address on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities.
  • Solutions or outputs should significantly improve productivity, sustainability, environmental impact, progression towards net zero emissions, and resilience in farming.
  • Encourages partnerships within supply chains to collaboratively address major challenges.

Proposal Requirements:

  • Proposals must demonstrate clear benefits for farmers, growers, or foresters in England.
  • Active collaboration with end-users and the wider UK research community is essential.
  • Proposals should include scalable solutions for widespread use and impact.
  • A knowledge exchange plan with a clear dissemination strategy is required.
  • Projects must demonstrate potential for transformative change in the agricultural sector.

Portfolio Approach:

  • The programme seeks to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, research categories, and business sizes.

Specific Themes:

  • Projects must address challenges or opportunities in one of the following industry sub-sectors: livestock, plants, novel food production systems, bioeconomy, and agroforestry.

Research Categories:

  • Funding is available for industrial research and experimental development projects.


  • Projects that are equine specific, involve wild caught fisheries, non-farming aquaculture, cellular or acellular production systems for human consumption, or medicinal crop production are not eligible.
  • Projects dependent on export performance or domestic inputs usage are also ineligible.

Accessibility and Inclusion:

  • Applications are encouraged from diverse backgrounds, with reasonable adjustments available for those with disabilities or long-term conditions.

Call to Action: UK businesses with innovative ideas for transforming the agricultural sector are encouraged to apply. Proposals should focus on sustainability, productivity, and environmental impact. Collaboration and a clear plan for widespread adoption and knowledge exchange are key.  

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