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Farming Innovation Programme

£16.5 million more funding for research and development in farming

Artificial Intelligence technology to optimise welfare in pigs, agri-robots to help speed up vegetable harvests and automation to increase fruit crop yields are just some of research and development projects to receive funding through the Farming Innovation Programme, it was announced today (Monday 22 August).

Details of these new innovative projects comes as further support was announced for farmers and growers with novel ideas to help grow food production, encourage sustainable practices and increase productivity, with the next rounds of the Feasibility Projects and the Small R&D Partnership Project competitions due to open shortly.

The £16.5 million of funding will help drive innovation in agriculture and horticulture and is part of the Government’s £270 million Farming Innovation Programme.

It is run in partnership with UK Research and Innovation, building upon their successful Transforming Food Production challenge.

Farming Innovation Minister Steve Double said: "We want to help unlock greater potential in our already brilliant farming and horticulture sector. Today’s first round of projects demonstrate how - with the right funding and support - there are great productivity and environmental sustainability gains to be made."

"Our £270 million investment in farming innovation is designed to help take the UK’s world-leading research ideas and turn them into practical solutions to support healthy soils, abundant pollinators and clean water alongside profitable food production."

The Farming Innovation Programme aims to spark new ideas and collaboration across the sector to address long-term challenges such as producing nutritious food more efficiently whilst helping the sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero goals.

Farmers, growers, foresters, businesses and researchers are being invited to collaborate and submit applications for these two new competitions:

  • A £5.5 million competition for ‘Feasibility projects’ will offer grants for projects worth between £200,000 and £500,000 to support research and development through the difficult testing phase of an idea to see if it is worth investing in further
  • Winners of the ‘Small R&D Partnership’ competition will receive a share of the £11 million grant funding for industrial research projects worth between £1 million and £3 million to further develop new solutions that will ultimately address major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities such as enhancing productivity and sustainability.

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