We’re currently seeing a wealth of agritech innovations which are revolutionising the agricultural sector like never before.
What’s particularly amazing is how much of that innovation is being driven by small-scale entrepreneurs who are playing a big part in tackling the global issues of climate change and a growing population.
In many cases, the research, development, and testing of these innovations relies on having the cash to invest, which is where a recent wave of Government grants are really making a difference.
We’ve rounded up some of the grant schemes that are currently open to new applications below, with a summary of the criteria and a link to more information.
Another key to success is approaching agritech recruitment in a way that maximises the chances of a new intelligent product or process making it to the market – something which can be even more challenging when grant funding is involved.
We explored some of the recruitment challenges and solutions in staffing an agritech start-up in this recent article, including finding the right people with shared values, recruiting on a temporary or flexible basis and how to retain staff when the future is uncertain.
Here are some of the current grant funds available.
Feasibility Studies competition – Farming Innovation Programme
If you’ve been researching an idea that could improve farming, you might be able to apply for a share of this £4.5m fund to check if it will work in practice.
It aims to finance feasibility studies which investigate new solutions that will address major on-farm or immediate post farmgate challenges or opportunities. It’s for projects that cost between £200,000 and £500,000. They can last for up to two years and will help you decide if an idea, such as a product or service, is worth developing further and investing more in.
This includes projects that:
- Investigate early-stage solutions with the potential to substantially improve the overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of farming, and move agricultural sectors to net zero
- Have positive outputs for farmers, growers and foresters
- Speed up research and development of new agricultural solutions
It looks for collaborations between businesses and farmers to develop products and services.
Depending on the size and nature of the applying business, grants could fund between 50% and 70% of the project cost.
Deadline: Applications must be submitted by November 15, 2023.
Small R&D Partnerships Projects – Farming Innovation Programme
This is to enable businesses to pitch an idea that could improve farming methods and help the environment.
Businesses can apply for a share of up to £9.8m. Projects must have total eligible costs of between £1million and £3million, they must be collaborative and last up to 36 months. Depending on the size of the business, grants could cover up to 70% of the project costs.
The fund aims to:
- Develop solutions with the potential to improve overall productivity, sustainability, resilience and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
- Ensure solutions have positive outputs for farmers, growers or foresters in commercially relevant situations
- Develop new agricultural solutions, by collaboration through engagement with end users and the UK research community in the innovation process
- Accelerate adoption by ensuring knowledge exchange with the wider sector and other stakeholders
Deadline: Applications must be submitted by October 25, 2023.
Collaborative AI solutions to improve productivity in key sectors – Technologies Mission Fund
A pot of up to £32million is available for innovation projects that can improve productivity through artificial intelligence and machine learning in priority sectors, including agriculture.
There are two strands to the project, one for collaborative R&D projects and one for single entity applications.
A project’s total must be between £700,000 and £1.2million. The proportion of the project that could be funded depends on the size of the applying organisation and the nature of the project.
- Identify an end user within one of the priority sectors (agriculture, construction, and creative industries)
- Clearly indicate how the solution will improve business productivity or efficiency in the sector
- Demonstrate how key partners will facilitate the commercialisation of research
Deadline: Applications must be submitted by November 8.
Innovate UK Smart Grants – UK Research and Innovation
UK SMEs can apply for a share of up to £25m for ‘game-changing’ and commercially viable R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.
The Innovate UK Smart Grant is designed to help SMEs and their partners develop disruptive innovations which have significant potential to achieve economic benefits such as successful commercialisation, growth, and exports.
Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy.
This fund must include at least one micro, small or medium enterprise as the lead or a collaborative grant-claiming partner, with total project costs of between £100,000 and £500,000 (where the project will last six to 18 months) and £100,000 to £2million (where the project will last 19 to 36 months).
The amount of the total project cost that can be funded depends on the size of the applicant’s business and the nature of the project.
Deadline: Applications must be submitted by January 17, 2024.
If you need help with agritech recruitment, or would like to find out more about how Jonathan Lee Recruitment can support agritech businesses, visit www.jonlee.co.uk, or contact agritech recruitment specialist, Matt Johnson, on 01952 987033, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.