Farming Innovation Programme – Share your views

26 September 2022

Farm business Science and technology
A milking parlour

Applications for funding available under the Farming Futures R&D fund for sustainable farm-based proteins have now closed. We're looking for anyone who was interested in the competition and/or applied for it, to share their experiences with us. 

Funding has been made available for farmers, growers and researchers working on innovative solutions to produce more sustainable farm-based proteins. 

The £12.5m of funding available under the Farming Futures R&D Fund is to be shared between applicants conducting feasibility studies in traditional livestock and plant production systems, and industrial research projects developing new animal feeds and supplements.

The projects should aim to help the sector meet the challenge of transitioning to the more sustainable production of farm-based priorities.

We want to hear from you

We would like to know from any of our members who looked at these opportunities what their experiences were, good or bad. Whether you applied, or even just considered applying, this feedback will help with future NFU discussions with Defra and UKRI. We hope this can lead to improvements in the programme and application process. 

If you have feedback please email us on [email protected].

About the Farming Innovation Programme

Defra is working with UKRI (UK Research & Innovation) to provide research funding over the next few years to help improve farm productivity through innovation.

Back in October 2021 Defra launched the first of a series of funding competitions to invest in R&D for the farming industry under the Farming Innovation Programme banner. Further competitions have become available throughout this year.

Further funding opportunities

There are other funding opportunities through the second rounds of the following competitions:

Feasibility studies

  • This £5.5 million competition 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.
  • This competition closes 12 October 2022.

For more details on applying, visit: GOV.UK | Farming Innovation Programme - feasibility round 2

Small R&D partnership projects

  • This £11 million competition will offer grants 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.
  • This competition closes 2 November 2022.

For more details on applying, visit: GOV.UK | Farming Innovation Programme small R&D partnership projects R2

Past competitions

In October 2021, the first three competitions under industry-led R&D Partnerships Fund were launched with total funding of £17.5m.

A further funding opportunity for large R&D partnership projects opened in March 2022, with £8m of funding on offer for large collaborative business-led projects.

These funding opportunities have now closed.

You can read about the successful applications from the first round of the Small R&D partnership projects funding at: UKRI | £11m funding announced to further support food sector innovation

Learn more about the funding

Watch: UKRI | Applicant briefing

Vital investment

We have argued for increased funding in this area for many years and it is vital that investment leads to all farmers and growers being supported to get involved at some level with R&D.

It is essential robust evidence is accessible to everyone to improve decision-making and provide feedback on what works on farm.

We want to hear from you

We would like to know from any of our members who looked at these opportunities what their experiences were, good or bad. This feedback will help with future NFU discussions with Defra and UKRI.

If you have feedback please email us on [email protected].

Competition closed

This competition closed on the 21 September 2022. Projects are expected to begin from 1 April 2023.

Find out more about the competition at: Defra | Sustainable farm-based proteins: funding available

Further information

If you are interested in the Farming Innovation Programme please visit: UKRI | Farming Innovation: find out about funding .

You can also read Defra’s blogs at: GOV.UK | Future Farming

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