Apply by January for £5,000 farm innovation grants

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the Technology Strategy Board to pay for outside help for agri-food projects or those for water, waste or energy production.

Farm businesses that want to apply for an “Innovation Voucher” to help them access new knowledge and innovate, have until 22 January 2014.

Farmers can apply for funding to help them access new knowledge (such as a consultant they haven’t used before), technology, or to work with a supplier for the first time.

“People are always looking how to differentiate themselves against competitors,” said rural business adviser Simon Haley of Reading Agricultural Consultants.

This grant has potential to introduce new expertise into a business without the cost.”

Examples of how the vouchers can be used for an agri-food project include developing a novel food or drink, innovations in plant or animal breeding, reducing the impact of disease, or accelerating a product to market.

Applicants must show their R&D activity will have a wider impact within the agri-food sector.

Opportunities also exist for projects relating to energy and water, and could include developing affordable and secure sources of energy supply or extracting resources from waste water.

The January deadline marks the last round for the £2m Innovation Vouchers funding pot.

Other eligibility criteria for Innovation Vouchers include:

  • Businesses should be start-ups, micro, small or medium-sized business in the UK
  • It should be the first time your have worked with your chosen knowledge supplier
  • The idea that you want help with should be a challenge that requires specialist assistance
  • You should not have previously received an Innovation Voucher from the Technology Strategy Board

If you successful receiving an Innovation Voucher, you will need to:

  • Pay VAT incurred on the services you use with the voucher
  • Have a business bank account into which we can pay your claim

To find out more, visit the Technology Strategy Board website. The site also gives information on potential knowledge suppliers such as universities, advisers and research organisations.

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