Defra opens £14m funding pot for farm innovation

Defra has committed more than £14m for two funding competitions for farmers, foresters, growers and researchers to drive innovation within the sector and promote sustainability.

Part of the Farming Innovation Programme, the funding comes after the government pledged to invest £600m over the next three years within the sector, for the drive towards net zero.

See also: Cutting-edge projects get share of £270m innovation funding

Farming minister Mark Spencer said: “These competitions are all about encouraging collaborations between farmers and growers on the one hand, and research organisations and industry on the other, to help bring ideas from the planning stage into practice.

“The success of the previous competition rounds, and the broad scope of ideas coming forward, showcase the possibilities available for solving some of the industry’s biggest challenges.”

The Small R&D Partnership Projects competition, which is worth nearly £10m and is now in its third round, seeks to help businesses develop a new farming product or service, and take it to commercialisation on the open market. 

Previous rounds have funded projects looking into breeding low-carbon footprint sheep, and a project combining electricity generation and growing berries.

This comes alongside the Feasibility studies competition, which has a £4.5m budget to support businesses and researchers through the testing phase of an idea, to see whether projects will work in practice.

Applications for the Small R&D Partnerships Project competition open on 14 August.

The Feasibility studies competition window is open from 18 September.