The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Transforming Food Production Challenge has up to £90 million to help businesses invest in data-driven precision agri-tech that could transform food production.
Up to £5 million of this has been allocated to Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest in UK businesses undertaking joint projects with Chinese partners to develop new integrated precision farming technology that helps towards achieving a sustainable position of net-zero emissions.
To be eligible to apply for funding under this scheme, projects must aim to improve agricultural productivity and reduce emissions, to drive growth in UK precision agriculture companies, and to develop export opportunities, in line with the Transforming Food Production Challenge.
They could be involved in a range of agri-tech developments, including:
- remote sensing of crop growth and nutrients, soil health, weather, crop yields, water stress and pests through satellites, drones and sensors;
- precision technologies for indoor farming such as for planting, transplanting, harvesting, watering or applying fertiliser;
- exploitation of big data to improve productivity;
- robotic systems for agriculture including for detecting pests and diseases, making precision applications of agrochemicals and planting and transplanting.
Projects must drive UK growth and exports but need to show equal effort on the UK and Chinese side. There must be involvement from at least one business and one research organisation from each country. Projects also need to work with commercial end users: these could be demonstration sites, farms, laboratories or other research and development facilities in one or both countries.
The deadline for registration is January 15th, 2020. The maximum grant available for UK partners is £500,000 per project. A briefing event will be held on November 5th, 2019 for projects that register by October 23rd.
More information about the grant can be found here.
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