Funding competition Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 1 - Industrial Research

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £15 million across the two strands of this competition, to develop innovative solutions for nutrient management. This funding is from the Farming Futures R&D Fund.

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Competition sections

Description

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will invest up to £15 million in innovation projects.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, which is a partnership with and delivered by Innovate UK.

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative development projects with ambitious solutions to address the challenges related to nutrient management in soils and water associated with agricultural livestock and crop production. The solutions provided will enable sustainable and resilient farming.

Nutrient management involves using nutrients, both organic and manufactured, as efficiently as possible to maximise plant uptake, crop growth and yield. It also includes applying nutrients where and when they can be best utilised by plants, thereby combating run-off and soil erosion. Good nutrient management should increase productivity whilst protecting the environment by minimising nutrient loss.

Projects should align with the following Defra targets and commitments:

  • the Environment Improvement Plan to reduce nitrogen, phosphate and sediment pollution by 40% by 2038
  • the Clean Air Strategy to reduce emissions of ammonia by 16% by 2030
  • to achieve Net Zero by 2050 where the agriculture contribution is 33%

Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers and growers in England.

This competition is split into 2 strands:

Strand 1: Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 1 - Feasibility

Strand 2: Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 1 - Industrial Research (this strand)

It is your responsibility to ensure you submit your application to the correct strand for your project. You will not be able to transfer your application and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition has a funding limit, so we may not be able to fund all the proposed projects. It may be the case that your project scores highly but we are still unable to fund it.

It is proposed that Innovate UK will run an additional competition, Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 2 - Industrial Research, in Autumn 2024. This Phase 2 competition will have higher project costs than can be supported through the Phase 1 competition.

This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated in this Innovate UK competition brief. We cannot guarantee other government or third party sites will always show the correct competition information.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total costs must be between £500,000 and £1 million.

Accessibility and Inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes making reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us.

You can contact us at any time to ask for guidance.

We recommend you contact us at least 15 working days before this competition’s closing date to allow us to put the most suitable support in place. The support we can provide may be limited if you contact us close to the competition deadline.

You can contact Innovate UK by email or call 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm UK time, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £500,000 and £1 million
  • start by 1 January 2025
  • end by 31 December 2026 for 24 month duration projects
  • end by 31 December 2027 for 36 month duration projects
  • last between 24 and 36 months
  • be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers or growers in England
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs in the application.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application in each strand of this competition.

A business can also be included as a collaborator in two further applications in each of the 2 strands of the competition.

If an organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications across both strands of the competition.

Use of animals in research and innovation

Innovate UK expects and supports the provision and safeguarding of welfare standards for animals used in research and innovation, according to best practice and up to date guidance.

Applicants must ensure that all of the proposed work within projects, both that in the UK and internationally, will comply with the UKRI guidance on the use of animals in research and innovation.

Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

You can make a maximum of two submissions to Innovate UK with any given proposal. If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be counted towards this maximum.

If your application goes through to assessment and is unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see the Windsor Framework to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

Funding

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has allocated £15 million across two strands of this competition to fund innovation projects. This competition is in partnership with and delivered by Innovate UK.

Funding for this competition will be in the form of a grant.

A minimum of 50% of the total grant amount requested by farmers or growers must be allocated to farmers or growers geographically based in England.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

The balance between your total project costs and the amount of grant awarded must be funded by the organisation receiving the grant.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 50% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative research and development projects with ambitious solutions to address the challenges related to nutrient management in soils and water associated with agricultural livestock and crop production. The solutions provided will enable sustainable and resilient farming.

Nutrient management involves using nutrients (both organic and manufactured) as efficiently as possible to maximise plant uptake, crop growth and yield. It also includes applying nutrients where and when they can be best utilised by plants, thereby combating run-off and soil erosion. Good nutrient management should increase productivity whilst protecting the environment by minimising nutrient loss.

Projects must develop ambitious new solutions that:

  • improve soil and water based nitrogen and phosphate nutrient management
  • provide a positive impact on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions
  • are applicable to manage nutrients from farm crop waste, from farm animal waste, or from commercial chemical and artificial fertilisers
  • consider industrial and domestic wastes that are already used in agriculture, but the focus is on farm wastes (new waste streams are not included)
  • lead to improvement of ground and river water quality
  • reduce nitrogen, phosphate and sediment run-off and pollution

Some examples of approaches that may be supported under this theme include but are not restricted to, developing products including:

  • novel organic material treatment technologies, for example, slurry concentration or additives
  • technologies that allow for more cost-effective transport of products derived from organic materials, for example, pelletisation or dewatering
  • extraction or partitioning technologies for key nutrients from organic material, for example, macro and micronutrients
  • technologies for the removal of contaminants
  • improving our understanding of bio stimulants, and how increased nutrient uptake could reduce amounts of nutrient applied to crops
  • emerging technologies to treat manures and create incomes streams from these products, for example, gas capture, fuel pellets, growing media, building materials
  • developing innovative spreading and application technologies to increase productivity and accuracy and reduce environmental impact
  • adapted fertilisers which reduce risk of leaching and run off
  • improving water quality through recovery of waste materials

Projects could develop ambitious solutions that:

  • process farm waste to extract biomaterials or add value if this reduces the nutrient load to soil and water
  • process farm waste to extract or to optimise nutrient levels of Nitrogen and Phosphate
  • enable better targeted application of nutrients and avoid surplus application
  • improve handling, treatment and storage of on–farm wastes
  • improve plant nutrient demand and uptake techniques, including bio stimulants
  • improve anaerobic digestion processes and improve the processing of digestate to optimise it's nutrient quality for accurate and precise distribution
  • improve ability and efficiency to transport nutrients from farm waste from areas of surplus to areas of demand
  • provide opportunities through livestock feed and diet amendments to reduce nutrients in waste streams
  • provide opportunities through circular economy approaches to recover nutrients and useful products from farm waste

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities, regions, scope areas, research categories and agricultural sectors. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following:

Livestock

  • monogastric
  • ruminant

Plant

  • broadacre: cereals, root crops, grassland
  • horticulture: field based and specialist growers
  • fruit: top fruit, stone fruit and soft fruit
  • vineyard
  • protected cropping: glass and polytunnel systems
  • controlled environment and vertical farming systems

Your project could focus on technologies including, but not limited to the following:

  • automation and machines
  • sensing devices and analysis systems to manage and control a wider process
  • animal and plant breeding including precision breeding of plants
  • soil, water or air treatments
  • waste treatment processes
  • storage methods or treatment of farm waste to enable efficient transport to other regions
  • artificial fertilisers and application methods
  • processes to extract specific nutrients
  • processes to turn farm waste into useful materials
  • processes to turn farm waste to energy

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that:

  • are not addressing on farm utilisation of nutrients in plant or livestock sectors
  • are forestry specific
  • are novel food production systems
  • are equine specific
  • involve wild caught fisheries
  • involve aquaculture for fish production or human consumption
  • are for the production of crops or plants for medicinal or pharmaceutical use
  • do not benefit farmers or growers in England
  • are circular energy production specific
  • are intended to process materials from new waste streams that are not currently used as soil nutrient sources in UK agriculture

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product
29 May 2024
Competition opens
30 May 2024
Online briefing event: join at 11.30am
(Briefing slides will be available to download from supporting information after the event)
5 June 2024
Consortia building event at 2pm: register here
24 July 2024 11:00am
Competition closes
29 August 2024
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:

  • that all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
  • all sections of the application are marked as complete
  • that all partners have completed all assigned sections and accepted the terms and conditions (T&Cs)

You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.

What we ask you

The application is split into three sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

Accessibility and Inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes making reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us.

You can contact us at any time to ask for guidance.

We recommend you contact us at least 15 working days before this competition’s closing date to allow us to put the most suitable support in place. The support we can provide may be limited if you contact us close to the competition deadline.

You can contact Innovate UK by email or call 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm UK time, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

1. Project details

This section provides background for your application and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on your project and invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 200 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope, it will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from questions 1 to 5. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess and how we select applications for funding.

You must answer all questions. Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation and any partners or subcontractors working on your project.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Question 2. Animal testing (not scored)

Will your project involve any trials with animals or animal testing?

You must select one option:

  • Yes
  • No

We will only support innovation projects conducted to the highest standards of animal welfare.

Further information for proposals involving animal testing is available at the UKRI Good Research Hub and NC3R’s animal welfare guidance.

Question 3. Permits and licences (not scored)

Will you have the correct permits and licences in place to carry out your project?

We are unable to fund projects who do not have the correct permits or licences in place by your project start date.

You must select one option:

  • Yes
  • No
  • In process of being applied for
  • Not applicable

Question 4. Farmers or growers location (not scored)

You must provide the location address for any farmers or growers requesting grant funding in your project. This is required for subsidy control and eligibility purposes.

Note. If your project has farmers or growers requesting grant funding, a minimum of 50% of the amount requested by those organisations, must come from farmers or growers geographically based in England.

If no farmers or growers are requesting grant funding, please leave this box blank.

Question 5. Equality, diversity and inclusion (not scored)

How have you incorporated equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) into your project delivery and project outcomes?

Describe or explain the details relating to any challenges or opportunities relating to EDI arising from your project, and the methods and approaches used to address them:

  • during project delivery
  • for governance
  • for project team and advisory boards
  • for stakeholder and end-user engagement
  • for design thinking

Note: Questions relating to EDI will not form part of the funding decision but will be used to inform the development of EDI activities for the competition cohort.

Question 6. Need or challenge

What is the business need, technological challenge, or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Explain:

  • the main motivation for the project and what aspects of nutrient management you are planning to address
  • the farming or agricultural problem, need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • whether you have identified any similar innovation and its current limitations, including those close to market or in development
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example, if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • how your project outputs would deliver significant improvements in agricultural productivity, resilience and sustainability
  • what benefits will English farmers or growers gain from your project
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations

Question 7. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • what is new and novel about your technology related to nutrient management
  • how you will deliver nutrient management outcomes and how these can be demonstrated or measured
  • how will your innovation integrate with or replace existing agricultural systems and technologies to deliver improved productivity and sustainability
  • how will you improve on any similar innovation that you have identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project, for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design,and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • how you will work with farmers and growers throughout the project to ensure outputs remain focussed on end-user needs
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any roles you will need to recruit for

You can submit one appendix, with a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to four A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Market awareness

What does the market or markets you are targeting look like?

Describe:

  • the target markets for the project outcomes and any other potential markets, either domestic, international or both
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 10. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase long term productivity as a result of the project?

Explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why they would use or buy your product
  • what will drive farmers and growers to adopt your technology, what are the benefits in terms of nutrient management and how can they be demonstrated
  • how easily your technology can be integrated into existing systems
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example, through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 11. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe and, where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:

  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the supply chain
  • broader industry
  • the UK economy

Describe and, where possible, measure:

  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative, on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 12. Project management

How will you manage your project effectively?

Explain:

  • the main work packages of your project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 13. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, and data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and other requirements identified, and how you will manage this

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long, and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 14. Added value

How will this public funding help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your project towards commercialisation? What impact would this award have on the organisations involved?

Explain:

  • what advantages public funding would offer your project, for example: appeal to investors, more partners, reduced risk or a faster route to market
  • the likely impact of the project outcomes on the organisations involved
  • what other routes of investment or means of support you have already engaged with and why they were not suitable
  • how any existing or potential investment or support will be used in conjunction with the grant funding
  • what your project would look like without public funding
  • how this project would change the R&D activities of all the organisations involved

Question 15. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

In terms of your project goals, explain:

  • your total project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to your project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to your project

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance. You can also view our Application Finances video.

Background and further information

This funding is from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Farming Innovation Programme in partnership with and delivered by Innovate UK.

The Farming Innovation Programme will fund ambitious research and development projects to overcome barriers and create a more productive and sustainable sector. Projects will benefit England’s farmers growers and other organisations to conduct R&D. These projects will help boost productivity, enhance sustainable practices, support economic growth, improve environmental outcomes and reduce carbon emissions in England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors.

The programme provides a key means to deliver against the government’s goals. The goals are set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, 25 Year Environment Plan, Environmental Improvement Plan, Government’s Food Strategy, Clean Air Strategy and Net Zero targets. The government’s aims are to develop a renewed agricultural sector, producing healthy food for consumption at home and abroad, where farms can be profitable and economically sustainable without subsidy. This gives farming the opportunity to contribute significantly to environmental goals, including addressing climate change.

The Farming Innovation Programme is made up of three funds. Two of these, the Industry-led R&D Partnerships Fund, and Farming Futures R&D Fund, are being delivered in partnership with UKRI. This competition is part of the Industry-led R&D Fund.

The aim of this funding support is to:

  • investigate solutions that have the potential to substantially improve the overall productivity and sustainability of farming, and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
  • prioritise solutions that will have positive outputs for farmers or growers in commercially relevant situations
  • accelerate research and development of new agricultural solutions by actively engaging collaboration with the wider UK research community in the innovation process
  • create opportunities for government and the farming industry to work together to make farming greener and more productive
  • help grow the economy, create jobs and improve food security

Defra’s partnership with UKRI

Defra and UKRI have developed a strong partnership for agrifood and agriculture innovation. This is built upon the success of UKRI’s Transforming Food Production (TFP) Challenge, the recent Farming Innovation Pathways competition, and our shared ambition for a more productive, sustainable, and low carbon agrifood sector. We are taking this partnership to the next level with Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme.

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, and The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) (each an ‘agency’).

Any relevant information submitted and produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to Defra and vice versa. This would include, but is not restricted to:

  • the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
  • scoring and feedback on the application
  • information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports

Innovate UK and Defra are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, and Defra will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy

Defra’s Privacy Policy

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, and is committed to upholding data protection legislation, and protecting your information in accordance with data protection principles.

The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Find a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK Business Connect.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK Business Growth

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK Business Growth. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with Innovate UK Business Growth, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Assessment

Your application will be reviewed by five independent assessors based on the content of your application and their skills or expertise relevant to your project. All of the scores awarded will count towards the total score used to make the funding decision unless you are notified otherwise.

You can find out more about our assessment process in the General Guidance.

Your submitted application will be assessed against these criteria.

Briefing slides

Briefing slides will be available to download here after the briefing event.

Next steps

If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project.

You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your Innovation Funding Service (IFS) Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin.

You will need to provide:

  • the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
  • a redacted copy of your bank details
  • a collaboration agreement
  • an exploitation plan

In order for us to process your claims, you must make sure you have a valid UK business bank account. It can take several weeks for a new account to be created if required. We recommend starting this process as early as possible to avoid any delays to your project start date.

The bank account which the grant is to be paid into must:

  • be a business account in the same name as the organisation listed in IFS
  • be from a UK bank regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
  • have a cheque and credit clearing facility

Online accounts are eligible as long as they meet the above criteria.

Innovate UK will accept most banking societies apart from:

  • Viva Wallet
  • Intesa Sanpaolo
  • Equals Money UK Limited

If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker. If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.

Finance checks

We will carry out checks to make sure you are an established company with access to the funds necessary to complete the project.

You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays.

Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.

Your Grant offer letter (GOL)

Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your GOL.

The GOL will be made available on your IFS portal. You will need to sign and upload this for us to approve. Once approved we will send you an email with permission to start your project on your confirmed start date.

You must not start your project before the date stated on your email and GOL. Any costs incurred before your agreed start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.

If your GOL is approved on or before the fifteenth of the month it will be dated from the first of that month. If your GOL is approved after the fifteenth, it will be dated the first of the next month.

If your application is unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.

Sometimes your application will have scored well, and you will receive positive comments from the assessors. You may be unsuccessful as your average score was not above the funding threshold or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if this is applied for this competition.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email support@iuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm UK time, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Innovate UK or any of our partners will not tolerate abusive language in any written or verbal correspondence, applications, social media or any other form that might affect staff.

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