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Farming Innovation Programme: Research Starter Round 3. EoI Farming, growing or forestry businesses based in England can apply for a share of up to £850,000 for feasibility projects to improve productivity, sustainability, resilience and move the agricultural sector to net zero.  Eligibility This competition is open to single applicants only. To lead a project your organisation must: be an active farming, growing or forestry business of any size based in England be able to evidence that you are an established business, including sole traders and partnerships not have been awarded Innovate UK funding as a project lead within the last 5 years before 8 March 2023 Opening soon Opens: 30 January 2023 Closes: 8 March 2023

Programme: Innovate Uk

Award:

Opens: 30 January 2023

Closes: 8 March 2023

Description

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will invest up to £850,000 in innovation projects.

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.

The aim of this competition is to:

  • investigate early-stage solutions with the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability, resilience and move existing agricultural sectors to net zero
  • prioritise solutions that have positive outputs for farmers, growers or foresters in commercially relevant situations
  • accelerate development of effective new agricultural solutions by working with end-users and collaborating with the wider UK research community in the innovation process 

This is an expression of interest (EoI) stage of a two stage competition. If your application is successful you will be invited to apply to a full stage competition.

This two stage competition is designed to make funding accessible to a wider range of applicants. If you are successful in the EoI stage, you will be able to access independent support to help complete the full stage application for grant funding. The full stage will open in May 2023.

Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how your project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Detailed project costs are not required at this EoI stage. At the full application stage your project’s total costs must be between £28,000 and £56,000.

Who can apply

If you are successful at full stage, any awards given to primary agricultural producers are subject to the green box exemption under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. Please see further guidance on green box subsidies here WTO Guidance for support in Agriculture. Applicants receiving this type of support must ensure that there is minimal to no distortion of trade and comply with the requirements of Annex 2 of the Agriculture Agreement.

Your project

If your application is successful at this EoI stage, you will be invited to apply for a full stage competition. In the full stage you must collaborate with other eligible partners.

Your full stage project must:

  • have total costs between £28,000 and £56,000
  • start by 1 November 2023
  • end by 31 October 2024
  • last between 6 and 12 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in England

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 an active farming, growing or forestry business of any size based in England
  • be able to evidence that you are an established business, including sole traders and partnerships
  • have a UK bank account
  • not have been awarded Innovate UK funding as a project lead within the last 5 years before 8 March 2023

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

Project team

To collaborate with the lead at the full stage, an organisation must be a farmer, grower or forester based in the UK or a UK registered:

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

Subcontractors

Subcontractors will be allowed at the full stage of this competition.

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

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

Number of applications

A farming, growing or forestry business can only lead on one EoI application.

Previous applications

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

At the full application stage 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 our general guidance 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 & Rural Affairs (Defra) has allocated up to £850,000 to fund innovation projects in this competition. Defra will be working in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Transforming Food Production Challenge to deliver this competition.

Funding for the full stage will be in the form of a grant.

A minimum of 50% of the total grant amount requested by farmers, growers and foresters in the full stage application, must come from farmers or growers geographically based in England.

At the full application stage, 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.

For feasibility studies 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. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

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 full stage project can share up to 60% 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 60% 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

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