Growing Kent and Medway: Collaborative Research and Development UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million for business-focused innovation in the horticultural food supply chain. Eligibility This competition is open to collaborative applications only. To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered: business of any size carry out your project activity in the Kent and Medway (K&M) area You must involve at least one research organisation from the K&M area. Open now Opened: 6 September 2021 Closes: 20 October 2021

Programme: Innovate Uk


Opens: 6 September 2021

Closes: 20 October 2021


This competition is delivered in partnership with the Growing Kent and Medway consortium led by the National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB).It is funded by the UKRI Strength in Places Fund to invest up to £2 million in innovation projects.

These will be to stimulate an uplift in the region’s economy through inclusive and innovation-led growth.

It focuses on:

  • horticultural production including the production of novel, high-value compounds from plants
  • fresh produce packaging
  • food and drink processing
  • enabling technologies that underpin the supply chain.

The aim of this competition is to support business-focused innovation. Specifically, it aims to support transition to net-zero, and deliver improved productivity and sustainability in horticultural food and drink production.

Your proposal must demonstrate the potential to positively impact on the economy of the K&M area.

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


Project size

You must request a grant of no less than £50,000 and no more than £250,000 for your project.

Who can apply

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

Your project must:

  • be undertaken in the Kent and Medway area
  • claim a grant between £50,000 and £250,000
  • start by 1 May 2022
  • end by 31 October 2024
  • last between 12 months and 30 months
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the K&M area

If your project's eligibility falls outside the green box subsidy exemption or your total grant requests, duration, geographical area falls outside our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request. If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us you will be made ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • include a minimum of 2 in the consortium
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the K&M area

The lead organisation must collaborate with at least one of the following research organisations or research and technology organisations in the K&M area:

  • NIAB
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Kent
  • Canterbury Christ Church University

Academic institutions cannot lead.

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 organisation
  • public sector organisation
  • research organisation (RO) and research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

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


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK, including outside of the K&M area, you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from outside of the K&M area but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the K&M area.

You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Overseas subcontractors are only allowed in exceptional circumstances. If you think this applies to you, please email for approval at least 10 working days before the competition closes with your justification.

Number of applications

If a business leads a project, it can collaborate on a further two projects.

Businesses can only lead on one application, if a business is not leading a project they can collaborate on any number of applications.

Academic institutions, charities and not for profit RO or RTO can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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 UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must make sure at all times 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.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Eligibility overview

Here is a diagram showing a summary of eligibility.

This is a new way of showing you eligibility. Your feedback will help us to improve it.

Eligibility Tree - Kent Medway V3.pdf (opens in a new window)


We have allocated up to £2 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If the majority of 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.

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

  • up to 40% if you are a micro or small organisation, a medium-sized organisation or a large organisation, to a maximum of £250,000 of grant claim

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 project can share up to 30% 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 30% 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 eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, non-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

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