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Still time for agri-food tech businesses to apply for growth-boosting grants of up to £300,000


Still time for agri-food tech businesses to apply for growth-boosting grants of up to £300,000

There is still time for businesses in the agri-tech, agri-biotech and food-tech sectors to apply for grants and support to boost innovation and growth.

A partnership of four counties across Eastern England, including the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, launched a programme with Government to grow the sector with funding and support packages ranging from £25,000 to £300,000. The deadline for registering applications is December 6.

Eastern England, including the Combined Authority region, has secured up to £7.5m of new investment through the Launchpads programme.

The grants and support will help accelerate innovation projects for driving agricultural productivity, quality food production and novel food production systems.

The Eastern England Agri-Food and Food Tech Launchpad is funded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation. It is designed to build on innovation clusters around the UK that have significant growth potential and to deliver jobs, supporting the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

To be eligible, projects must make a significant contribution to one or more of the following:

  • Enhancing the productivity of primary crops, the bioeconomy, livestock, aquaculture or ornamental plants.
  • Biotechnologies related to agriculture, food and nutrition.
  • Food that promotes safe, healthy and nutritious diets.
  • Resource-efficient production methods for low-emission foods.

Projects can focus on one or more of the following:

  • Sustainability in the context of environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity.
  • Protecting, maintaining or enhancing animal welfare within current UK regulatory standard.
  • Nutritional composition, food manufacturing and processing, packaging, and safety.
  • Minimising negative effects such as pollution, food loss and waste.
  • Resilience and responsiveness in the supply chain, mitigating risks, interruptions or disruptions.

The Launchpad has been developed jointly by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, the Greater Lincolnshire and New Anglia LEPs and Innovate UK, and tailored to the region’s needs. The Launchpad has engaged with a number of organisations to develop the partnership in the sector including businesses, industry groups, universities, and research institutes.

Businesses must be active, or growing their work activities, within the agri and food tech clusters within Cambridgeshire, Greater Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

With existing strengths in agri-food technology, as well as  AI, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology, the Combined Authority is focussed on helping make the cluster a global hub for innovation.

Deputy Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Cllr Anna Smith, said: “We are aiming to make our region a global centre for innovation in agri-tech and innovative high-quality food production, so it is fantastic that, with local partners, the Combined Authority has been able to launch this important new Government-funded programme. This is a really strong platform for further sustainable, dynamic growth in these sectors, benefitting the local economy, businesses and communities.

Chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Business Board, Al Kingsley, said: “We already have a nationally renowned agri-tech cluster and our local industrial strategy, the Economic Growth Strategy, has identified it as a priority sector for growth. This Launchpad will support investments already made by the Combined Authority and partners in this burgeoning industry, and help us deliver the sustainable jobs, skills and growth our economy needs to continue to thrive.”

Innovate UK CEO, Indro Mukerjee, said: “Innovate UK is building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. Our new Launchpads will help to attract further private sector R&D investment into innovation clusters, growing local economies and delivering societal and economic benefits to local communities.”

To find out more and to apply to the Eastern Agri-Food Innovation Launchpad competition visit https://iuk.ktn-uk.org/programme/launchpads/

The original launch press release can be read here.