Farming Innovation Pathways – ISCF and Defra

Type of funding: Feasibility Studies and Industrial Research

Funded through Defra’s Future Farming & Countryside Programme, this £12 million opportunity will bring together farmers, growers and businesses, enabling them to develop novel technological solutions.

Through its dual-pronged approach, the competition will support a range of exciting projects. Ranging from the initial spark of an idea through to developing transformational technologies that could revitalise farming practice and be taken up across the sector.

Crucially, Farming Innovation Pathways aims to support the adoption of innovative technologies and practices, so it will be vital for applicants to develop solutions with the engagement of farmers and growers.

The funding is split between:

Feasibility projects (£5m): to evaluate the potential of early-stage ideas or innovations that tackle on-farm challenges, that could lead to further R&D to develop ideas into technically and commercially feasible solutions. Feasibility Studies costs are between £75,000 and £250,000.

Industrial research (£7m): to develop novel high-potential solutions targeting real issues affecting farmers, growers and other agribusinesses, or further develop existing solutions. This will deliver transformative solutions that tackle problems farmers are currently facing. It will include working with stakeholders to assess how solutions will be integrated within production systems to achieve widespread adoption. Industrial Research Projects costs are between £250,000 and £750,000.

Deadline: 28/04/2021

Eligibility criteria:

Funding for this competition is from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Future Farming and Countryside Programme. Your project can be based anywhere in the UK but must generate benefits to the English farming sector.

This competition is for collaborative feasibility studies or industrial research projects only.

Your proposal should focus on the early-stage development of technologies, systems or approaches that will make significant steps towards improving productivity, increasing sustainability and resilience. It must:

demonstrate or deliver outcomes or benefits for farmers
help the agriculture sector to move towards achieving net zero emissions by 2040

We expect your project to have clear links to farmers, growers, agri-businesses, and other potential end users. Your proposal must show that you have considered the appropriate business models and routes to adoption and have sought the relevant expertise to enable this.

You must address problems identified by farmer and industry needs so that your innovative solution can be integrated into the sector with the potential to be widely adopted.

Your project

Your project must:

have total eligible costs between £75,000 and £250,000
start by 1 October 2021
last between 12 and 18 months
Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

be a UK registered business of any size, academic institution, research organisation or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations or RTOs
carry out its project work in the UK
intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
Research organisation led projects must collaborate with at least one business.

Further information can be found here.