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Farm Innovation Research and Development Fund – Open now!

Farm Innovation Research and Development Fund – Open now!

Do you have a bright idea that will help the UK Agriculture sector become more efficient?

Applications are now open for a new competition in which DEFRA, in partnership with UK Research and Innovation, is making £17,500,000 available for the first round of three funds, which include:

1.       Industry Led R&D Partnerships Fund (ILRD)

Farmers, Growers, foresters and businesses can bid for funding to develop new technologies and practices to help them overcome challenges and exploit new opportunities in the sector, such as the use of artificial intelligence and low emission machineries to optimise production process and development of climate resilient crops.

2.       Farming Futures R&D Fund (FFRD)

Will open early 2022 for strategic projects aimed at tackling climate change by reducing the environmental impact of farming

3.       Projects to Accelerate Adoption Fund (PAAF)

Will open late 2022 to support farmer-led projects to trial the viability of new innovations on farm.

Within the Industry Led R&D Partnerships Fund (ILRD) there will be four competitions, the first three open from 20th October 2021 and application is open for 5-6 weeks. The fourth competition will be rolled out in early 2022.


Research Starter Projects

Expression of interest stage


·         Bold, ambitious early-stage ideas

·         Build collaborative teams

·         If you are successful in this stage you’ll be invited to submit a full application and have access to independent support

For projects which the estimated project costs are between £28,000 and £56,000


Feasibility Projects

·         Test the feasibility of early-stage solutions

·         Inform decisions on subsequent larger scale R&D Projects

For projects which the eligible project costs are between £200,000 and £500,000


Small R&D Partnership Projects

·         To carry out R&D for innovative solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of the sector

For projects which the eligible project costs are between £1,000,000 and £3,000,000


Large R&D Partnership Projects

·         Further details to be released in early 2022.

For projects which the eligible project costs are between £3,000,000 and £5,000,000

There isn’t long to apply as the deadline for all three competitions is the 1st December 2021.

Example Projects

DEFRA have also announced the winners from a previous similar competition which included:

-          a model to use soldier flies to create a low-cost, protein-rich animal feed from farm waste, enabling farmers to recover value from otherwise unusable waste. This also promotes circular farming practices in which resources are turned into new products at the end of their life

-          a fruit-scouting robot that monitors the growth-stages of crops, up to determining fruit ripeness, size and optimal picking time, to allow farmers to maximise production and yields

The above grant competition is not to be confused with Farming Investment Fund which will include grant funding for capital item investments which will be split into two categories.

1.       Farming Equipment and Technology Fund – lower value items

2.       Farming Transformation Fund – higher value items

Applications for the Farming Investment Fund are due to open in October 2021.

If you would like to discuss your idea and the application process, contact our Professional department here or call 01884 235701.