Defra to launch £12m Farming Innovation Pathways fund

Farmers and businesses can apply to the competition from 1 March 2021
Farmers and businesses can apply to the competition from 1 March 2021

Defra will launch a new research and development competition looking to create new farm-focused innovations to make the industry greener.

The £12m initiative will bring together farmers and businesses to develop novel technological solutions to address the challenges of productivity and sustainability.

Farming Innovation Pathways, delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Defra, is the first competition of its kind following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Both bodies say the competition will pave the way for research and development (R&D) to spearhead future innovation in the British agricultural sector.

A range of projects will be supported, ranging from the initial spark of an idea through to developing transformational technologies that could revitalise farming.

The funding is split between feasibility projects, worth £5 million, and industrial research, worth £7 million.

Defra farming minister Victoria Prentis said the competition offered farmers the opportunity to see their ideas become reality and drive forward green growth.

"We want to see farmers manage their businesses in a way that delivers profitable food production and the recovery of nature, using the best modern technology available today," she said.

"Promising innovations such as robotics and automation, and novel food production systems have the potential to transform business performance for our farmers and help them address some of the industry’s greatest challenges."

Farmers and businesses can apply to the competition on the GOV.UK website from 1 March 2021.