The big news from the Cluster this month is the award of funding for Agri-Gate, a new innovation facility in Cambridgeshire for applied research to reduce waste in the food chain and improve production efficiency.
Agri-Gate will include testing facilities and allow the demonstration of new technologies. The different soil types around the Fens offer great opportunities to really test our innovations in the field and it has been heartening to hear how many local farmers are keen to offer their land up as test beds for new technologies. This really is the region for innovation.
Funding of £500,000 from the Eastern Agri-Tech Initiative has been agreed to support the initiative, which is a result of the long-standing collaboration between NIAB and growers group G’s, Agri-Gate is open for business for growers and processors looking to develop new projects. Anyone interested in discussing potential new projects should get in touch here.
Other funding success
Early stage feasibility studies are usually done on an idea or concept that is a long way from market. Although the risk of failure is high if they do succeed then the next step is to demonstrate the concept works by developing a prototype. In the case of a crop this means moving it from small scale in the lab to growing under controlled conditions in a glasshouse or even in the field.
National and local public funding is available to help move through these stages. In particular, the Agri-Tech Catalyst fund, available from the Technology Strategy Board, offers funding from early stage feasibility to experimental development. (Funding for collaborative projects is also available from the European Commission, but that’s not for the faint-hearted!).
There have been notable success stories within the Cluster at winning national funding, for example,Kings Lynn based seed company Germains and Cambridge company Cambivac have both won early stage feasibility awards from the Agri-Tech Catalyst fund. More information about their projects and the other winners is here.
Local grants for businesses are also available for from the Eastern Agri-Tech Iniitative for businesses within Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Grants ranging from £10k to £150k, depending on the project, funding is available for R&D and prototyping, as well as business growth. Activities which are in and out of scope are described here. The fund is only open until March 2015 but you will get an answer within 45 days of submitting your proposal.
We need to be smarter at accessing and leveraging public funding. Agri-Tech East can help signpost you to the different funding opportunities, and people who can advise you on the relevance of your idea. We can also help you connect with like-minded people to build collaborations to apply for the funds which need one or more partners.
Do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your interest in collaborations.