Farming Innovation: find out about funding

The Farming Innovation Programme is part of Defra’s investment in innovation, research and development.

Defra is partnering with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to fund projects that benefit farmers, growers and foresters in England. 

All funding will be awarded through competitions. This means applications for each competition will be judged, and only the successful ones will be funded. 

The programme’s aims are to: 

  • help farmers, growers and foresters increase productivity, sustainability and resilience
  • reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and horticulture
  • apply agricultural research to provide real benefits for farmers, growers and foresters
  • use science to develop solutions for the practical challenges in agriculture and horticulture

To get funding, you must work in collaboration with a team.

Once the competition is open, Innovate UK KTN can help you find the right people to work with (opens in new window) on your project. 

Which competition to apply for

You should consider the type of work you want to do and the amount of funding available. 

You want toCompetition nameProject sizeLength (up to)Who can lead
Explore an idea and develop a teamResearch Starter£28-56K1 yearUK Businesses
Check if an idea works in practice Feasibility Studies£200-500K2 yearsUK Businesses
Develop a new product or serviceSmall R&D partnerships

Large R&D partnerships
£1-3 million

£3-5 million
3 years

4 years
UK Businesses

UK Businesses
Work on longer-term innovationsFarming Futures R&D£200K – 6 million 2 to 5 yearsResearch
or UK businesses

Plan ahead – competition schedule

Competitions will be published on the Innovation Funding Service (opens in new window) as they open, with full eligibility and application information for each one. 

You can find early information here to help you plan ahead.

More about the Farming Innovation Programme

Funding will be awarded through a range of competitions from 2021 for a number of years. 

This is part of Defra’s Future Farming and Countryside Programme (opens in new window).

All the competitions in the programme have been developed so that insights from science and business can be applied to challenges in agriculture and horticulture.

We want to encourage this collaboration to develop solutions and improvements that can meet real environmental and industry challenges.

Previous competitions

You can check dates for previous competition rounds.

Competition nameOpenedClosedStatus
Farming Futures (theme 3: Automation and robotics, Industrial Research)09 Jan 2317 Mar 23Closed
Farming Futures (theme 3: Automation and robotics, Experimental Development)09 Jan 2317 Mar 23Closed
Research Starter (round 3)30 Jan 2308 Mar 23Closed
Small R&D partnerships (round 2)31 Aug 2202 Nov 22Closed
Feasibility Studies (round 2)31 Aug 2212 Oct 22Closed
Farming Futures (theme 2: sustainable farm-based proteins)25 Jul 2221 Sep 22Closed
Research Starter (round 2)23 May 2206 Jul 22Closed
Large R&D partnerships (round 1)30 Mar 2229 Jun 22Closed
Farming Futures (theme 1: climate smart farming)30 Mar 2218 May 22Closed
Research Starter (round 1)20 Oct 2124 Nov 21Closed
Feasibility (round 1)20 Oct 2101 Dec 21Closed
Small R&D partnerships (round 1)20 Oct 2101 Dec 21Closed

Further information