Work on longer-term farming innovations 

The ‘Farming Futures R&D’ competitions are for ambitious research projects that could benefit farmers in England.     

We’re looking to fund products and innovations that help solve longer-term social challenges. Your ideas can be further away from market readiness than typical R&D projects.

Each competition has a different theme.  Previous competition themes were ‘climate smart farming’ which aimed to reduce carbon emissions and ‘sustainable farm-based proteins’ which aimed to improve the sustainability of protein sources.

Depending on the theme, you can apply to lead a project if you’re a:

  • research organisation
  • business registered in the UK

You’ll need to collaborate with at least one other business or research organisation. 

What’s coming up

Full details for each theme and how to apply will be published on the Innovation Funding Service (opens in new window) when competitions open. 

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

Farming Futures (theme 4: Environmental resilience, Feasibility)22 May 202319 July 2023Closed
Farming Futures (theme 4: Environmental resilience, Industrial Research)22 May 202319 July 2023Closed

Work as part of a team

We want to encourage collaboration between farmers, researchers and businesses. We believe that by working together you can develop the solutions and improvements needed to meet environmental and industry challenges.

To apply, you’ll need to collaborate with at least one other business or research organisation. 

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.  

Work with farmers

Farmers, growers or foresters must be involved throughout the project. This is so that any new solutions work for them in practice. 

There are different ways you could collaborate:

  • work with them directly to develop a product (for example on their land)
  • put them on your advisory or project boards
  • regularly check that the product you are developing works for them

Businesses: what you can claim

The amount of funding you can claim depends on the size of your business and the type of project. It’s the same rules if you’re a lead or collaborator.

There is guidance to help you check what size your company is if you’re not sure.

For feasibility or industrial research projects

Size of businessWhat you can claim (% of your project costs)
Small or micro70%
Large 50%

For experimental development projects

Size of businessWhat you can claim (% of your project costs)
Small or micro45%
Large 25%
The types of projects supported and percentages could vary between competitions.

Research organisations: what you can claim

Your project costs are capped at different levels depending on the theme.

ThemeCap on your costs (as % of total project costs)
Environmental resilience (theme 4)50%
Automation and robotics (theme 3)30%
Sustainable farm-based proteins (theme 2)  40-50%
Climate smart farming (theme 1)      30%    
Percentages could vary between competitions.

Worked example

Project costs: £5 million

Cap on your costs: 30% (for example, theme 1)

You’re working on a project that has a total cost of £5 million. In this example, costs for the research organisations involved are capped at 30% (£1.5 million).

You can apply for funding to cover all of your costs. So in this example, research organisations can apply for £1.5 million.