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Agri-Tech Catalyst

Helping to commercialise UK agricultural innovation.

Call status: Open
Round 2 registration deadline: 4 June 2014
Round 2 application deadline: 11 June 2014

Round 1 is closed to applications, successful early-stage feasibility and late-stage projects to be announced soon. Selected industrial research awards applications have been invited to submit full stage proposals, we expect successful projects to be announced in April 2014.

Round 3 opens August 2014 (to be confirmed).

Agricultural science and technology is one of the world's fastest-growing and exciting markets driven by global challenges:

  • a rising population
  • rapid development of emerging economies
  • shortages of land, water and energy

Summary

The Agri-Tech Catalyst has been set up by the Technology Strategy Board and BBSRC with £70M investment to help make the UK a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability. The Department for International Development is contributing £10M to the Catalyst, to support the transfer of technology and new products to developing countries.

Scientific objectives

The Agri-Tech Catalyst is now open for applications, to support businesses and academia in developing innovative solutions to challenges in the agri-tech sector.

The Agri-Tech Catalyst will fund proposals relating to:

  • primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture
  • non-food uses of arable crops (for example, for biomass)
  • food security and nutrition challenges in international development
  • challenges in downstream food processing, provided the solution lies in primary production

The Agri-Tech Catalyst will not fund equine-related proposals, or proposals relating to forestry or wild-capture fisheries.

With two competitions per year, the Agri-Tech Catalyst will award grants for early-stage pre-industrial research feasibility studies, industrial research, and late-stage pre-experimental feasibility studies and experimental development.

Early-stage awards

These projects will explore the commercial potential of an early-stage scientific idea through feasibility studies.

  • Projects can be business-led or academic-led
  • Duration: up to 18 months
  • Total project costs: £150k to £500k
  • Total academic partner costs must not exceed 50% of total project costs
  • Funding of up to 75% of the total eligible project costs available for businesses (75% for SMEs, 65% for large companies)

To apply download: Early-Stage Awards guidance (external PDF).

Industrial research awards

These projects will aim to develop innovative solutions, e.g. through field trials, lab-based prototyping, product development planning and market testing.

  • Projects must be business-led
  • Duration: three to five years
  • Total project costs: up to £3M
  • Total academic partner costs must not exceed 50% of total project costs
  • Funding of up to 60% of the total eligible project costs available for businesses (60% for SMEs, 50% for large companies)

To apply download: Industrial Research Awards guidance (external PDF), see also eligibility criteria below.

Late-stage awards

These projects evaluate the commercial potential of a scientific application. This can be through pre-experimental feasibility studies or through experimental development including field-based prototyping and experimental production and testing.

Pre-experimental feasibility studies

  • Business-led collaborative projects involving other business partners, enabling the evaluation of the commercial potential of a scientific application.
  • Duration: up to 12 months
  • Total project costs: £150k to £500k
  • Academic researchers may participate as subcontractors to a business partner
  • Funding of up to 50% of the total eligible project costs available for businesses (50% for SMEs, 40% for large companies)

Experimental development

  • Business-led collaborative projects that enable qualification of the commercial potential of a scientific application
  • Duration: up to 12 months
  • Total project costs: up to £1M
  • Academics may participate as subcontractors to a business partner
  • Funding of up to 35% of the total eligible project costs available for businesses (35% for SMEs, 25% for large companies)

To apply download: Late-Stage Awards guidance (external PDF), see also eligibility criteria below.

Visit the Technology Strategy Board's funding rules guidelines page for definitions of the research categories and intervention rates for business partners.

Eligibility and how to apply

The Agri-Tech Catalyst is a multi-year programme with rounds opening approximately every 6 months.

To enter the Agri-Tech Catalyst competition, the lead partner for your project must register via the competition website at www.innovateuk.org. If you require further information or have a query regarding this competition, please contact the Business Support Group Helpdesk on: E-mail: competitions@innovateuk.org Tel: 0300 321 4357

Subject to eligibility, any UK business or academic undertaking research and development may apply.

All projects must be collaborative. Developing country partners must be involved for applicants targeting international development.

See also: More about the application process (PDF 421KB).

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