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New £15M programme to stimulate food industry sector growth

Global Food Security Logo Innovate UK website Visit Defra website Visit the Scottish Government website

14 March 2012

£15M is to be invested by the Government in new research and development projects and studies that will stimulate innovation and growth in the UK's food industries.

Up to £15M will be invested in major R&D projects that aim to increase the efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness of the food processing and manufacturing sector, focussing on increasing efficiency and reducing supply chain waste. A further £500,000 - targeted at micro, small and medium-sized companies - will be provided for feasibility studies that will consider better and more cost effective systems and processes, and the delivery of better products and services across the broader agri-food sector.

Jim Paice, Food and Farming Minister, said: "The UK has a world class reputation for innovation. I want to take this strength and use it to the economic advantage of the whole country.

"That's why the Government is investing £15M in the development of cutting edge ideas that increase efficiency and reduce waste in farming, food and drink production and manufacturing.

"By getting businesses innovating and enhancing the UK's reputation as a world class pioneer of new production and manufacturing techniques, the food and farming sector can be a real engine for growth."

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: "There are tremendous opportunities for UK businesses to develop technologies and innovative systems that can improve the competitive position of the food and drink manufacturing sector, which has a turnover of over £75Bn a year, and to help grow the British economy.

"We will be seeking proposals for projects and feasibility studies that will deliver innovation and technological advances throughout the UK's food and drink supply chain, creating opportunities for the export of goods and services to the wider global agri-food industry."

The Food Processing and Manufacturing Efficiency competition for collaborative research and development funding will be managed by the Technology Strategy Board in partnership with Defra, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Scottish Government. The partners are all contributors to the Global Food Security programme.

The primary focus of this competition will be downstream of the 'farm gate' so proposals for projects, which must be business led, will need to secure industrial leadership from the food processing, manufacturing, distribution, retail or food service sectors, rather than those involved in primary production. However, proposals that may generate opportunities for innovation in relevant aspects of primary production are not ruled out. The competition will open on 11 June 2012 and expressions of interest must be submitted by 18 July 2012.

The Innovation for Growth in Agriculture, Food and Drink competition for feasibility study funding is jointly-financed by the Technology Strategy Board and Defra. Grants of up to £25,000 will be available for feasibility studies that will support the rapid development of an innovative idea and demonstrate its practical feasibility.

Open only to micro companies and SMEs, applications will be through a two-minute video submission and a written submission. The competition opens on 16 April 2012, the registration deadline is 16 May 2012 and the deadline for applications and video submissions is 30 May 2012. A series of regional workshops, to explain the competition process, rules and application procedure in more detail, will be held across the country between 20 March and 4 April, followed by a briefing event on 24 April.


About the Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit:

The vision of the Technology Strategy Board is for the UK to be a global leader in innovation and a magnet for innovative businesses, where technology is applied rapidly, effectively and sustainably to create wealth and enhance quality of life. Our approach to accelerating the pace of innovation in the UK is captured in our strategy document, Concept to Commercialisation, published in May 2011. This builds on our first strategy, developed in 2008, and sets out new directions, taking into account the challenges and exciting opportunities that lie ahead. To see the new strategy please visit our website.

The Technology Strategy Board's '_connect' platform provides an effective and powerful way to collaborate online, network and share knowledge with other innovators. It provides a place to work together securely and share information & knowledge. Users can utilise the online tools to work collaboratively, discuss ideas and find events. The networks offer up-to-the minute news on funding, events, articles and publications, plus information about all 15 Knowledge Transfer Networks. Through the networks, users can find potential business partners, entrepreneurs, collaborators, other innovators, researchers and academics.

The Technology Strategy Board is to provide funding up to £8M for this competition, Defra £5.5M, BBSRC £1M and the Scottish Government £0.5M.

Companies and other organisations seeking information about Technology Strategy Board funding competitions should visit the Competitions page of the Technology Strategy Board website, email or phone the Competitions Helpline at 0300 321 4357.

Media enquiries only should be addressed to the Technology Strategy Board's media relations external contacts below. 

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