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Farming Futures: automation and robotics, experimental development

Fund Name

Farming Futures: automation and robotics, experimental development

Project Length

24-36 months

Project Value

£750k-£1.5m

Deadline

15.03.2023

This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative development projects with ambitious solutions for robotics and automation in agriculture and horticulture to:

  • support specific recommendations for automation innovation funding from recent Defra reviews and the Government Food Strategy
  • address key issues affecting the sector, where automation and robotics can mitigate labour challenges and increase productivity.

Check Your Eligibility

Fund Details

This competition is split into 2 strands. In this strand 2 for experimental development, you must accelerate the deployment and uptake of innovation for robotics and automation in agriculture and horticulture that is almost at commercial stage.

The innovative technologies in your proposal must focus on one or more of the following:

  • robotic and automated machines and systems for static or mobile operation
  • imaging, sensing, and monitoring devices and systems to collect and store data and associated systems to process data for management records and
  • to drive management decisions and automated actions
  • systems for on-farm processing and packing operations

Your project must seek to significantly improve:

  • productivity
  • sustainability and environmental impact of farming
  • progression towards net zero emissions
  • longer term resilience

You must be able to demonstrate how the solution and output will benefit farmers or growers in England.

Your project must:

  • demonstrate environmental benefits and societal impact
  • include clear project deliverables for measuring the sustainability of your solutions, and how they are preventing negative impact upon the sector
  • ensure your solutions are closely aligned with industry priorities to deliver business-orientated and transformative opportunities
  • consider how it will encourage dissemination and knowledge exchange to the wider sector

Specific Themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following agricultural and horticultural production sectors:

Livestock

  • Monogastric
  • Ruminant

Plant

  • Broadacre: cereals, root crops, grassland
  • Horticulture: field based and specialist growers
  • Fruit: top fruit, stone fruit and soft fruit
  • Vineyard
  • Protected cropping: glass and polytunnel systems
    Controlled Environment and Vertical Farming Systems

Eligibility

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £750,000 and £1,500,000
  • start by 1 September 2023
  • end by 31 August 2025 for 24 month duration projects
  • end by 31 August 2026 for 36 month duration projects
  • be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers or growers in England
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other eligible UK organisations

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK based farmer or grower, or a UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Talk to us today if you would like to apply for this opportunity.

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