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SBRI: Plant health innovations

Fund Name

SBRI: Plant health innovations for biosecurity

Project Length

3-12 months

Project Value

£20k - £150k



This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition delivered by Innovate UK part of UKRI, supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Biotechnology Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC).

This competition aims to accelerate the effective development of innovative solutions, technologies, or practices that enhance plant health and biosecurity activities. With a focus on regulated pests, diseases and future operational deployment.

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Fund details

Your project can deliver innovation-focused research activities to progress solutions towards one or more of the challenges listed for this competition. This can include establishing the feasibility of an idea, demonstrating the principle, or developing a prototype.

Your project outputs will be expected to outline quantitative potential improvements in the effectiveness or efficiency savings of your solution.

Projects which address the challenges by exploring a biological question or applying bioscience or biotechnology to advance the needs of solution users are encouraged.

Your project must demonstrate:

  • the development and operational feasibility of innovative technologies or practices
  • how you have taken the needs of intended users into consideration in your product or service development
  • a credible and practical route to use in an operational environment and commercialisation
  • knowledge transfer and exchange between the solution providers and solution users

Challenge areas

Your project must focus on one or more of the following challenges and be applicable to regulated plant pests and diseases:

  • developing innovative technologies and practices to enhance border inspections of traded plants for planting and plant commodities, including wood and wood products, improving sampling accuracy, detection rates of regulated pests, time and resource efficiency of inspectors
  • enhancing in-land inspections of plants in nurseries, recently planted sites or the wider environment, through the application of innovative technologies and practices to enable pest and pathogen detection in the field, reducing the risk of outbreaks
  • utilising passive and scanning surveillance approaches to provide timely and cost-effective methods for detecting pests and diseases in different landscape settings
  • managing the supply of potentially infected or infested plants and plant commodities pre and post-border, presenting alternative treatments to destruction following detection of a quarantine organism, and reducing financial losses whilst maintaining biosecurity


Your project must:

  • have total costs between £20,000 and £150,000, inclusive of VAT
  • start between 1 April 2024 and 1 October 2024
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 3 and 12 months
  • intend to exploit results from and within the United Kingdom

To lead a project, you can be an organisation of any size including:

  • a registered business, charity, or Non-Governmental Organisation
  • a research organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding
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