£4 Million For Agricultural Innovation


Businesses and spin-outs from universities across the UK have received a share of £4 million of funding from government and industry


Published on 28 March 2014


by Lord de Mauley and The Rt Hon David Willetts MP

(WireNews+Co)

London, England

Department for Innovation & Skills
Department for Innovation & Skills

Businesses including an urban farm and spin-outs from universities across the UK have received a share of £4 million of funding from government and industry to develop their innovative business ideas.

The government funding comes from the £70 million Agri-Tech Catalyst announced as part of the UK Industrial Strategy for Agricultural Technologies. It is designed to support businesses and universities to bridge the difficult gap between lab research and the marketplace.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

"The pioneering projects announced today (28 March 2014) are the businesses of the future and this funding will make a real difference in bringing innovative ideas from the lab to the marketplace. This work is critical in supporting the UK’s Agri-tech Strategy and our commitment to establish the UK as a world leader in agriculture technology, innovation and sustainability."

Agriculture and Science Minister Lord De Mauley said:

"Farmers are the backbone of the £97 billion agri-food sector. The 11 projects announced today (28 March 2014) will be invaluable in helping them take advantage of the latest science and innovation, supporting our world-class agricultural technology sector."

Some of the projects will look into new farming techniques – such as cultivation of seaweed, where booming consumer demand for the food far outstrips wild supply. Others focus on solving problems affecting farmers; including tackling a cattle disease that currently costs the dairy industry over £200 million a year.

Judith Batchelar, Leadership Council Industry co-Chair said:

"This is a very exciting time for agriculture in the UK. The Agri-Tech Catalyst is bridging the well known funding gap between the lab and the market place. The 11 projects announced today (28 March 2014) all have the potential for significant impact on the sector, but this is only the start. I encourage all those in industry, with their expertise in the problems agriculture is facing, to work with our world-class universities and jointly apply for the second round of Catalyst funding."

The 11 projects will receive £2.8 million funding from government with £1.4 million co-investment from industry. They span 3 key areas of the agriculture sector – crops, livestock, and aquaculture:

In crops:

  • The James Hutton Institute is leading a consortium to develop a set of tools to make it easier, cheaper and faster to incorporate useful properties from related wild plants into mainstream varieties
  • Saturn Bioponics is working with the University of Manchester to prototype nutrient composition sensing technology for hydroponic farming
  • University of York is working with Syngenta to investigate a new paradigm in pesticide discovery and optimisation
  • ADAS UK is working with Sainsbury’s and the University of Manchester to develop a tractor-mounted sensor to reduce the cost and carbon footprint of wheat production
  • The Royal Holloway University is working with Germains to improve seed priming – a technique used to improve the quality of vegetable seeds
  • GrowUp Urban Farms is leading a consortium to build the UK’s first aquaponic urban farm to quantify the economic and environmental potential of sustainable urban farming
  • Exosect is working with EsEye to examine harnessing natural fungi to control insect and mite pests in grain storage

For more information on this press release visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/4-million-for-agricultural-innovation

 


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Posted 2014-03-28 12:50:00