Agri-food businesses in Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland can apply for funding from a £7.5m pot to support innovation and growth.

A partnership of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, New Anglia LEP (covering Norfolk and Suffolk) and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority has been awarded the funding from Innovate UK under the Launchpads programme.

The programme allows small and medium enterprises (SMEs) working in the region to apply for competitive grants for R&D and innovation projects that focus on agrifood.

The grant funding available starts from £25,000, and up to £300,000 is available for projects that provide exceptional impact to the cluster.

The competition opens on Monday 23rd October, and a webinar will be available for potential applicants to find out more. Further details will be posted here:

To be eligible, projects must make a significant contribution to one or more of the following:

  • enhancing the productivity of primary crops, the bioeconomy, livestock, aquaculture or ornamental plants 
  • biotechnologies related to agriculture, food and nutrition 
  • food that promotes safe, healthy and nutritious diets
  • resource-efficient production methods for low-emission foods

Projects can focus on one or more of the following:

  • sustainability in the context of environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity
  • protecting, maintaining or enhancing animal welfare within current UK regulatory standard 
  • nutritional composition, food manufacturing and processing, packaging, and safety 
  • minimising negative effects such as pollution, food loss and waste 
  • resilience and responsiveness in the supply chain, mitigating risks, interruptions or disruptions

Businesses applying for grant funding must either be based in Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland, Norfolk, Suffolk or Cambridgeshire or be able to demonstrate how their project will significantly benefit those areas.

“The announcement of a Launchpad supporting SMEs in our agrifood sector is warmly welcomed,” said Sarah-Louise Fairburn, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP’s Food Board.

“This news comes just days after the announcement of a £4.9 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to help transform the Lincolnshire and north Cambridgeshire (LINCAM) region into a global innovation centre for agricultural technology.

“The team at the Greater Lincolnshire LEP has worked hard over a number of months to secure one of only eight Innovation Launchpads in the country for the Lincolnshire food and agritech sectors.

“Both announcements put us firmly on course to achieve the ambitious goal of the new UK Food Valley, which is to establish Greater Lincolnshire as a top 10 global food cluster.”

The Launchpads programme is funded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation. It is designed to build on innovation clusters around the UK that have significant growth potential and to deliver jobs, growth, and higher productivity, supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee said: “Innovate UK is building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. Our new Launchpads will help to attract further private sector R&D investment into innovation clusters, growing local economies and delivering societal and economic benefits to local communities.”