Read on to find out about the latest funding opportunities for the food sector.

New Innovate UK funding opportunity for UK agri-tech companies looking to raise series A investment

If you're a UK agri-tech SME looking to raise series A investment, the new Series A Investor Partnership Programme is a funding competition that can help you fast-track your innovation by providing grant funding aligned with private equity investment.

Part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s (ISCF) Transforming Food Production (TFP) Programme, the Series A Investor Partnership Programme allows UK-registered SMEs that are transforming food production towards net zero to apply for a share of up to £5 million in grant support. This must align with a series A investment led by one of the 11 lead investors selected for this competition.

The competition opened on Monday 2nd November and closes on Wednesday 13th January.  To apply and to find out more about scope and eligibility, please visit the Innovate UK competition page, which has more details of this competition here.

A briefing event is taking place on Tuesday 10th November to include how to apply and submit a strong application.  Register here.

Research Funding - Lincoln Institute of AgriFood Technology (LIAT), University of Lincoln

In the last from years, from 2016 to the middle of 2020), the University’s Lincoln Institute of AgriFood Technology (LIAT) and National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) have been partners in over 90 research and innovation projects with the agrifood sector.  These projects and the linked development of new facilities for the LIAT and the NCFM have secured investment of over £50m. 

A further Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) strand has been launched for R&D projects advancing solutions in service robotics for a more resilient future.  UK business can apply for a grant up to £100,000 for single participants, or up to £500,000 for consortia to advance or develop solutions in service robotics for a more resilient future across all sectors areas including agriculture and food production. The ISCF Robotics for a More Resilient Future Competition closes on 20th November 2020 and details are available here

The Digital Catapult Made Smarter Technology Accelerator Programme provides match funding for automation and innovation projects as part of the Government-funded Made Smarter national programme, set to fast forward and shape the UK’s technology adoption direct into industry.  Read more here.

These are only two of a number of current R&D and innovation funding opportunities which the university is supporting companies to apply for.  The agri-tech research teams at the University of Lincoln are experts in working with industry to build practical solutions to productivity, logistics and growing challenges for food and farming.

If you would like to discuss how the university may be able to support your food business with applied research please contact Simon Pearson or the Lincoln AgriRobotics team at

DIT Internationalisation Fund for SMEs – opens late November 2020

The Department for International Trade will shortly be launching its new European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) for eligible East Midlands SMEs.  Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 will be available for future activity to help companies develop their overseas market presence (subject to eligibility and availability). 

To secure a grant you will need to fund a proportion of your costs yourself. This varies according to where your business is based and will be either 40% or 50% of the total cost. The fund can be used to support areas including (but not exclusively limited to):  

  • Market research
  • IP advice
  • Translation services
  • International social media/SEO
  • Trade fairs (where no TAP funding is available)
  • Independent market visits
  • Consultancy and other international commercial services

For more details please click here.