Space technology to boost food industry

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Food manufacturers could recieve £3.75M funding for using satellite technology for food production
Food manufacturers could recieve £3.75M funding for using satellite technology for food production

Related tags Collaboration Food Agricultural economics

UK food manufacturers could benefit from £3.75M of funding to help develop innovative food production methods using satellite and space technology.

The grants are available for food manufacturers, farmers and producers to help them deliver new ways to boost production efficiency and tackle challenges surrounding climate change and food security supported by the Knowledge Transfer Network.

The Knowledge Transfer Network hoped the initiative would help manage the predicted rise in demand for food production, set the increase by 70% to cope with a world population expected to exceed 9bn by 2050.

The West Sussex-based organisation’s knowledge transfer manager for agriculture Dr David Telford said: “This will be a major challenge for the global food system which will have to balance demand with sustainable supplies, as well as meeting the challenges of a low emissions world and maintaining biodiversity.”

Collaborative and business-led

The ‘Satellites for Agri-Food’ competition is open to all companies involved in the food, agriculture and space industries. Projects must be collaborative and business-led, and applications can be submitted from November 16 up to the final deadline of February 24 2016.

Simon Baty, knowledge transfer manager with the Knowledge Transfer Network, said the project was about “seizing the opportunity”​ of collaboration. “It is through collaboration that companies will be able to grow more and sell more by adding value,”​ he said.

The grant will be made by Innovate UK, which set up the Knowledge Transfer Network, and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Competition key dates:

  • 16 November: competition opens
  • 16 November: competition briefing webinar
  • 17 February 2016: registration deadline
  • 24 February 2016: deadline for receipt of applications

In a joint statement the two organisations said: “We are primarily seeking to fund collaborative research and development (primarily experimental development). Small business partners could receive up to 45% of their eligible project costs, medium-sized businesses 35% and large businesses 25%. We expect collaborative R&D ​[research and development] projects typically to be up to £1M in size.”

Total project costs

Research organisations may participate as collaborators in a consortium but business partners must incur at least 70% of the total project costs, they added.

Up to £750,000 of the total funding will be available for smaller-scale technical feasibility studies. These are open to companies working alone or collaboratively. Small businesses could receive up to 70% of their eligible project costs, medium-sized businesses 60% and large businesses 50%.

All applicants must submit a public description of their project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive.

For more information on applying, click here.

Grants of £18M are also available through the European Horizon 2020 agriculture programme.

Related news


Applying for competition 'Satellites for food'

Posted by amanda loftus,

Hi, for scope and applications click here :

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Posted by miles irving,

where it says 'for more information on applying" the link doesn't work....

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