Farming Futures: Environmental resilience

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of £12.5Mn to develop innovative solutions for sustainable and resilient farming. This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, which is a partnership with UKRI Transforming Food Production Challenge and delivered by Innovate UK.


Competition closes: 19 July 2023
Applicants notified: 13 September
Project start date: January 2024


This competition is split into 2 strands:

  • Strand 1 – Farming Futures: Feasibility; evaluating emerging solutions with the UK’s world-leading research base, agri-tech businesses, SMEs and the UK agricultural sector to develop innovations in agriculture, forestry and horticulture.
  • Strand 2 – Farming Futures: Industrial Research; progressing emerging solutions to new products, processes and services with the UK’s world-leading research base, agri-tech businesses, SMEs and the UK agricultural sector to develop innovations in agriculture, forestry and horticulture

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative development of projects with ambitious solutions. Solutions provided will enable sustainable and resilient farming through addressing biotic and abiotic stresses in agriculture, horticulture and forestry to:

  • support specific recommendations from recent Defra reviews, the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) act 2023and the Government Food Strategy
  • resolve key issues affecting the sector, where sustainable and resilient farming solutions can mitigate climate challenges and increase productivity
  • develop innovations in agriculture, forestry and horticulture to meet challenges to plants, crops and farmed animals from both their biological (biotic) and physical environment (abiotic)

The innovative technologies in your proposal can address one or more of the following challenges:

  • integrated pest management
  • detection, prevention and management of diseases
  • agro-ecology
  • gene editing and breeding
  • regenerative cropping, livestock and mixed systems
  • livestock housing, nutrition, health and management
  • innovative fertiliser practices
  • soil resilience
  • water management and innovation

Projects must seek to significantly improve:

  • productivity
  • sustainability and environmental impact of farming
  • progression towards net zero emissions
  • longer term resilience
  • food security

You must be able to demonstrate how your solution and output will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England.

Specific Themes

Farmed animals: monogastric; ruminant

Plant: broadacre: cereals, root crops, grassland; horticulture: field based and specialist growers; fruit: top fruit, stone fruit and soft fruit; vineyard; protected cropping: glass and polytunnel systems; controlled environment and vertical: farming systems

Forestry: agro-forestry

Cross-sector: bioeconomy

Projects that will not be funded

  • are equine specific
  • are focused specifically on financial resilience
  • are specific to non-food or ornamental plants
  • involve wild caught fisheries
  • involve aquaculture for fish production or human consumption
  • involve cellular expression of proteins or cultivated meat
  • involve acellular production systems, fermentation systems for bacteria, yeast or fungi for human consumption
  • are for the production of crops or plants for medicinal or pharmaceutical use
  • do not benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England
  • involve post farm gate processing and packaging
  • dependent on export performance, on domestic inputs usage


  • Project must be led by a UK business, of any size, and collaborators must be UK based organisations.
  • R&D work must be carried out in the UK and project results exploited from UK.
  • Subcontractors are allowed, preferably UK-based, with appropriate and justified costs.
  • If your project has farmers, growers and foresters requesting grant funding, 50% min of the total grant requested by those organisations, must come from farmers, growers or foresters geographically based in England.
  • Projects must comply with UKRI guidance on use of animals in research and innovation.
  • WTO green box exemption, Subsidy Control and EC State Aid funding rules apply.

Funding Rates

  • Strand 1 Feasibility: £200,000 and £500,000; 12-24 months duration
  • Strand 2 Industrial Research: £500K-£1Mn; 24-36 months duration or up to 60 months for breeding projects
  Project maturity (up to but not including commercialisation)
Organisation size Strand 1 Feasibility (TRL 2-3) Strand 2 Industrial Research (TRL3-5)
Micro/small business <70% <70%
Medium sized business <60% <60%
Large business <50% <50%


Research organisations in your consortium can share up to 50% of the UK total eligible project costs.

How PNO can support you

The UK team has a strong track record in securing some of the most competitive national and European grants on behalf of its clients, with a full understanding of how a project should be presented to stand the highest chance of success. Each year in the UK alone, we are responsible for the submission of more than 100 funding applications across all sectors and priority areas. Based on this extensive experience, through careful project selection and using key insight into how a project should be best positioned, we consistently achieve success rates that are more than 5 times the typical success rates.

For further information or to discuss a project idea please contact PNO Consultants

0161 488 3488 | |

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