Farming Futures R&D Fund: Sustainable farm-based protein

£12.5Mn fund to support development of innovative solutions for sustainable farm-based protein production across 2 strands (Feasibility Studies, and, Industrial Research). This funding is from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Farming Innovation Programme, and is being delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production (TFP) Challenge. Deadline: 21 September 2022. Interested? Feel free to contact us.


  • Competition closes: 21 September 2022, 11am
  • Applicants notified: 02 December 2022
  • Project start date: before 01 April 2023


This competition will fund collaborative R&D across 2 strands: Feasibility Studies or Industrial Research into ambitious new solutions for sustainable farm-based protein production in the UK. These must address identified major on-farm or immediate post-farmgate challenges or opportunities in agricultural and horticultural practices.

Projects must seek to significantly improve:

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

Proposals must:

  • Demonstrate environmental benefits and societal impact
  • Include clear project deliverables for measuring the sustainability of the solutions, and how they are preventing negative impact upon the sector
  • Be able to demonstrate how the solution and output will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England
  • Ensure your solutions are closely aligned with industry priorities to deliver business-orientated and transformative opportunities
  • Consider how it will encourage dissemination and knowledge exchange to the wider sector

Specific Themes

  • Projects must be in one or more of 4 industry subsectors: livestock; plants; novel animal feed production systems (such as algae, seaweed, insects, etc); bioeconomy and agroforestry.
  • Solutions can also support emerging production systems that create new sources of resource efficient, low emission proteins that address longer-term food security for consumers or animal feed users.

Projects that will not be funded

  • are equine specific
  • 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 cannabis for medicinal or pharmaceutical use
  • are dependent on export performance or domestic inputs usage.


  • State Aid and Subsidy Control funding rules apply.
  • Projects must be collaborative and can be led by a UK-registered business, an academic institution, or, an RTO. If led by an academic institution or RTO, then it must collaborate with at least 2 businesses.
  • Carry out all of the work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in England.
  • Have a minimum of 50% of any grant that is requested by farmers, growers or foresters, allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England.
  • Subcontractors, preferably UK-based, with costs justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Funding Rates

  • Feasibility Studies: up to 24 months; total eligible project costs £200K-£500K.
  • Industrial Research: >24 months (>60 months for breeding projects only); total costs £500K-£1Mn.
  • You could get funding for your eligible project costs of:
    • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
    • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
    • up to 50% if you are a large organisation
  • Research organisations in your consortium can share 40-50% 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 UK national schemes and EU programmes.

Contact us for further information

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