£5 million for agricultural innovation
Businesses and universities across the UK will benefit from a share of £5 million of funding from government and industry to develop innovations to solve some of the world’s greatest agricultural challenges such as food security and sustainability, weed control and livestock disease.
This £5 million is part of the second round of funding to be distributed through the £70 million Agri-Tech Catalyst, announced as part of the UK Industrial Strategy for Agricultural Technologies in July 2013. The Agri-Tech Catalyst is designed to support collaborative research between scientists and businesses to springboard projects from the lab to the market place. Innovations in this round include an autonomous robot weed sprayer for difficult terrain farm land and developing a cereal to create improved bread products for diabetics.
Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said: "Investing in agricultural technology today will bring commercial rewards tomorrow, taking the critical steps from lab to market place. It’s all part of the government’s long term economic plan to create more jobs and promote growth through industrial strategy."
The 13 projects, which fall into 2 key areas of the agriculture sector – crops and livestock, will receive £4 million funding from government and £1.3 million co-investment from industry. This follows the round 1 investment of £4 million in March 2014 and £18 million in July 2014.
Some of these ground-breaking projects include:
- exploring pearl millet variation to produce improved bread products for diabetics
- developing rice resistance to 2 major diseases to support food security in Asia
- autonomous systems for remotely monitoring an invasive fruit pest
- developing a robotic weed sprayer for difficult terrain farm land
- decreasing food waste through the control of fruit flies in Asia and Africa
- exploring the use of genome-screening and other technology to reduce the mastitis disease in sheep
Iain Gray, CEO of the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, said: "This is just the latest in what will be a series of ongoing funding awards from the Agri-Tech Catalyst to innovative companies, developing potentially lucrative solutions to crop and livestock challenges. The companies we’ve supported through the Agri-Tech Catalyst have all developed innovations with the potential to transform current agri-tech approaches and achieve commercial success. We’re proud to be supporting them on their journey from concept to commercialisation."
Read the full article on GOV.UK.