What is Ceres?

Ceres is a knowledge exchange partnership for the agri-tech sector.

We’re helping to connect industry to academia and to fund resulting collaborative projects which seek to take technology to market.

The Ceres Agri-Tech Knowledge Exchange Partnership links the universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Hertfordshire, Lincoln and Reading, along with the John Innes Centre, NIAB and Rothamsted Research, to help drive the commercialisation of agri-tech research and innovation in England.

Founded through a Research England Connecting Capability Fund Award, and with significant funding commitments from corporates and technology investors for further investment in high quality commercial agri-tech opportunities, Ceres is looking to work with both university researchers and business partners to identify, partner, build, invest in and run the most commercially viable development projects focused on the innovation needs of the agri-tech sector.

Through significant commitments of both expertise and funding in the form of grants, Ceres will increase the likelihood of a successful commercial outcome from the innovations of researchers employed by Ceres university partners, the result being technologies that can be exploited through licences, start-up companies and partnerships with SMEs and larger agri-tech corporations.

Our partners:

The time is ripe for catalysing early stage technology transfer in the globally critical agri-tech sector.

Iain Thomas, Head of Life Sciences at Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge

The grand challenges in agri-tech require a multi-disciplinary approach and the establishment of Ceres will facilitate this.

Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-Tech East

The Ceres network offers opportunities for new collaborations and puts together the expertise needed to tackle key challenges that will underpin future food security.

Professor Simon Pearson, Director of the Lincoln Institute of Agri-food Technology at the University of Lincoln

How can we help you?

Become a Ceres project commercial partner

We are inviting companies to get in touch if they have an unmet commercial need or interest, or a current or future commercial project which could be helped by connecting with one or more academic partners under a Ceres-funded project.

We can help make contacts, develop opportunities and provide funding for projects which are commercially relevant and meet our criteria.

If you are interested in becoming a commercial partner for a Ceres project, have a commercial need which could be addressed by a Ceres project, or would like further information, please contact us by email:

Talk to us about becoming a Ceres project commercial partner

Become a Ceres project university partner

We are inviting university researchers to get in touch if they have with a current or future project that promises to be commercially relevant, including those that could be helped by connecting with a commercial or additional academic partner.

We can help make contacts, develop opportunities and provide funding for projects which are commercially relevant and meet our criteria.

If you are interested in becoming an academic partner for a Ceres project, have a current or future project that is commercially relevant, or would like further information, please contact your university’s Ceres representative by email:

Application criteria for university researchers

Eligibility

  • Each application to the Ceres fund must be led by a researcher from one of the named Ceres university Partners
  • The Ceres project foreground IP and relevant background must be managed by the lead Ceres university Partner

Funding

  • Projects may be funded up to a maximum of £250,000
  • Projects will be subject to milestones and funded accordingly
  • Funding will be in the form of grants for projects with commercial potential in the area of agri-tech, excluding veterinary products for animal health and small molecule agrichemicals
  • Applicants are encouraged to consider where work could best be undertaken, and that this may not be in their own laboratories, facilities or organisations
  • Ceres may operate in conjunction with later stage investors or commercial parties to assist projects to realise their potential

Ceres will not fund:

  • Pump-priming of new research
  • Continuing research work to gather data for publication
  • Full economic costings
  • Projects with no clear commercial focus
  • Patent costs

Awards could be used for, but will not be limited to:

  • Developing technologies to the point at which they might be licensed
  • Technical feasibility studies
  • Prototype development
  • Additional work to strengthen a patent position
  • Establishing new spin-out companies