Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech funding for Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge

Our EPSRC funded Lincam Ceres-Agri-Tech PBIAA is a novel funding mechanism designed to translate and commercialise UK Agri-Tech research, which will have impact within the Greater Lincolnshire and North Cambridgeshire (Lincam) region.

Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech has two award streams:

The Lincam region is responsible for 15% of total UK agricultural output, with large concentrations of arable and fresh produce farming.

Our Lincam project is heavily focussed on research translation, seeking to support university and RTO teams to translate their agri-tech innovations from lab to field by the onward development of their technologies and commercialisation using the established Ceres Agri-Tech model.

We will support impact delivery for science that supports the regions crop based production sector and its supply chains in terms of concurrent economic, environmental and/or social benefits. Projects must be more than 50% in EPSRC scope (e.g. AI, robotics companies, digital plant breeding, net zero engineering etc) and are funded with IAA rules (no FEC).

We have both Project Awards and Proof-of-Concept Awards available in Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech for Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge.

Our Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Partners

The University of Lincoln is home to the outstanding Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology (LIAT), which supports and enhances productivity, efficiency and sustainability in food and farming through research, education and technology. LIAT’s multi-disciplinary team brings together sector-leading expertise in a diverse range of areas such as: artificial intelligence, robotics, engineering, crop science, environmental sustainability, food manufacturing, product development and supply chains.

LIAT’s researchers are engaged in the development of technologies which solve challenges across the food chain, ‘from farm to fork’, collaborating with partners in industry, academia and their colleagues at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing in Holbeach, South Lincolnshire. Their work delivers the world-class research and higher-level skills the UK’s agri-food industries need today and in the future.

In November 2023, LIAT was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work supporting the success and sustainability of the UK’s food and farming industries through innovations in research, education and technology. The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is the highest National Honour in UK further and higher education, recognising outstanding work by UK colleges and universities showing excellence, innovation and benefit to the wider world.

The University of Cambridge (UoC) is ranked in the UK’s top two universities and in the top three worldwide by the Times Higher Education 2020 Rankings. It draws on a long tradition of research excellence, spanning over 11 departments from Plant Sciences to Engineering, with key strengths in big data, biotechnology, and computing.

UoC supports interdisciplinary agricultural research through strategic research initiatives, such as Global Food Security and the CamBridgeSens network for sensor research, and forges close links with the UK’s leading institutes for agri-tech R&D. These include NIAB (via the Crop Science Centre) and the John Innes Centre and Earlham Institute (via the OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre). It has also collaborated with partner universities across England to help set up AgriFoRwArdS, the world’s first doctoral training centre in agri-food robotics, established at the University of Lincoln in conjunction with the University of East Anglia.

UoC is supported by the extensive commercialisation expertise and industrial networks of Cambridge Enterprise, its technology transfer arm, to connect Ceres academic partners with commercial opportunities in the East of England and beyond.

https://www.cam.ac.uk

Part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise supports academics, researchers, staff and students in achieving knowledge transfer and research impact. It does this by helping innovators, experts and entrepreneurs use commercial avenues to develop their ideas and expertise for the benefit of society, the economy, themselves and the university. Liaising with organisations both locally and globally, Cambridge Enterprise offers expert advice and support in commercialisation and social enterprise, including help with academic consultancy services, the protection, development and licensing of ideas, new company and social enterprise creation, and seed funding.

 

The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) is a business led partnership made up of private and public sector leaders. Working with Government and stakeholders enables us to deliver the strategic projects and programmes that will drive local prosperity and economic growth.

GLLEP has identified four key sectors which present game-changing, high-potential opportunities for growth, investment and collaboration on a region-wide scale. These are: Humber Freeport, Green Energy, Defence, and UK Food Valley.

The UK Food Valley is a programme that promotes the Greater Lincolnshire agri-food sector as an internationally significant centre of excellence and concentration of food chain businesses.

Key priorities for the UK Food Valley are:

  • Accelerating food chain automation and digital technology adoption to deliver productivity growth and high value jobs;
  • Delivering low carbon food chains from farm to fork by focusing on low carbon technologies for production, processing and distribution;
  • Developing the market potential of naturally good for you foods and new sources of protein, such as fish, vegetables, salads, fruit, pulses and lean meat, in which Greater Lincolnshire specialises.

Part of the UK Food Valley is the Agricultural Growth Zone, located North of Lincoln, centred on Riseholme. The cluster has seen over £50m of capital investment and secured innovation projects worth over £60m since 2016, including creating Europe’s largest centre for agri-robotics. It will support agriculture and agri-tech, and a skills pipeline to attract the next generation into the industry, from schools’ engagement through further and higher education and on to postgraduate education and continuing professional development for the agri-tech industry.

The overall aims of the Agricultural Growth Zone are to support:

  • Regional leadership in agricultural innovation, skills, business support and technology adoption;
  • Agricultural investment to deliver productivity gains, climate smart and sustainable farming as farmers respond to the Agricultural Transition (which runs to 2028).

West Lindsey is one of the largest districts in England and one of the most rural in Lincolnshire. One of seven districts in the county, West Lindsey covers 1,125km2 (or 447 square miles), with the administrative centre of Gainsborough on the River Trent to the west and the smaller towns of Caistor and Market Rasen to the east. West Lindsey is currently made up of 20 wards with a total of 97 parishes spread across the district.

As a predominantly rural district, it is vital that we seek to safeguard what is important to current and future residents of West Lindsey. Central to this is ensuring economic growth and regeneration, creating employment opportunities and meeting the need and demand for homes.

Encouraging investment, supporting our businesses, developing growth and employment opportunities and harnessing the potential of green recovery underpins our economic plan which, developed around our understanding of the challenges, with feedback from our businesses and informed by our opportunities is based around the following key themes:

  • Green Recovery
  • Business Environment
  • Regeneration and Levelling Up
  • Key Sector Development
  • Infrastructure (Physical and Digital)
  • Supporting People and Skills

Developing the Agricultural Growth Zone (‘Ag-Zone’), and the agri-tech sector more broadly, is a key component of our strategic approach to levelling-up the West Lindsey economy, creating higher value jobs and new economic opportunities (both directly and in the supply-chain) for the district.

There is a very tangible opportunity for us to foster the continued development of an emerging and strategically important local agri-tech cluster based around the ‘A15 growth corridor’ (Central Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone (Hemswell Cliff), RAF Scampton, the Lincolnshire Showground and the University of Lincoln – Riseholme Campus) under the banner of the UK Food Valley and the emerging Ag-Zone. Our combined commitment to sector-development could position West Lindsey as a UK (if not international) leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability. Additionally, and given land use in West Lindsey is predominantly focussed on primary agricultural production, our longer-term ambition is that much of the new technology developed by the cluster is both tested and adopted by local farmers – improving the efficiency of production and contributing towards ‘net zero’.

The Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge, working with Ceres Agri-Tech, have been awarded £4.9m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) Place Based Impact Acceleration Account (PBIAA) to help fund their drive to make the Lincolnshire and north Cambridgeshire (Lincam) region a global innovation centre for agricultural technology (agri-tech).

The PBIAA is impact funding to foster greater collaboration and networking between researchers, businesses and civic bodies to enhance the capabilities of a cluster through engineering and physical sciences in order to drive the long-term prosperity of communities and regions

Visit this link to find out more: £41 million to enhance UK research and innovation clusters – UKRI

Deadlines

 

Lincam Agri-Tech Global for Lincoln and Cambridge Universities Type of Funding Call Open EOI Submission Deadline Final Pitchdeck  Submission Investment Committee
June 2024 Call Project & PoC Awards 14 June 2024 16 August 2024 15 November 2024 9 December 2024
April 2024 Call Project & PoC Awards 3 April 2024 29 May 2024 1 October 2024 22 October 2024
February 2024 Call Project & PoC Awards 2 February 2024 2 April 2024 21 May 2024 12 June 2024
November 2023 Call Project & PoC Awards 27 November 2023 18 December 2023 8 February 2024 28 February 2024