Lincam Proof of Concept Awards: Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge

April 2024 Call

Lincam Ceres-Agri-Tech is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) for crop based agri-tech innovations that are more than 50% in EPSRC scope that will significantly improve crop production in the Lincam region and have the potential for global impact.

High potential projects will be invited to a Bid Development Workshop at the Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology, University of Lincoln, on 4th and 5th July 2024 where the Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech team will help you to develop your idea and pitchdeck for presentation to the Ceres Investment Committee.

Awards at a glance

Who is eligible?

All projects must be led by an academic from either the University of Lincoln or the University of Cambridge . If you are a researcher at either of these Universities and have an idea for a project, we want to hear from you. Contact us at info@ceresagritech.org for more information.

What can a Project Award support?

Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Project Awards support translational research projects in crop-related agri-tech that have strong commercial and will have impact in the Lincam region of Lincolnshire and North Cambridgeshire

How does it work?

Ceres will provide quick access to milestoned Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech translational investment, anywhere between £5, 000 – 20,000 per project (no FEC), based on a 7-minute pitch to the Ceres Investment Committee. Funding rounds are held quarterly, with quick decisions.

 

How to apply

If you are a researcher from an academic from either the University of Lincoln or the University of Cambridge and have an idea for a commercially relevant agri-tech project, we want to hear from you.

The application process is detailed below

What are the funding criteria for Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Proof of Concept Awards for Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge?

Projects must

  • Be led by a researcher from  either the University of Lincoln or the University of Cambridge. We encourage cross discipline collaboration within a university and between the Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge.
  • In crop-related agri-tech.
  • With ca 50% of the technologies in EPSRC scope, e.g., robotics, AI, complex systems, Sensors, 5G and networks, machine learning, digital phenotyping, digital supply chains, net zero ag.
  • Have commercial potential.
  • With defendable IP.
  • Have appropriate project work packages and milestones.
  • Must have impact in the Lincam region. See section below on impact for details.

Universities must

  • The lead university must manage any intellectual property produced by the project (foreground IP)
  • The recipient University must undertake to diligently commercialise the research and seek support and input from the Ceres Agri-Tech LINCAM team as appropriate.

What is Impact in the Lincam region?

The primary objective of this funding is to develop and implement crop-related agri-tech that delivers impact in the LINCAM region of Lincolnshire and north Cambridgeshire. These impacts must concurrently be economic and environmental and / or social.

This section provides guidance with examples on how the Investment Committee will assess the potential economic, environmental and social impacts of a project.

Economic impact in the Lincam region

 This may include forming a spin-out, which is located in LINCAM, and significant trialing in the LINCAM region. Alternatively, if the business will not to be based in LINCAM it can demonstrate significant commercial support from LINCAM regional businesses.

 

Gold star Spin-out in LINCAM Impact for farmers and growers in LINCAM
Silver star Spin-out in another region Impact for farmers and growers in LINCAM
Bronze star Licence deal Impact for farmers and growers in LINCAM
Not eligible No research translation No impact in the region

Environmental impact in the Lincam region

Examples of possible environmental sustainability improvements include:

  • Reducing resource consumption.
  • Reduce the use of synthetic chemicals.
  • Minimizing ecological footprint.
  • Fostering ecosystem conservation.
  • Biodiversity expansion.
  • Promote long term soil and crop health.
  • Sustainable intensification.

Social Impact in the Lincam region

Examples of enhancing social impact include:

  • Contributing to livelihood improvements.
  • Creating value jobs.
  • Contributing to social inclusion and diversity.
  • Enabling the wider supply-chain.
  • Securing foreign direct investment.
  • Promoting suitable access to technology including digital connectivity.
  • Enable public investments in infrastructure.
  • Supporting rural communities.

Application Process for Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Proof of Concept Awards For Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge

Please see Submission Deadline table for details of the next Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech for UK Universities and EPSRC approved RTOs call.

Stage 1: Complete the Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Proof of Concept Award Expression of Interest (EOI) Form

and email to info@ceresagritech.org by the EOI submission deadline for the Lincam Proof of Concept Award call for which you are applying.

Any submissions received post the Proof of Concept Award EOI submission closing date will be carried forward to the next Project Call, unless you write to withdraw your application.

Stage 2: The EOIs will be short-listed and ranked by members of the Lincam Executive Team.

For high potential projects, a member of the Ceres Team will be in touch to discuss your proposal and if it is suitable for Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech funding.

Stage 3:  The Ceres Team will help you develop your idea and will connect you to relevant farmers and growers in the Lincam network to ensure your innovation meets their needs.

The Ceres Team will support you to create your pitchdeck. For guidance see Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Proof of Concept Sample Pitchdeck

Stage 4: Complete pitchdeck and practise pitching.

Stage 5: Submit to info@ceresagritech.org by the final slidedeck submission deadline for the Proof of Concept Award Call for which you are applying.

Stage 6: Pitch to the Ceres Investment Committee.

How can Ceres help develop your Lincam Agri-Tech Proof of Concept pitchdeck?

The Ceres Team can help with:

  • Refining project ideas into viable commercial propositions.
  • Connecting you with farmers and growers in the Lincam network to understand their needs.
  • Developing your idea to maximise the commercial opportunity.
  • Building a business case by exploring the scope of the opportunity, including competitor analysis, route to market, IP management, potential return on investment…and much more.
  • Finding collaborators with complementary expertise.
  • Connecting you with farmers and growers to trial your crop-related agri-tech innovations.
  • What will be the economic and / or environmental and social impact in the Lincam region?
  • Preparing project pitchdeck.
  • Pitching practise.

Developing your idea for a Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Proof of Concept Award

The Ceres Team will help you work through key questions such as:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • How big is the problem, i.e., what is the commercial opportunity?
  • How will your technology fix the problem?
  • What is the competition? Are there other solutions on the market and if so, how is yours better?
  • Who will your customers be and how will you get them to adopt your solution?
  • Have you worked with farmers and growers in our Lincam network to understand their needs?
  • What supporting data do you have to show your solution works?
  • Do you need to consider sponsors or industry collaborators? For example, who funded any prior work? If background intellectual property is involved, will you be free to exploit it during and after the Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech project?
  • How will you get your technology to market?
  • How much Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech funding do you need and what will you use it for? How long will the project take?
  • How will you structure the project? Have you included milestones (stop/go points during the project), and what are your longer-term plans i.e., after Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech funding.
  • Have you found farmers and growers in the Lincam region who will trial your innovation?
  • What will be the impacts in Lincam?
  • How to pitch for success.

Preparing your Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Proof of Concept pitchdeck

The Ceres Team will help you develop your project from idea to pitch to give your project the best chance of winning Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech funding.

  • The Ceres team will talk you through the process and help you develop your pitchdeck.
  • Your pitch should contain ca 6 slides for the pitch itself, together with additional supporting slides covering all elements of your project in more detail.
  • It should focus on your business case.
  • The Project Award sample pitchdeck contains suggestions and guidance on the content required.
  • Pitches are short, 7-minute presentations by appropriate members of your project team, followed by up to 10 minutes of questions.
  • Your final pitchdeck must be submitted by the final submission date for Lincam Project Award call for which you are applying.

Post Award Lincam Ceres Agri-Tech Proof of Concept Project support

After your project is awarded funding, the Ceres Team will continue to support you on your journey towards commercialisation of your technology by facilitating:

  • Project management during the lifetime of the project.
  • Technology development to licensing stage.
  • IP protection and exploitation.
  • Technical feasibility studies and prototype development.
  • Access to mentor networks.
  • Establishment of spin-out companies.
  • Connection to potential onward investment.

Deadlines

 

Lincam Ceres-Agri-Tech: Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge Call Open EOI Submission Deadline Final Pitchdeck  Submission Investment Committee
April 2024 Call 3 April 2024 29 May 2024 1 October 2024 22 October 2024
February 2024 Call 2 February 2024 2 April 2024 21 May 2024 12 June 2024
November 2023 Call 27 November 2023 18 December 2023 8 February 2024 28 February 2024