Proof-of-Concept Awards

Ceres Proof-of-Concept Awards at a glance

The first round of Ceres Proof-of-Concept Awards are now open for application. These are to support plant agri-tech innovations with commercial potential, e.g. for proof-of-principle work, prototype development, small scale field or plant trials.

Who is eligible? 

Applications must be led by an academic from a Ceres partner university. If you are a researcher at a Ceres university and need proof-of-concept data to start commercialising your agri-tech innovation please contact us at info@ceresagritech.org

What is proof-of-concept work? 

Proof-of-concept work is a small-scale, preliminary demonstration showing that the rationale behind the commercialisation of your agri-tech innovation is scientifically robust. To be successful, most applications for subsequent translational support – including Ceres Project Awards – will require proof-of-concept results.

How do Ceres Proof-of-Concept Awards work? 

Ceres will provide quick access to one-off translational proof-of-concept investments. Each award will be in the range of £5,000 to £20,000, with funds awarded based on a 6 minute pitch to the Ceres Investment Committee. Funding rounds are held quarterly, with decisions on the day.

How to apply

If you are a researcher from a Ceres university and need proof-of-concept data to start commercialising your agri-tech innovation we want to hear from you. For more information or to apply for a Proof-of-Concept Award, please get in touch with us at info@ceresagritech.org and we will help you develop your pitchdeck. Download a sample pitchdeck here.

Description of application process

What are the funding criteria?

  • Researchers must be from one of the five named Ceres universities.
  • Proposals must be related to plant agri-tech (excluding small molecule agrochemicals and plant variety breeding).
  • The technologies or experimental techniques used can come from any scientific discipline (e.g. robotics, chemistry, computer science).
  • Proposals must have strong commercial potential, i.e. the proof-of-concept work must be part of an overarching plan leading to commercialisation, not a piece of basic/fundamental research.
  • Funding is in the form of a one-off award, typically from £5,000 to £20,000.
  • Applications will be by a 6 minute pitch to the Ceres Investment Committee.

How Ceres can help you

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

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What is the commercial opportunity?
  • Rationale behind your idea, how will your proposed solution fix the problem if successfully proven?
  • What is your proposal, with timings and costs?
  • What will be the outputs?
  • What are your longer-term plans for commercialisation?

 

Preparing your pitch

The Ceres Team will help you develop your proposal from idea to pitch to give you the best chance of winning Ceres funding:

  • The Ceres Team, together with Ceres representatives from your university, can talk you through the process and help you develop a draft pitchdeck;
  • Pitches are 6 minute presentations by appropriate members of your team, followed by up to 10 minutes of questions;
  • You should aim to present 5-6 slides for the pitch itself, covering the problem, the opportunity, your solution and rationale behind your idea, objectives of the proof-of-concept proposal, outputs, timescale, costings and longer term plans for commercialisation;
  • The Committee will want to know about the commercial relevance of your proposal, so your pitch should outline your plans for commercialisation;
  • Your final pitchdeck must be submitted via your university’s Ceres representative no later than the final submission date for the relevant Ceres Investment Committee meeting (see Submission deadlines table).

What happens post-award?

If your proposal is successful and awarded funding, the Ceres Team will continue to support you on your journey towards commercialisation through:

  • Mentoring and guidance;
  • Connection to potential follow-on funding, e.g. Ceres Project Award

Submission Deadlines: Ceres Project Awards

Draft slidedeck submission Final slidedeck submission Pitch date
Thurs 22nd Oct 2020 Thurs 19th Nov 2020 Mon 7th Dec 2020
Thurs 11th Feb 2021 Thurs 11th March 2021 Tues 30th March 2021
Thurs 6th May 2021 Thurs 3rd June 2021 Mon 21st June 2021

Submission Deadlines: Ceres Proof-of-Concept Awards

Draft slidedeck submission Final slidedeck submission Pitch date
Thurs 5th Nov 2020 Thurs 19th Nov 2020 Mon 7th Dec 2020
Thurs 25th Feb 2021 Thurs 11th March 2021 Tues 30th March 2021
Thurs 20th May 2021 Thurs 3rd June 2021 Mon 21st June 2021