Agri-Tech Funding Boost for Regional University Partnership

An Agri-Tech collaboration led by the University of Lincoln has secured vital research funding.

Agri-Tech Global is a partnership between the Universities of Lincoln, Cambridge and East Anglia, Cambridge Enterprise and Ceres Agri-Tech. Its aim is to develop a truly global Agri-Tech cluster in the Greater Lincolnshire and East Anglia region.

The Agri-Tech Global collaboration has now received an award of £1.49 million as part of the Research England Development (RED) and Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The funding will allow for the networking and growth of agri-tech start-ups in the region and enable them to connect with larger international agricultural and tech businesses.

Agri-Tech Global will also tackle the serious challenges faced by the industry from climate change to rising food prices and pressures within the supply chain.

Leading the project is the Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology (LIAT) at the University of Lincoln. LIAT is a truly inter-disciplinary specialist research institute bringing 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.

Professor Simon Pearson, Director of Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology, said:

“The Greater Lincolnshire and East Anglian region has enormous potential for the development of a sustainable, affordable and forward-thinking agri-food cluster, not just for the UK but for the world.

“There are many businesses in the area, both established and start-ups, that will benefit from the development of a global network in our region, as well as being able to share best practice and open up new avenues of agri-tech research.”

Climate change is a continual concern within the Agri-food industry. The sector provides 3.9 million jobs and accounts for £129 billion of the UK economy, but this comes at the cost of being responsible for 24 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions.

Agri-Tech Global hopes to play a major part in mitigating the damage that the sector causes to the environment by helping to create a more sustainable and economically viable future for the agri-food industry.

Partner Ceres Agri-Tech, based at Cambridge Enterprise, provides translational funding and commercialisation expertise to drive agri-tech innovation by accelerating high-quality research to market.

Dr Louise Sutherland, Ceres Agri-Tech Director, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to evolve Ceres Agri-tech from a UK to an international network.

“Agri-tech Global was formally launched in California with our key partners Western Growers and SVG Thrive. We look forward to collaborating with international partners to help exploit the global agri-tech opportunity for our universities and the region”.

Dr Jon Carter PhD MBA, Associate Director, Head of Intellectual Property and Investment Management, University of East Anglia (UEA) said:

“We are delighted to be a partner in developing and delivering this exciting opportunity.

“We’re ranked as the joint top university in the UK for the quality of our agricultural and food research*, so we’re well placed to support collaborative work and funding bids that can prove to be transformational for businesses in the region.”