Bids open on £70m fund to "plug the gap" between lab and field

David Willetts - image:IET
David Willetts - image:IET

The government has opened the first stage of its £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst Fund to award bids.

The fund, which aims to help make the UK a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability, forms part of the government's £160m Agri-Tech Strategy, launched in the summer.

Science minister David Willetts made the announcement at the Mountbatten Memorial Lecture, hosted by the Institution of Engineering & Technology last Wednesday (9 October).

Explaining the context of the funding, he said: "British farming used to be thought of as world-class, but in the last few years the rate of improvement in productivity has fallen to close to zero.

"Though we still have world-class centres for upstream research, we have lost the intermediate institutions where farming practices were changed in light of this research."

The new funding, he added, "will enable us to plug that gap".

The closing date for applications for this first phase is 11 December, while a "briefing webinar" for potential applicants will be held on 22 October.

For more information, visit the Technology Strategy Board website.


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