Digital Dairy Chain

Funding opportunities for 2024 – June update

“Where can I find out about additional funding opportunities for my dairy business?”

This is a question the Digital Dairy Chain are asked on a weekly basis. To solve this, we have collated a list of current funding opportunities, which may be of interest to you and your organisation.

Please see the table below to view the current list. And don’t forget to look out for our monthly newsletter, which will feature details of more funding and grant opportunities. You can sign up here.

FunderFunding CallEligibilityDeadlineMore Information
Scottish EnterpriseSMART: ScotlandThe SMART: SCOTLAND grant is one of our research and development (R&D) grants that aims to support high-risk, highly ambitious projects. It covers conducting feasibility studies. It’s only available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs)* based in Scotland and supports activities that have a commercial endpoint.Applications welcome all year roundRead more
VariousUK Innovation & Science Seed FundTo receive UKI2S funding you must fulfil one of the following:

• Be based at one of our research centres

• Working in a strategic priority area

• Your innovation is based on IP associated with one of our partners
Applications welcome all year roundRead More
Innovate UK EDGEFunded access to Catapults and RTOs to support growth & scaling• Businesses must be a UK-registered, trading company, with up to 500 employees (250 in Northern Ireland)

• The grant funding provided to the business will be under Minimal Financial Assistance or De minimis. The maximum value of ‘Minimal Financial Assistance’ allowed per 3 year rolling period under the ‘UK Subsidy Control Bill’ is £315,000

• The ‘De minimis’ regulation, which has similar characteristics, but a maximum value of €200,000, remains effective for any awards to enterprises governed by the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) or based within the EU.
Applications welcome all year roundRead More
Scottish GovernmentNext generation practical trainingThe Next Generation Practical Training Fund offers financial support to those resident in Scotland who are:

• Newcomers into the agricultural sector

• Those who would have been unable to undertake training without financial support

• Those who would have been unable to undertake a (possibly additional) formal qualification. There is no age limit for applicants to the Next Generation Training Fund as agriculture attracts both mature new entrants and school leavers.

OngoingRead More
Scottish GovernmentThe Women in Agriculture Practical Training FundThe Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund offers financial support to women and girls aged thirteen and older who are resident in Scotland and:

• Are newcomers who wish to pursue a career within the agricultural sector

• Who would have been unable to undertake training without financial support

• Who would have been unable to undertake a (possibly additional) formal qualification. There is no age limit for applicants as agriculture attracts both mature new entrants and school leavers.
OngoingRead More
Scottish EnterpriseGreen Heat Innovation Support ProgrammeThe GHISP supports innovation and capital investment that will accelerate the roll out and adoption of green heating solutions and associated products. It's about encouraging the growth of Scotland’s green heat market and helping projects in areas such as:

• Energy efficiency products
• Green heat equipment, such as heat pumps and heat networks
• Supporting solutions, such as thermal storage
• Enabling solutions, such as digital and smart controls
• Green heat manufacturing or R&D in Scotland

We’re delivering GHISP in partnership with Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise.
Rolling deadline till March 2026Read More
Scottish GovernmentAgri-Environment Climate SchemeThere are two levels of entry to this scheme. Applications falling into each category will be assessed as follows.

Level 1 - this is for lower value applications up to an agreed monetary value for the round. This agreed value is dependent on the amount and value of the applications received. Applications for this level will undergo an initial assessment by a case officer including a discussion with you. The discussion may take place during an on-farm visit, depending on the options you have applied for. Your application is then considered by the Rural Payments and Inspections Division or NatureScot (formally Scottish Natural Heritage) for approval or rejection.

Level 2 - this if for higher value applications above an agreed monetary value for the round. This agreed value is dependent on the amount and value of the applications received. Applications for this level will undergo an initial assessment as per level one. After assessment the case will be considered by an expert panel constituted on a national basis for approval or rejection. Applications will be scored against selection criteria.

conversion and
01 February 2024 –
31 July 2024

01 February 2024 –
10 June 2024
Read More
Leading Edge Only/ M&SWaste Not, Want Not: Revolutionising food waste solutionsMarks and Spencer are looking for those who can join them in developing creative solutions to minimize food waste and create a more sustainable future for all. Food waste is a challenge for all food retailers. M&S are looking for cutting-edge solutions that will put us ahead of the competition to make us more sustainable, efficient, and streamlined in the food supply chain. Innovators and experts at any stage of development are encouraged to apply.31st May 2024Read More
UKRIFunded access to Catapults and RTOs to support growth & scalingInnovative, ambitious businesses can benefit from the facilities and expertise provided by Catapults and Research & Technology Organisations (RTOs) through Innovate UK Business Growth Businesses that are looking to grow & scale through innovation can use this grant funding to access Catapults and RTOs to:

• Explore and test new product ideas

• Seek technical expertise and specialist sector knowledge

• Gain advice on regulatory and government processes as well as access networks of customers, services and funders

• Receive sector-specific expert advice and support with market analysis; cost modelling; business‐case support; creation of industry‐relevant R&D project plans

• Identify opportunities for R&D, collaboration, and partnership building

• Receive support to commercialise their innovation, including improving efficiency, making their business operations more sustainable, or investigating market gaps
Open endedRead More
Esmee FairbarnNature friendly farmingThere is a growing body of farmers leading the way in using innovative approaches to farming that produces food at the same time as restoring nature and allowing soils to recover. This has helped to create a window of opportunity to demonstrate the value of nature-friendly farming that will also help to increase biodiversity lost as a result of current farming practices.Open endedRead More
DEFRA (England only)Various• Manage your land to benefit the environment
• Invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure to increase productivity
• Improve water quality and air quality
• Reduce flood risk
• Protect species and habitats and protect biodiversity
• Farming in protected landscapes
• Protect animal health and welfare
• Create or improve woodland and protect tree health
• Attract private investment in nature projects
• Funding for research and innovation
• Direct payments and lump sum payments
VariousRead More
AFN Network +Scoping study grantsThe AFN Network+ provides funding to carry out work under our mission of supporting the UK agri-food system through the transition to a net zero UK by 2050. Projects must be interdisciplinary and involve at least one non-academic partner in a meaningful way.

• Funding is for up to 14 projects at a maximum of £50,000 per project for a maximum 12-month period.

• Awards are granted at 80% full economic cost (FEC) and UKRI rules regarding eligible costs apply

• Awards will begin from 1 October 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter depending on administrative constraints, and must be spent by 30 September 2025.

• Award winners will be notified in September 2024.

• Research teams must be interdisciplinary.

• We strongly encourage you to develop engaged research with groups that are not always ‘included in the research room’ and often at the front line (e.g. in experiencing intersecting inequalities).

• Eligible proposals must include at least one food system stakeholder, from outside of the research and higher education sector. Food system stakeholders are broadly defined to include (e.g. farmers, growers, food manufacturers, agri-tech companies, dietitians, or policy-makers). Grants will be awarded to the lead partner who will then manage fund transfers between partners e.g. funding may be subcontracted to food system stakeholders. The principal investigator (PI) must have a role at a higher education institution (HEI) and the contract will be with that HEI

• Proposals must address one of the following specific research priorities listed at the end of this document.
30th June 2024, 5pmRead More
DEFRADEFRA Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 1- Feasibility (Strand 1)

Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 2- Industrial Research (Strand 2)
The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative development projects with ambitious solutions to address the challenges related to nutrient management in soils and water associated with agricultural livestock and crop production. The solutions provided will enable sustainable and resilient farming.
Nutrient management involves using nutrients, both organic and manufactured, as efficiently as possible to maximise plant uptake, crop growth and yield. It also includes applying nutrients where and when they can be best utilised by plants, thereby combating run-off and soil erosion. Good nutrient management should increase productivity whilst protecting the environment by minimising nutrient loss.
Projects should align with the following Defra targets and commitments:
• the Environment Improvement Plan to reduce nitrogen, phosphate and sediment pollution by 40% by 2038
• the Clean Air Strategy to reduce emissions of ammonia by 16% by 2030
• to achieve Net Zero by 2050 where the agriculture contribution is 33%
Your proposal must be able to demonstrate how the project will benefit farmers and growers in England.
This competition is split into 2 strands:
Strand 1: Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 1 - Feasibility
Strand 2: Farming Futures: Nutrient Management Phase 1 - Industrial Research (this strand)
24th July 2024, 11amStrand 1

Strand 2
ESPRCManufacturing research hubs for a sustainable future three: outlineManufacturing research hubs for a sustainable future three will deliver a programme of innovative research in the engineering and physical sciences, related to the challenges in commercialising early-stage research and manufacturing.
The hubs will feature high quality, multidisciplinary research, strong engagement with relevant manufacturing industries, and will take a leadership role in their national network. In particular, they will demonstrate a cross-cutting and embedded approach to environmental sustainability, and promote active equality, diversity and inclusion action planning and delivery
4th July 2024, 4pm (UK time)Read More
UKRIInnovation support hub: Farming Innovation Programme ADOPT FundThe ADOPT fund aims to support on-farm trials to evaluate tools, technology, systems, and approaches that can enhance the profitability, productivity, and sustainability of farmers, growers, and foresters in England. The funding aligns with the broader goals of the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP), with a specific focus on 1-to-2-year projects that meet these criteria: Innovative Solutions: Funding is provided for practices or technologies that aren't widely used but show potential to improve farm productivity and sustainability. Farmer-Led: Projects are centred on groups led by farmers. Collaborative: They involve cooperation among farmers, industry, and researchers. Scientifically Grounded: Trials are based on rigorous scientific methods with detailed measurement and recording. Knowledge Sharing: Projects are open to sharing results and lessons learned with others. Innovate UK oversees the scope of competitions and project eligibility.24th June 2024Read More
Innovate UK Smart GrantsThe Innovate UK Smart grant supports micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their partners develop the best game-changing and world-leading innovative R&D projects. It offers funding where other opportunities are not available or appropriate, and where timing is key to ensure swift and successful commercialisation post-project completion.
To be in scope your proposal must demonstrate:
• a ground-breaking and innovative idea for brand new products, processes or services
• an idea that is significantly different from already available products, processes or services globally
• an idea that is set for rapid commercialisation following project completion
• clear potential to positively impact the UK’s position, productivity and competitiveness within the global economy
• a clear, evidence-based business plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
• why Smart funding is the right potential funding for your project, and the journey you have already been on to reach the point of application
• a team with the necessary skills and expertise to deliver the project successfully and on time, and to achieve rapid commercialisation
• awareness of all the main risks the project will face with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
• sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, including the funding of post-project activities
Your project must focus on:
• taking customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions
• identifying who is ready to buy your innovation
• being developed, planned and resourced beyond the end of the Innovate UK funded project, taking into account the focus of any project partners and their existing commitments
• fitting in with and complementing your ongoing business planning and development, product offerings and organisational structure to maximise chances of success
24th July, 11am (UK time)Read More
Innovate UK Design Foundations Round 5The aim of this competition is to help businesses use people centred and systemic design methods, laying foundations for innovative ideas with the potential to deliver significant benefits. These can be ideas for new or significantly improved products, services, places or business models.
To be within scope of this competition, your proposal must be one or more of the following three categories:
1. Defining innovation opportunities. You will use people centred and systemic design methods to identify, understand and prioritise needs and innovation opportunities that are relevant and valuable to your business, and to plan innovation activity to respond to them (including generating, testing and improving new ideas),
2. Generating new ideas. You recognise a specific need or opportunity to innovate, and will use people centred design methods to verify it, and respond to it by generating new or improved ideas,
3. Testing and improving ideas. You have an innovative idea and will use people centred design methods to simulate, test and improve the quality of the experience and benefits that it offers at every stage of its lifecycle.
Your project must explore opportunities and ideas from the perspective of the people who will be involved with or affected by them. Their experiences, motivations and behaviour must be allowed to shape the challenge and ideas. This is to make sure that:
• the most important and valuable problems and opportunities are being addressed
• proposed solutions are more desirable, equitable and beneficial
• new ideas are more likely to be adopted or promote positive changes in behaviour
Your project must also include activities to identify and involve relevant stakeholders sufficiently early and at appropriate points throughout the project.
Your project team can reflect the characteristics, culture and lived experiences of the people they are designing for, or take steps to bring those perspectives permanently into the project.
All prototyping activity within your project must:
• focus primarily on making discoveries about the quality of experience, the likelihood of the idea being adopted or its potential to promote positive changes in behaviour
• be as quick and low cost as possible, and aim for the lowest level of fidelity and functionality necessary to get the required feedback
• be used to share ideas and make discoveries early in the design process, so they can be acted on before it becomes prohibitively expensive or time consuming to do so
26th June 2024, 11am UK timeRead More
UKRIDigital Research Technical Professional Skills Network PlusThe aim of this funding opportunity is to support a small number of Digital Research Technical Professional (RTP) Skills NetworkPlus grant awards, led by project leads (termed digital RTP champions), which will equitably bring together disciplines, sectors, and domains together to:
 address cross-cutting challenges related to digital RTP skills and careers
 provide leadership and coordinate collaborations
 seed better ways of working together
 catalyse learning, capability and capacity for digital RTPs
The NetworkPlus awards will explore key challenges and interventions related to skills and careers that are faced by digital RTP communities across the UK research and innovation landscape, including, for example:
 visible career pathways, structures and offers, including entry routes, and nature of employment contracts
 people and skills capacity to support innovative research
 mechanisms and structures to support movement of people and skills across and between research, disciplines and industry
 recognition of the value of staff delivering and supporting the delivery and use of digital research infrastructures
For the purposes of this funding opportunity, digital RTP is intended to be an inclusive umbrella term which includes hundreds of job titles such as data scientists, research software engineers, computational researchers, systems administrators, and technical support for digital research infrastructures.
The overall objectives of this funding opportunity are to:
 build new and enhanced communities of digital RTPs that are diverse, inclusive and interdisciplinary (across research and industry), with clear community leaders and advocates
 facilitate collaborations between digital RTPs, researchers and innovators, across domains and disciplines, to enable the generation, development and delivery of the best research
 support the development and sharing of new digital RTP skills across domains and disciplines, including:
 understanding flexible and scalable support when building new digital RTP capacity
 new techniques and approaches
 support for varied approaches to career development
 enable porosity of digital RTPs across domains and disciplines, including between industry and research
 raise the profile of digital RTPs in the UK, enhancing collaboration with researchers and innovators, as well as enhancing institutional support and recognition, and broader planning for their support and career development
27th June 2024, 4pm (UK time)Read More