Funding opportunities in Agri-Food and Biosciences

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has an excellent track record of assisting our members to take advantage of the many sources of public funding to support innovation in Agri-Food and Bioscience & Biotechnology.

We have extensive knowledge of various UK and European funding mechanisms and can alert our members to relevant funding calls, help set up collaborations, and provide advice and help with funding applications.

A selection of funding schemes of relevance to the Agri-Food and Bioscience & Biotechnology Communities are highlighted below.


Innovate UK Funding Schemes



Innovate UK Competitions 
You can apply for funding to test the feasibility of your idea, research and develop it and demonstrate it in a prototype.

Innovate UK funding competitions cover the following industry sectors:
  • emerging and enabling technologies
  • infrastructure systems
  • health and life sciences
  • manufacturing and materials
They also have an open programme that is not sector based.

Agri-Tech Catalyst
The Agri-Tech Catalyst offers funding to innovative businesses and researchers to develop solutions to global agricultural challenges."

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
Funding for partnerships between UK businesses and academics to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance.


Smart Awards
New R&D science, engineering and technology funding for single SMEs. Three types of grant are available:Proof of market grant; Proof of concept grant; Development of prototype grant.

Technology Strategy Board

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)
SBRI competitions use the power of government procurement to drive innovation by providing innovative solutions to public sector challenges and business opportunities for technology companies.

Technology Strategy Board

Innovation Vouchers
Funding of £5k projects for SMEs in the area of Agri-food, Built Environment, to allow businesses to work with an external expert for the first time, gaining new knowledge to help businesses innovate, develop and grow.

Research Councils UKResearch Councils UK


BBSRC Research Funding
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK's principal funder of basic and strategic biological research.


EPSRC Funding
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) operates a small number of flexible funding schemes including Fellowships, Industrial CASE Awards, Networks and Mobility Awards.


BBSRC Industrial Partnership Awards
Science-led, responsive mode grants where an industrial partner contributes at least 10% of the full economic cost of the project.


BBSRC CASE Studentships
CASE (Co-operative Awards in Science and Engineering) PhD studentships involve an academic institution and a commercial company. Awarded as a training grant to the academic partner.


BBSRC "Stand-alone" LINK
The LINK scheme promotes academic & industrial collaboration in pre-competitive research. Projects are typically funded 50:50 by industry and government support.



Research and Technology Clubs

Supporting research in areas identified as strategically important by BBSRC and industry. RTCs support academic research and encourage closer links between academia and industry.


EU FlagEuropean Funding Schemes




Eureka Eurostars (for SMEs)
Specifically targeting the development of new products, processes and services and the access to transnational and international markets.

EU Flag


Horizon 2020
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Help and advice are availble from the National Contact Point.

EU Flag

SME Instrument
The dedicated SME instrument's supports close-to-market activities, with the aim to give a strong boost to breakthrough innovation. The fund provides grants, coaching and access to risk finance with no need for an international consortia.

EU Flag Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
Marie Curie Actions  provide funding opportunities for mobility and training at all stages of a researcher's career.

Regional Funding


Scottish Enterprise


Scottish Enterprise
Various grants and funding options are available to businesses of all sizes for research and development, co-investment and technological innovations.

Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise Research & Development Grants
Supporting businesses developing new products, processes and services to improve company competitiveness and to benefit the Scottish economy. Projects typically last 6 to 36 months, and the grant can cover up to 50% of the project costs.

Scottish Enterprise

SMART Scotland
SMART: SCOTLAND provides discretionary grants to support technical and commercial feasibility studies, and research and development (R&D) projects.

Invest NI


Invest Northern Ireland
Various grants and funding options are available to businesses of all sizes for research and development, co-investment and technological innovations.

Welsh Government

Welsh Government Grants
Grants to fund schemes and initiatives that deliver the Welsh Government's priorities.



Regional Growth Fund
£2.6 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2016. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.

Other Sources of Funding



Genomia Fund
Genomia provides seed and pre-seed funds for commercialisation of public sector research in the biosciences. This funding is only available to a closed list of public sector research establishments (PSREs).

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust Funding Schemes
The Wellcome Trust offers a wide variety of funding schemes, including Investigator Awards, fellowships and Strategic Awards, Translation Awards etc.



R&D tax credits
Research and Development (R&D) Relief is a Corporation Tax relief that may reduce your company or organisation's tax bill by more than your actual expenditure on allowable R&D costs.
>> HM Revenues and Customs
>> Guide to R&D Tax Credits in NI


Want to discuss a potential funding proposal or project?

Contact the team

Contact a member of our team


Funding for IB & SynBio

You can now watch the video and download the slides from the webinar on "Opportunities for Industrial Biotechnology & Synthetic Biology in the new Innovate UK Delivery Plan."

Find out more >>

Newton Fund Agri-food (Turkey) call now open

Innovate UK is to invest up to £1.5M for UK participants developing innovative solutions to challenges within the agri-food sector in Turkey.

  • Brokering visit to Turkey late June
    (Deadline to apply extended: 1 June 2016, 17:00)

  • Partnering webinar
    16 June 2016, 10:00-12:00 (UK)

  • Online partnering platform

Find out more >>


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Horizon 2020 Funding

KTN, in collaboration with Innovate UK, is supporting the 2016 Horizon 2020 work programme for:

  • SC2 (Food security, sustainable agriculture & forestry, marine, maritime & inland water research & the bioeconomy)
  • SC5 (Climate action, environment, resource efficiency & raw materials).

Visit KTN's H2020 page >>

National Contact Point

The National Contact Points (NCPs) for Horizon 2020 can help you with a free confidential service to provide you with information, guidance and support from general enquiries about Horizon 2020, to advice and best practice on writing a research proposal. 

Find out more >>

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Wed 15 Jun 2016

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Funding for science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of collaborating countries.

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