Satellites for Agri-Food Workshop

7th October 2015, London

Report by Andy Powell, KTN

The UK's space, food and agriculture industries met in London in October 2015 to assess how space technology can better support future global food and agricultural production. ‘Satellites for Agri-Food' highlighted how the British farming industry, food manufacturers and producers can access multi-million pound grants to deliver new ideas for increasing production efficiency using satellite and space technology. 

It brought together over 150 businesses, entrepreneurs, academics and funders to address current and future challenges, such as climate change, data translation and food security, facing the agriculture and food sectors. Hosted by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), its purpose was to encourage new collaborative projects to apply for funding in Innovate UK's latest £3.75 million competition. Grants of £18 million (€25 million) are also available through the European Horizon 2020 agriculture programme.

Dr David Telford, knowledge transfer manager for agriculture with KTN, commented that the United Nations predicted food production will need to increase by 70 per cent to cope with a world population expected to reach more than nine billion by 2020. "This will be a major challenge for the global food system which will have to balance demand with sustainable supplies, as well as meeting the challenges of a low emissions world and maintaining biodiversity," he said.

Keston Williams, technical director of south coast-based semi-exotic produce specialist Barfoots, highlighted the possibilities that driver-less tractors and greater data connectivity could bring to the food sectors and encouraged the industry to "delve into the world of space". Simon Baty, knowledge transfer manager for food with KTN, described the event as about "seizing the opportunity" of collaboration. "It is through collaboration that companies will be able to grow more and sell more by adding value," he said.

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Competition Links

Competition Briefing Webinar

19 November 2015 (13:00-15:00)

KTN is hosting a webinar to provide further details of Innovate UK's 'Satellites to Improve Agri-Food Systems' competition.

Find out more and register >>

Competition Brief

Click on the image to download the competition brief

Read the Lead Technologist's Blog

Andy Proctor, of Innovate UK, has posted a blog on the topic "Targeting the use of satellite and space technology to improve agri-food productivity.

Read Andy Proctors blog >>