£4.78m funding boost to advance agri-tech innovation

Agri-tech innovation has been given a funding boost of £4.78 million to turn cutting-edge research into commercially attractive technology.

The fund will be delivered by the newly formed Ceres Agri-tech Knowledge Exchange Partnership, which aims to pool the research expertise of five universities and three agricultural research centres with support and expertise of commercial partners.

The Ceres Partnership will work with business partners to identify, build, invest in and run the most commercially viable development projects focussed on the innovation needs of the agritech sector.

The result will be technologies that can be exploited through licences, start-up companies and partnerships with SMEs and large agritech corporations.

Ceres links the universities of Cambridge, Lincoln, East Anglia, Hertfordshire and Reading, as well as the John Innes Centre, Rothamsted Research and NIAB.

The Ceres funding is part of an investment of £67 million through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF)* in new collaborative projects to drive forward world-class university commercialisation across the country.

Professor Simon Pearson, Director of the Lincoln Institute of Agri-food Technology at the University of Lincoln, said: “The agri-food industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and with our track record for innovation we are well-placed to emerge as a global leader.

“The Ceres network enables us to take the next step; for the first time it brings together all the world class agricultural research infrastructure located across Lincolnshire and the East of England.

“It offers opportunities for new collaborations and puts together the expertise needed to tackle key challenges that will underpin future food security.”

The three-year Ceres project will run through March 2021.