Innovation grants to stimulate ‘Agri-tech’ research and development in Cornwall

Featuring Andrew Richards | 30th November, 2017

Earlier this year saw the launch of the Cornwall Agri-tech project. We blogged on this at the time and have kept in close contact with the project administrators (as we act for both a large number of businesses engaged in agriculture and a number of innovators).

Yesterday, we were passed a copy of a press release for the project and picked out some key points below.


Farmers have historically been early adopters of technology, whether it is the move of horses to tractors or the adoption of GPS and other precision farming techniques. The constant drive to improve farm efficiency and profitability is an ever increasing challenge, as well as an opportunity.

However, with a few notable exceptions, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has not been an area where the actual technology that is taken up by farmers has been researched or developed. The Cornwall Agri-tech project has been designed to help address this issue.

Four research strands are targeted:

  • Animal health and welfare in livestock
  • Maximising soil, water and nutrient use efficiency for sustainable crop and livestock production
  • Improving the productivity of speciality crop production
  • Utilising technology to drive Agri-tech productivity and innovation

The Cornwall Agri-tech project is led by Duchy College and involves the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Rothamsted research and the Cornwall Development Company. Between them, they aim to support new Agri-tech related ideas and innovation from Cornish based businesses.

The Cornwall Agri-tech project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Cornwall Council and the Council for the Isles of Scilly.

Support available

Support for businesses to engage in Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) under Agri-tech Cornwall includes the three (funding) elements below:

Element Overview Contacts
Innovation grants: £2,500 to £50,000 Grants are available for eligible small and medium sized businesses based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and can be used towards the cost of a range of RD&I activities. These can include feasibility studies, commissioning specialist research, the purchase of equipment for RD&I related activity, or to cover consultancy costs to undertake an RD&I project. The business engagement managers (Caroline Hanlan and Liz Gilbert) can offer businesses support and advice with their application and procurement, ensuring eligibility of activity. Both Liz and Caroline, have extensive experience within the rural and farm business sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.


Collaborative research fund £50,000 to £250,000 Fund for businesses looking to undertake RD&I in collaboration with others. If the innovation grant is not the most suitable form of support, Caroline and Liz can also put businesses in contact with the other partners in the Cornwall Agri-tech project to see if a larger collaborative research project would be a better way of achieving the necessary RD&I outcomes.
Graduate placement programme To help the business deliver an agreed RD&I project, Agri-tech Cornwall can support the specification of the research and recruitment of the graduate, in addition to a salary subsidy of £1,500 (6 months) or £2,250 (9 months). This element is managed by Unlocking Potential.



More information

We understand that Agri-tech Cornwall are planning an event in January of next year and will share details when we have them.

For now, as the press release finishes off, so shall I, with the following; “if you have a great idea which you would like to research or develop, or you know a business that does, get in touch with our friendly Agriculture Accounting team”.



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