Collaborative research:

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform

Call status: Closed
Next application deadline: TBC 


The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform (SAF-IP) launched in October 2009. It helps UK businesses to develop innovative technologies, production systems and supply chain solutions to increase the productivity of the agri-food sector while reducing its environmental impact.

The TSB, together with BBSRC, Defra, and the Scottish Government, are to invest up to £16.5M in collaborative R&D projects to tackle challenges posed by crop and livestock diseases.

Full guidance for applicants is provided in the competition brief (see external links)


Scientific objectives

Effective control of agricultural disease plays an essential role in realising the yield and market potential of crop and livestock production systems. This competition will stimulate innovative technologies and approaches that optimise yield and quality by targeting bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens.

The competition will also support technologies that improve prediction, identification and detection of pathogens for better disease management and raw material quality as well as reduced losses during post-harvest storage.


This competition targets the bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens which affect crop and livestock production, including aquaculture. The aim is to optimise yield and quality in pre and post-farm gate environments.

Projects may seek to develop technologies and approaches to improve disease and pathogen identification, treatment and management, including but not limited to:

Please download the competition brief (see external links) for further guidance.

Projects that develop approaches and technologies that are transferable across both crop and livestock disease challenge areas are particularly encouraged.

While controlling crop pests as disease vectors is in scope, projects targeting pests that cause direct damage to crops (for example, slugs) are out of scope. This recognises support provided through previous thematic SAF-IP competitions (New approaches to crop protection). Projects targeting the control of weeds (for example, blackgrass) or non-food crop diseases are also out of scope.

Any projects which are out of scope for this competition should look at other funding opportunities available through the  Agri-Tech Catalyst


Projects must be collaborative and business-led. Research organisations and businesses of any size may participate. The competition primarily seeks to fund industrial research with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs).

Projects should last no more than three years (although projects lasting up to five years may be considered in exceptional circumstances). Projects are expected to range in size from 500k to £2M.


A workshop for potential applicants was held on 6 May 2014 in Birmingham and with introductory presentations covering:

There will be several dedicated networking sessions, and KTN and TSB staff will be present to address any queries related to the competition.

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

Download the competition brief for further guidance (see external links).

There is a two-stage competition. Applicants were invited to submit an expression of interest which will be assessed (closed 18 June 2014). Successful applicants will be invited to submit an application by 10 September 2014, noon.

To apply you must first register with the Technology Strategy Board through their competition page (see external links). Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications.

For further help call the competition helpline on: 0300 321 4357 or email:

A briefing webinar was held on 7 May 2014 to highlight the main features of the competition and to explain the application process. We strongly recommend applicants take part