Collaborative research:

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform

Expression of interest call status: Closed
Application deadline (invite only): 12 February 2015 


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.

Innovate UK, together with BBSRC and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are to invest up to £11M in business projects to improve the resource efficiency and resilience of the food and drink supply chain.

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



In 2012 the agri-food supply chain, spanning primary production through to final retailing and catering, contributed £97.1Bn or 7.4% to national gross value added (GVA). Consumer expenditure on food and drink exceeds £196Bn annually and UK exports of food, feed and drink were valued at £18.9Bn in 2013. There are 3.6 million people employed across the whole food supply chain, including agriculture and fishing.

An increasing population, combined with higher levels of consumption, means global food demand is expected to rise by 50-70% by 2050. Simultaneously environmental stresses will increase due to:

As well as improving production through sustainable intensification, we need to:

Businesses that develop technologies to address these issues can improve their competitiveness and export potential, which in turn will support a circular economy that is more resilient to supply chain risks.


We are inviting proposals that have the potential to significantly improve the resource efficiency or resilience of the food and drink supply chain (beyond primary production).

Specifically, proposals should address one or more of the following high-level challenges:

We expect there will be a range of approaches to these challenges.

Proposals that seek to improve resource efficiency through innovation in primary production are not in scope. These may be eligible for support through the Agri-Tech Catalyst website (see external links).

Apart from the high-level challenges, we recognise many innovations bring wider benefits such as improving product quality, retention and availability of nutrients. Please highlight any extra benefits, like these, in your application.

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


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) but will also consider projects that include demonstration activities. For demonstration activities, businesses attract 25% funding for their project costs (35% for SMEs). The total proportion of all research partner costs should not exceed 30% of total project costs.

Total project costs are expected to range in size from £250k to £1M. Larger projects may be considered, in particular where there is a demonstration component, but applicants should contact Innovate UK directly before making their application.


A webinar briefing for potential applicants will be held on 15 October 2014 to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. Applicants are strongly recommended to participate in this event (see external links).

Networking and consortia-building events will also be held on 9 October 2014 in Edinburgh, and 10 October 2014 in Manchester (see external links).


To apply you must first register with the Innovate UK 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:

How to apply

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

This is a two-stage competition that opened for applicants on 13 October 2014.

Applications are assessed on individual merit by an independent panel of experts.