New pilot funding to help develop innovative ideas from the ground up

This week saw Innovate UK and Defra launch its latest round of funding for innovation and R&D in England.

As part of this round there is a new opportunity being piloted to help support the development of ideas from farmers, growers and foresters to investigate a problem they know exists and to work out what could best be done about it. The intention is to help grant recipients to get through the tricky, early stage of seeing if an idea has legs and finding the best people to work with to solve it.

The Researcher Starter pilots have a lot in common with the groups we have worked with to co-design and deliver on-farm trials through the Innovative Farmers programme. It is reassuring that as part of the Agricultural Transition, and Defra’s commitment to fund more innovation and R&D, that there is now a dedicated pilot to help support the generation of ideas from the ground up – directly from farmers, growers and foresters.

However, with any potential funding source there are pros and cons to weigh up which is why we would like to help support members of our network discuss whether this might be an avenue to explore for them, their business and the wider industry. To find out what the application entails and how to submit an expression of interest watch this short video of the briefing event.

Find out more about how to apply - including advice on how to make short films to accompany your application.

Here you can also find a link to sign up to a Q&A with the funder on 20th October. Deadline to submit your expression of interest for consideration to make a formal application is 11am on 24th November 2021.

To find out more about the Researcher Starter pilots visit or contact haldis@soilassociation.org for a chat.

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