UK - £16 million is being invested in 25 projects aimed at developing innovative business ideas to support UK agriculture.
The money includes £9.8 million from government and £6.2 million from industry, and forms the third round of funding to be distributed through the £70 million Agri-Tech Catalyst. It will be shared between over 70 businesses and universities from across the UK.
The Agri-Tech Catalyst, run by Innovate UK and BBSRC, supports collaborative research between scientists and businesses to springboard projects from the lab to the market place , speeding up the time before the farmer and public benefit.
The 25 innovations in this round include developing 3D camera technology to identify when broccoli is ready for harvesting, a key step towards the development of a fully automatic robotic harvesting system for the vegetable which will significantly reduce production costs.
Another example is the 'Sunshine Egg', a project to help reduce vitamin D deficiency in humans by enriching naturally-laid chicken eggs via feed.
Other winners from this round include developing environmentally-friendly cooling and heating to promote enhanced living conditions for healthier chickens and adapting the use of satellite imagery to identify the right time for farmers to tend to their crops.
Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities said: "With a growing population and more extreme climate, providing a sufficient and healthy food supply has become more important than ever, as has the need to seek out innovations of doing so.
"The Agri-Tech Catalyst is helping businesses and researchers by providing valuable finance to take innovations from any sector or discipline all the way from concept to commercialisation."
Science and Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said: "Innovation in food and farming is crucial in supporting us to grow the economy and improve the environment. This new investment will help take ideas from the lab to the farmer's field, further developing our high-tech, highly-skilled agri-food sector.
"It is great that we can support innovative projects that are tackling such a wide range of challenges - from improved breeding of pigs and poultry to producing better wheat for cake and biscuit makers.
"Projects like these are essential to the competitiveness of our farmers and food producers and form a key part of our long-term economic plan."
Ian Meikle, Head of Agriculture and Food at Innovate UK said: "The Agri-Tech Strategy aims to make the UK a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability. The funding decisions announced today are expert-led and evidence-based, which support great ideas that address challenges of the future in food and farming.
"With business, research and government working together, these investments can unlock potential and deliver major benefits for society and the economy."
Businesses and researchers with ideas that have the potential to solve global agricultural challenges can apply for the fourth round of Agri-Tech Catalyst funding.
TheCropSite News Desk
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