Growing Kent & Medway have now opened applications for research and development grants worth up to £250,000 to support innovation for horticultural food and drink-based businesses operating in the Kent and Medway area.
NRI and the wider Faculty of Engineering and Science of the University of Greenwich are part of the consortium of partners that make up Growing Kent & Medway, an initiative focused on strengthening the horticulture, food and drink industries through research, innovation and enterprise.
The collaborative R&D grants will be awarded to proposals that demonstrate the potential to positively impact the local economy. Successful applicants will also be asked to commit to delivering community engagement in the Kent and Medway region.
Local businesses operating in the sector are encouraged to attend an online briefing event to maximise their chances of accessing the £2million available. The event will be held on Zoom at 11.30am, Tuesday 14 September 2021 and can be accessed with this link.
Dr. Nicola Harrison, Programme Director for Growing Kent & Medway, said: “These grants are an important part of our programme to uplift the region’s economy through inclusive and innovation-led growth. We would encourage local businesses across the whole horticultural food and drink supply chain, from food processing, packaging, storage to agri-food technology to apply.”
Proposed projects will need to support their business’ transition to net-zero, and deliver improved productivity and sustainability in food and drink production.
David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England and leader of the UK Research and Innovation Strength in Places Fund, said: “These newly available grants for horticulture, food production and related technology businesses will help drive inclusive, sustainable economic growth that will benefit local people across Kent and Medway, and help them move towards a sustainable, net zero future.
“As well as the financial support, the businesses will also be able to access advice on innovation and growth from the specialists at Innovate UK EDGE, which is also part of the UK Research and Innovation family.”
Full information about the competition brief and the application form are available on the Innovation Funding Service website. Applications for the grants close on 11am, 20 October 2021.
About Growing Kent & Medway
Growing Kent & Medway is a world-class research, innovation and enterprise cluster. It connects businesses in the region to support innovation and to establish the area as a world-leader in sustainable horticultural food and drink production.
The programme brings together innovative growers and processors, scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs to stimulate research, innovation and business growth. It invests in state-of-the-art infrastructure, collaborative research and innovation, and enterprise growth.
The programme is led by NIAB EMR (the UK’s largest horticultural research and development centre in East Malling). Additional research and commercial partners include: University of Greenwich, University of Kent, Locate in Kent, APS Group, Berry Gardens, Chapel Down, Geku Automation, Gusbourne, RH Group, Smurfit Kappa, Thanet Earth, The Kent and Medway Economic Partnership, Worldwide Fruit.
About UKRI Strength in Places fund
Led by UK Research and Innovation, Strength in Places Fund is a competitive funding scheme that takes a place-based approach to research and innovation funding, to support significant local economic growth.