Growing Kent & Medway Business Innovation Vouchers allow businesses to take advantage of 75% funding towards research projects costing up to £20,000!

The Vouchers will give businesses access to the leading experts and research facilities in the Kent and Medway region. They are designed to help overcome the challenges that may be facing a business and realise opportunities through innovation; whether it is testing a new prototype product, trialling a new piece of technology or getting data to validate an idea.

What is a Business Innovation Voucher?

A Business Innovation Voucher is a grant that can be used by to access technical research support.

Businesses can take advantage of 75% funding towards research projects worth up to £20,000. A cash or in-kind 25% co-investment is needed from the business applicant, so grants of up to £15,000 are available.

Across the Kent and Medway region, there are experts in a wide-range of areas who can work with businesses to find solutions to challenges they are facing in the horticultural and plant-based food and drink industries. The funding could be used for a consultation with a scientific expert, a small trial, or for access to some of the cutting-edge research equipment and facilities available in Kent and Medway.

What type of projects will the Business Innovation Vouchers be awarded for?

We can support a range of projects. The capabilities in the region mean we’re able to help with challenges in;

  • Crop production
  • Food processing
  • Packaging
  • Producing high-value compounds from plants, and
  • agri-tech solutions.

Businesses might have a new product idea that they would like to prototype and test in a food laboratory kitchen. They may want to see how different light levels affect how a plant grows, or find a different variety of fruit that works in a new recipe. Or they might want to investigate alternative packaging ideas to reduce food waste or eliminate single use plastic.

The Business Innovation Vouchers could be used for;

  • Testing new products and prototypes
  • Trialling new technology
  • Validating your data
  • Proof of concept studies

Whatever the challenge may be, our team would love to talk to you to understand your business, its challenges and discuss solutions. They can advise how the grants could help and which research partners would be best placed to support you.

You can get in touch with any of our Innovation Growth Managers directly, or alternatively, please fill in our expression of interest form and one of our team will be in touch.

Robert Saville, NIAB. Particular interest; Crop production systems and agri-tech for horticultural systems.
[email protected]

Sophie Packer, University of Kent. Particular interest; Packaging, disease control and high-value compounds.
[email protected]

Parag Acharya, University of Greenwich. Particular interest: Plant and algae-based alternative proteins, fresh produce storage and food processing.
[email protected]

Am I eligible for a grant?

The vouchers are open to businesses of any size. You must be registered in Kent and Medway. The grants are available for horticultural and plant-based food and drink businesses across the supply chain.

How do I apply?

As a first step, we recommend getting in touch with our Innovation Growth Managers who can chat to you about your business, your challenges and the opportunities you want to address. The grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, with the best ideas receiving support for funding. Details about the application process, assessment criteria and judging process will be made available soon.

If you are not already a member, you can join our Growing Kent & Medway network and we will let you know as soon as the application forms are open.

Which research organisations could I work with?

The research organisations that are part of Growing Kent & Medway are NIAB, University of Kent and University of Greenwich. We have invested in three new state-of-the-art research facilities at each of the organisations to support innovation.

NIAB and GreenTech Hub for Advanced Horticulture

NIAB are specialists in molecular genetics, genomics, pest and disease biology and management, crop and post-harvest physiology, agronomy and environmental science.

University of Greenwich and Medway Food Innovation Centre

The team at University of Greenwich are specialists in crop protection, post-harvest storage, value addition and food innovation. The new Medway Food Innovation Centre has state-of-the-art capacities, some of which is unique to the UK.

University of Kent and Biotechnology Hub

Run by Kent’s School of Biosciences. The team applies high-tech approaches to production and processing of high-value foods and plant-based compounds from plant material and waste, pathogen identification and control, and maintenance of healthy soil.