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Collaborative R&D Grants


Who is eligible to apply: Businesses operating across the horticultural and plant-based food and drink supply chain, including agritech and engineering.

Opening date: Currently closed

Grant Information

Please note these grants are now closed and you are no longer able to apply. 

We awarded over over £1m to six businesses in our first round of funding. A further £1.4m was awarded to five businesses in our second round of funding. 


Partner with leading research specialists in Kent and Medway and apply for up to £350,000 of grant funding. This is the second round of our collaborative research and development grants.

Proposed projects can relate to;

  • horticultural production including the production of novel, high-value compounds from plants
  • fresh produce packaging
  • food and drink processing
  • enabling technologies that underpin the supply chain.


The competition is open to projects that help the transition to net-zero, and deliver improved productivity and sustainability in horticultural food and drink production.

Priority innovation themes include; 

  • Minimising waste and maximising recycling
  • Improving resource use efficiency and sustainability
  • Increasing productivity
  • Resilient food production, such as supply chain resilience and nutritional security
  • Precision technologies, including sensor technologies, AI or robotics
  • Solving the challenge of access to labour.


Your project must:

  • claim a grant between £50,000 and £350,000
  • start by 1 May 2023
  • end by 31 May 2025
  • last between 12 months and 24 months
  • carry out at least 75% of its project work in the Kent and Medway area
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the Kent and Medway area

The lead organisation must collaborate with at least one of the following research organisations or research and technology organisations in the Kent and Medway area:

  • NIAB
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Kent
  • Canterbury Christ Church University

Previous winners

Following the first wave of competitive applications, grants worth £1m were awarded to six innovative projects in Kent. All projects focus on helping the industry reduce carbon emissions, use resources more efficiently, or enable production to be more resilient to the impact of climate change. Meet the six previous grant winners

How to apply

You must be partnered with a Kent-based research organisation in order to apply.  The competition opens Monday 5 September and is a joint application process with your academic partner.

Applications will be made through the Innovation Funding Service and full eligibility, scope and information on how to apply will be made available on their site.

Your proposal must demonstrate the potential to positively impact on the economy of the Kent and Medway area. Grant recipients are also expected to deliver social value back to the community.

Social Value

Recipients of our Research and Development Grants will be expected to contribute towards our social value goals. For example, social value could include raising awareness around career pathways or around nutrition and wellbeing through community engagement. 

Further information can be found in our Social Value Framework Guide

Apply now
£600,000 available for sustainable food and drink innovation


Grant funding for businesses with innovative ideas to sustainably transform the fresh produce and supply chains and create circular economies.

Saving energy in apple storage


C Hulme & Sons, are using our grant to test new technology and artificial intelligence to reduce the amount of energy needed to store apples.

Food sector’s first-ever trial of revolutionary water-purification technology goes live at Kent vertical farm


A water-saving trial is underway at a vertical farm in Kent, following a £29,000 grant awarded from our Business Sustainability Challenge.

£1.2m funding for horticultural & plant-based food & drink supply chain


Two new funding streams to back sustainable innovation and new technologies in the horticultural and plant-based food and drink sector.

  • Robert Saville


    Robert Saville
  • Sophie Packer


    Sophie Packer
  • Parag Acharya


    Parag Acharya

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