Agri-Tech Catalyst Round 6: Innovation Funding in Developing Countries

Funding for innovative businesses and university researchers in the UK, with developing country partners, to develop solutions to global agricultural challenges.

The programme currently has an overall budget of £4 million.

The Agri-Tech Catalyst will award grants for early-stage pre industrial research feasibility studies, industrial research, and late-stage pre-experimental feasibility studies and experimental development.

IUK expects projects to range in size depending on the award category. Total project costs could be:

  • £150,000 to £400,000 for early-stage technical feasibility studies
  • up to £1.5 million for industrial research
  • up to £800,000 for late-stage experimental development

Projects should last between one year and 18 months for early and late-stage and up to three years for industrial research projects.

All projects must be collaborative and include both a UK and eligible developing country partner.


Before You Start

The Government has stated that agricultural science and technology is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets, driven by the following global challenges:

  • a rising population
  • climate change
  • rapid development of emerging economies with western lifestyle aspirations
  • growing geopolitical instability around shortages of land, water and energy

The vision of the Government's new UK strategy for agricultural technologies is to make the UK a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability. To achieve this, the Government is investing funding in the Agri-Tech Catalyst.

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace and scale of uptake of agricultural innovation by farmers in developing countries and to achieve:

  • a sustained reduction of poverty and hunger for smallholder farmers
  • a sustainable intensification in developing country agriculture
  • improvements in human health and diversity in diets and nutrition
  • a positive impact on rural income and food security
  • opportunities for trade in agricultural products


The Agri-Tech Catalyst will not fund equine-related proposals, or proposals relating to forestry or wild-capture fisheries.

What You Need To Know

Key Criteria

Subject to eligibility, any UK business or academic undertaking research and development may apply. All projects must be collaborative. Developing country partners must be involved for applicants targeting international development

Projects may focus on one of the following:

  • early-stage technical feasibility
  • industrial research
  • late-stage experimental development

Match Funding

For technical feasibility studies and industrial research, applicants could get up to:

  • 70% of eligible project costs for a micro or small business
  • 60% for a medium-sized business
  • 50% for a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, applicants could get up to:

  • 45% of eligible project costs for a micro or small business
  • 35% for a medium-sized business
  • 25% for a large business

Eligible Expenditure

The programme will support businesses and academia in developing innovative solutions to challenges in the agri-tech sector.

The Agri-Tech Catalyst will fund proposals relating to:

  • primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture;
  • non-food uses of arable crops (for example, for biomass);
  • food security and nutrition challenges in international development; and
  • challenges in downstream food processing, provided the solution lies in primary production.

The following areas are priorities for DFID funding in Round 6:

  • integrating smallholders into supply chains
  • meeting quality standards and improving productivity
  • creating new supply chains
  • increasing the value of production to smallholders
  • improving access to appropriate innovation in developing countries
  • innovation that increases rural income through improved processing / storage
  • control of crop pests, weeds and diseases

How To Apply

Further advice and assistance with submitting an application may be sought directly from Innovate UK.