CHAP Bid Masterclass on Soil Health – 12th February 2019

The focus for this masterclass aimed at SMEs will be on the Cranfield-based soil health facilities, where soil conditions can be pre-defined at pilot scale and soil-root interactions can be monitored. This facility has benefitted from £13 million of investment from two of the Agritech Centres (Agri-EPI and CHAP), who are supported by Innovate UK.   The workshop will cover the basics of how to apply to Innovate UK; how to maximise your opportunity of success; CHAP funding models; consortia requirements; an overview of current and future opportunities and an update on current expectation of funding calls. There will also be plenty of time for private 1-1 meetings with key CHAP, Cranfield and KTN staff to discuss individual project ideas.

As you know the government announced £90 million of new funding in 2018 to help businesses, researchers and industry to transform food production, as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The first round of Collaborative R&D occurred last year and CHAP successfully held a Bid Development Masterclass on Novel Systems which led to numerous new collaborations and funded projects.

There remains £70m of unallocated funding at this point and expectation of imminent funding calls to identify projects which improve productivity and sustainability by developing enhanced decision support, precision agriculture technology solutions and systems for crop and ruminant agriculture.

Zeina Chapman, Director of Liberty Produce who participated in the event last year; “I would highly recommend attending one of the KTN-CHAP Bid Development Masterclasses. Not only did we receive clear and transparent guidance on the preparation of our application, but the masterclass presented us with the opportunity to discuss relevant project ideas and actually meet and network with prospective collaborators, some of whom went on to become our partners in our successful proposal.”

Cranfield is home to a range of plant growth facilities for experimental work involving plant physiology, plant phenotyping, plant-microbe interactions, and plant-soil interactions. The facilities include a novel platform for assessing pilot scale crop-soil systems and sensor development, and they integrate with our Soil Management Facility, Postharvest facilities and with the CHAP and AgriEPI AgriTech Centres for Agricultural Innovation. Uniquely they allow for testing within crop rotational context.

SMEs can benefit from these unique facilities within a project with CHAP as either RTO, collaborator or subcontractor, so you can make the most of this and future Innovate UK funding opportunities.

So, if you are new to the Innovate grant/bid application process and want to learn more or perhaps brush up on your skills, or just see what is on offer from CHAP, then come and join us and see the potential within CHAP as a partner. Places are limited –  maximum of 2 people per company.

Places are limited so please RSVP to by Wednesday 6th February and indicate any specific dietary requirements.

Sign up for CHAP’s SME Workshops 2018

Over the next few months CHAP will be organising a series of small workshops focused on SME engagement and consortium building in preparation for the impending launch of ISCF “Transforming food production” funding calls later this year. We will invite specific industry guests to a number of key CHAP capabilities sites, such as Sand Hutton near York, Rothamsted in Harpenden or Cranfield University to discuss identified project ideas which can be addressed though utilisation of CHAP technologies.

Funding hints and tips will be shared and orientated to the specific funding calls as they are announced.

Please contact Innovate Director, Ruth Bastow for more information and to find out details of locations and dates for these specialist SME workshops from which we would expect some new exciting ideas for projects to emerge and take forward for funding.


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Four agri-tech centres come together at Harper Adams

21st March 2018

Four agri-tech centres come together at Harper Adams
All CHAP Partners were represented at the Innovate UK ‘show and tell’ agri-tech event at Harper Adams today. More than one hundred industry players queued up to inspect CHAP’s state of the art technologies. Scientists were on hand to explain more about what they do and how they can be used in collaboration with other partners. It was the first time that the four agri-tech centres had come together under one roof to show off their collection of technologies and, most importantly, how they interact and work with each other. After the event CHAP Chairman, John Chinn, said “ What made my day was so many of our guests describing the day as ‘exciting’ and ‘having a real buzz’. I feel really proud to be part of CHAP, as we move from asset building to transforming food production practice – through research work utilising our scientists’ brains and our great facilities”.


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February 28th 2018 in London

On 28 Feb CHAP held, with the support of KTN, it’s very first “SME Day” in central London, bringing together a small number of targeted SMEs that would have an interest in learning more about and potentially collaborating with CHAP in 3 areas:  Vertical Growing/Hydroponics, Novel Chemicals/Bio-pesticides and Diagnostics/Sensors.  Despite the weather and travel disruptions we had representatives from 11 SMEs attending, together with staff from our partners at Rothamsted, Fera, CABi.  Unfortunately, the weather got the better of STC who were unable to attend due to localised travel issues In Yorkshire, but between KTN, CHAP and CABi we were able to cover off the vertical growing/hydroponics and biopesticide capabilities at STC.  Although it was a relatively small audience, there were many highly engaging discussions and individual one-to-one meetings between the SMEs and specific asset holder partners.  We believe a significant number of those discussions will now be taken further to develop project proposals aimed for funding calls in the immediate future.  Initial feedback from the attendees was that this was a well-organised event and a real opportunity for them to understand the capabilities within CHAP (and partners) and more importantly how we can help the SMEs to support the development of their respective businesses.  A more formal feedback will be obtained, but we will use this “pilot” SME Day now to hold similar SME Days on other specific topics in the near future.


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Chinese Visit

October 23rd 2017 at NAFIC, Sand Hutton

CHAP hosted a group of Chinese scientists from the Department of Agriculture at Yiln University. They were in the UK to look at ways of increasing crop yields to feed the growing population of China. They were particularly interested in CHAP’s smart farming technologies and the mesocosm. After an introductory presentation to CHAP, they were given a tour of the site, which they said they found ‘most interesting and informative’.

CHAP – Farmers Day

October 25th at NAFIC, Sand Hutton, York

CHAP hosted its first workshop for farmers in Yorkshire and the North East at CHAP’s headquarters in Sand Hutton, near York on October 25th 2017.  Farmers were given an introduction to CHAP by Chairman, John Chinn, himself a farmer, who understands only too well the challenges faced by farmers in the field. They were then given a tour of the site which included an introduction to our precision farming techniques.  Over the summer CHAP has created a national weather monitoring service with 30 bespoke met stations to collect and report data relevant to the understanding and prediction of pest and disease risk. We also have 4 mobile laboratories which go straight into the field, avoiding the time- consuming task of taking samples to the laboratory and which connects the farmer direct to a researcher and bespoke advice. The farmers were also given an introduction to Stockbridge’s LED unit and Cranfield’s root camera as further examples of what CHAP has to offer.

Industry day September 13th 2017

Brandon Hall Hotel, Brandon, Coventry CV8 3FW

We had a hugely successful Industry Day with 25 companies represented from across the agriculture sector. It was a big milestone for CHAP because it helped us better understand the problems facing our industry and this, in turn, will inform our thinking for future projects. Attendees were asked to submit 3-4 priorities in advance. Four themes emerged from the day – sustainable production of Oilseed rape; Reducing the impact of grass weeds; reducing the impact of cereal disease; increasing the control of insect pests. Out of these some very exciting new project ideas were born. There was a real buzz amongst the delegates about what CHAP can do and its vision for the future. CHAP is absolutely committed to following up and will be taking the ideas forward for funding opportunities. This is very much the start of a journey where the main benefactor will be UK farming and UK Plc.