Double success for CHAP in recent UKRI funding awards

CHAP is delighted to announce that it has been awarded UKRI funding for two important projects.

Defra’s recently launched Farming Innovation Programme expands on its partnership with UKRI for the recent Farming Innovation Pathways competition, which saw huge demand from the sector and attracted many high-quality applications to innovate new solutions for the horticulture and farming industry, when launched earlier this year.

UKRI has now announced the new projects that have won a share of this £14.5 million Farming Innovation Pathways funding, which covers a wide range of projects and includes two wins for CHAP.

  • We are partners in Bactobio (formerly Baccuico) Ltd’s project to fight the damaging wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. The project aims to harness Bactobio’s high-throughput discovery platform to culture the 99% of soil bacteria that have previously not been culturable in the laboratory, in order to harvest the valuable secondary metabolites they produce. This project uses the National Reference Collection to provide field samples of Z. tritici for screening these metabolites for fungicidal properties, and partners with Rothamsted Research to run glasshouse trials to test their efficacies for crop protection.
  • We are also involved in the RIPEHouse project, which aims to revolutionise Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) through the development of an innovative ‘Natural Light Growing’ solution. It harnesses the full spectrum of natural daylight to optimise light-mediated processes in plants using bio-stimulants to produce high quality crops with enhanced nutritional and flavour characteristics. The project will create a step-change in the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of domestic fruit and vegetable growing compared to conventional glasshouse production, as well as extending the production season and removing the need for pesticides in production. The work is being done at our Natural Light Growing Centre, at Warwick University’s Wellesborne Campus.

Innovation Network Lead Dr Harry Langford said: ‘It is great to see our hard work paying off and to be in the position to help tackle farmer and grower challenges with novel solutions. I look forward to seeing these projects through to their conclusion, and assisting the UK agri-tech sector in its move towards increased sustainability.’

We are also pleased to see some of our members being awarded funding. CHAP Membership Manager said: ‘It is fantastic to see amazing sustainable innovations getting the recognition they deserve. We are proud to have EarthRover, Antobot and Climate Edge as part of our membership community and hope to support other sustainable solutions gain future successes.’

UKRI Challenge Director for the TFP challenge, Katrina Hayter, said: ‘As the UK gets ready to host COP26, it is timely that we can unveil so many great projects in the vital area of agriculture that will help meet our net zero goals. Working closely with farmers in the innovation process means that pressing challenges are identified. Solving these challenges will result in maximising productivity, reducing emissions, and making our farms more resilient and sustainable.’

For the full list of winners, go to UKRI.

Further information on Defra’s new funding opportunities is available at the Future Farming Blog and at the dedicated UKRI webpage.

If you are interested in working with CHAP to develop your own project ideas for future funding applications, or want to learn more about CHAP membership, please send us an email using the enquiries form at the bottom of our homepage.