Projects include one assessing the potential to commercialise the farming of lobsters, a proposal to cultivate scallops on ropes and a way of continuing to make whisky with UK wheat, by using a novel variety.
These projects are among 21 successful bids that have won a competition run by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to target commercially promising new technologies to provide an economic boost to the UK agriculture sector.
Speaking at the opening of Agrimetrics, the UK's first Big Data Centre of Excellence for the whole food system, at Rothamsted, Hertfordshire, Life Sciences Minister George Freeman MP said: “By harnessing science to reduce water and pesticide usage, and to pioneer greener modern farming, the UK is leading the way in boosting agricultural productivity. Investing in pioneering agri-tech projects like these is win win for the UK as these technologies will improve food production and create businesses and jobs up and down the country.”
Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: “Investing in advances in agriculture is vital, not only for our future food supply but also to help build the UK bioeconomy. These new research projects highlight how UK bioscience is at the forefront of innovative approaches for modern farming.”
Ian Meikle, Head of Agriculture and Food, at Innovate UK, said: “By supporting these project partnerships – many of which include small businesses – Innovate UK is backing British solutions for agricultural challenges. These schemes are helping to create new jobs and will open up new markets and drive productivity.”
The funding was awarded through the Agri-Tech Catalyst which was set up by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Innovate UK, Department for International Development and BBSRC with a £70M investment to help make the UK a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability.