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https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/fpmag0318

Government funding creates opportunity for innovation in food & feed processing

25 March 2018

With the recent news that as part of its Industrial Strategy the Government is to invest £90 million into a new ‘Transforming Food Production Challenge’, there is renewed interest in the agri-food sector. Companies of all sizes can benefit from this funding and the Agri-Tech East event ‘Finding the Funding – The Research and Business Guide to Smart Agri-Tech Finance’ on 22 March at the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre, will set out to explain how. 

Dr Thomas Engel, manager of technology innovation strategy at John Deere, will talk about how collaborative research has underpinned the company’s own product developments.

Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-Tech East, said: “There is huge potential to digitise the agri-food value chain. Many of the food processing companies around King’s Lynn could benefit from innovation to improve competitive advantage, particularly in areas such as machine learning to improve performance of equipment and insights in nutrition to provide added value to products. The government is showing that there is money available for this.”  

Collaborative research and development helps to de-risk new product development and to incorporate end-user requirements from the outset. John Deere has established over 50 partnerships worldwide to broaden its own platform, MyJohnDeere and has accessed public sector funding to support its network.  Dr Engel comments: “Our partnerships usually work on a project-by-project basis. In Europe, there are opportunities to get public funding from the EU or national governments, so we can apply for grants which are 100% funded for universities and 50% match funded with an investment by us or another industry player. In some areas, we ask universities to do specific research projects for us, and these might be confidential projects.  “We also work with a lot of students, for example in our European Tech Innovation Center where I am located. We have about 30 interns at one time working for three to six months, or we have university students do their theses. We can also use them as a think-tank in capstone projects to come up with totally new ideas. They’re a younger generation so see the world with different eyes.”  

Other speakers at the event will include: Martin Lutman, Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative; Andrew McLay of Innovate UK; Andy Cureton, BBSRC and Alan Plom, Douglas Bomford Trust.  For more information visit www.agritech-east.co.uk/events


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