From using sound waves to cook, to foods that fill you up faster - up to £15 million is on offer to anyone who can come up with ways to transform food manufacturing and reduce waste, Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice announced today.
The money is part of a Government-backed drive to support pioneering research and development that unlocks the huge potential of the UK’s farming, food and drink sector, and helps drive economic recovery.
Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice said:
“The UK has a world class reputation for innovation. I want to take this strength and use it to the economic advantage of the whole country.
“That’s why the Government is investing £15 million in the development of cutting edge ideas that increase efficiency and reduce waste in farming, food and drink production and manufacturing.
“By getting businesses innovating and enhancing the UK’s reputation as a world class pioneer of new production and manufacturing techniques, the food and farming sector can be a real engine for growth.”
Two competitions will be launched at the Farming, Food and Drink Innovation Summit. Funded in combination by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Scottish Government, the aim is to help industry develop new ideas and products that improve food production and manufacturing while having less impact on the environment.
Previous recipients of this type of award include a team at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, which used ultrasound to improve the quality and nutritional value of bread and cakes while making production more energy efficient.
Up to £15 million in grants is on offer to bigger businesses to invest in projects that will increase the efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness of food processing and manufacturing. A further £500,000 will also be available to small and medium sized businesses, through grants of up to £25,000.
Following the summit there will be seven regional workshops across Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland where businesses can find out more about the competitions and their opening dates.
The farming, food and drink sector contributed £87 billion to the UK economy in 2010.
It provides around 3.7 million jobs.
Over 6,000 new products come to market every year showing the huge potential for growth within the sector.
Defra spends approximately £65m a year on farming, food and drink research and development, while the UK Government overall spends £400 million.
Funding for the competitions will come from a combination of Defra, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Scottish Government.
The Farming, Food and Drink Innovation Summit will bring together researchers and businesses to showcase innovation resources available to them, particularly from TSB.
There will be a series of 7 regional workshops to promote the competitions: 20 March (Belfast); 22 March (Edinburgh); 27 March (Leeds); 28 March (Peterborough); 29 March (Reading); 3 April (Exeter); 4 April (Cardiff).
Find out more about the regional workshops and opening dates for both competitions.