News story

Innovation in solar powered irrigation: apply now for funding

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £800,000 to develop an affordable solar-powered irrigation pump for use in developing regions.

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £800,000 to develop an affordable solar-powered irrigation pump for use in developing regions.
Research show that good irrigation can increase productivity by over 100%.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is to invest up to £800,000 in projects that will develop portable and cheap irrigation pumps for use in developing regions around the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa.

Studies show that good irrigation can increase productivity by over 100% but most African smallholders can’t afford traditional irrigation equipment. Treadle pumps are labour intensive and often not suitable for women farmers. Motorised pumps have high running costs.

The proposed pump should:

  • have a production cost of £30
  • be lightweight
  • work with existing irrigation systems
  • be easy to use and maintain
  • be able to lift 7m with a daily volume of 6m3
  • work in both sunshine and light cloud
  • be robust and able to withstand extremes of climate

Innovate UK will run this competition through SBRI, the Small Business Research Initiative. We will offer businesses with the most promising solution a contract with DFID to test and prove their innovation.

We expect projects to have a value of up to £50,000. Successful applicants will need to show their route to market in Africa.

Competition information

  • this competition is open now
  • the registration deadline is 2 December 2015
  • we expect projects to range in value up to £50,000
  • there will be a webinar for potential applicants on Monday 5 October 2015
Published 5 October 2015