UKRI has pledged over £2.2m to seven agri-tech firms with Canadian partners to fund the development of new agricultural techniques that will help both countries meet their net zero emission targets. The funding is being awarded through UKRI’s UK-Canada: enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability competition, which is overseen by the Transforming Food Production challenge.
In this competition, UK and Canadian companies were brought together through on-line and in-person events to identify and build project concepts in sustainable agriculture. The seven winning UK companies are Arden Biotechnology, Devenish, Precision Decisions (Part of the Map of Ag Group), Airborne Robotics, RAFT Solutions, Clarity Biosolutions and RS AQUA and their Canadian partners are, TrustBIX, Mara Renewables Corporation, JCA Industries and Société pour l’information industrielle (SII Canada), Bow Valley Genetics, Sona Nanotech and Innovasea Marine Systems respectively. The Canadian partners will receive funding support through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).
Precision Decisions, part of the Map of Ag Group, partnered with JCA Technologies. This project proposes to use the strengths of each of the collaborating organisations in the development of an integrated precision agriculture platform that can provide seamless and real-time availability data from agricultural machine control applications, use this data for planning and analytics, and deploy intelligent task direction to a fleet of machines. The system provides both after-market and original equipment manufacturer integrated solutions to address the mixed-fleet needs of farmers.
“We are excited to be part of a collaboration with UK partners Precision Decisions and Farmscan Ag in the development of an advanced precision agriculture platform. Leveraging the expertise of each of the partners in the project provides a unique opportunity for development of an end-to-end system that provides easy access to data from mixed-fleets to farmers to help them improve efficiency in their operations and increase task automation based on intelligent data-driven decisions.”, Darcy Cook, VP Engineering/GM, JCA Technologies.
The competition ran in the first half of 2020 and aims to boost international cooperation and business growth by mobilising cross border resources and expertise to combat climate change. The winning projects had to demonstrate a clear plan to improve productivity, increase sustainability and help move towards achieving net zero emissions by 2040, in addition to showing market awareness and a developed commercial plan.
Katrina Hayter, challenge director for the Transforming Food Production programme, UKRI said:
“UKRI’s UK-Canada competition is an important initiative that helps UK businesses create strong international networks, access expertise and develop international market opportunities. The UK companies and their Canadian partners are working on an exciting array of projects to integrate cutting-edge technology into everyday farming techniques that could help both UK and Canadian agriculture improve productivity and sustainability and ultimately make our respective agricultural systems more climate friendly.”
Mitch Davies, President, National Research Council of Canada:
“The NRC is honoured to partner with UKRI to stimulate co-innovation between Canadian and UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). International collaboration is key to SME growth and these collaborative partnerships provide accelerated access to new markets and global value chains, positioning Canadian businesses to compete globally.”
The projects include Devenish’s plan to develop the next generation of algae-derived products for use in poultry production, which will be trialled on British and Canadian farms, and Airborne Robotics’ RootDetect programme, which aims to design a sophisticated sensor to scout out large areas for signs of club root in canola and oil seed rape crops.
Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis, said:
“We must all work together to tackle the impacts of climate change and ensure our food production and farming techniques are sustainable, profitable and support long-term food security. This investment provides a valuable boost to the sector. The UK is at the forefront of efforts to develop sustainable agricultural technologies and practices, in collaboration with our international partners.”
The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry:
“The greener, cleaner economy of the future will have impacts across all sectors of our economy. The sustainable projects announced today are great examples of innovations that promise to make Canada’s agriculture industry more competitive. They will also sustain and create jobs, and support Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Population growth and climate change are driving more sustainable agriculture practices in Canada and the UK, both of whom have significant strengths in both primary agriculture and precision agriculture technologies. Under a Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), Innovate UK and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) have supported over $30 million/£20 million of collaborative innovation projects.< View more articles