UK contest seeks methane emissions busting and protein innovation ideas

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Galeanu Mihai
© GettyImages/Galeanu Mihai

Related tags: Defra, methane emissions

The UK government is looking to boost innovation in the areas of feeds targeting methane emissions reduction and new sources of resource efficient, low-emission proteins.

Monday July 25 saw the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) open a £12.5m (US$15m) competition to support research and innovation in the feed and protein space.

The aim of the initiative is to help improve farming productivity, resilience in the sector and move existing agricultural sectors towards net zero through accelerated development of novel and disruptive technologies that lead to a more sustainable farming model for the future.

Defra parliamentary under secretary of state, Steve Double, said the project would prompt alliances cross the sector: 

"We want to encourage collaboration across the sector to help improve productivity and sustainability.

“Food production and environmental protection are two sides of the same coin. It’s why we are spending £270m (US$325m) to support farmers to innovate for the future.

“Whether it’s a game-changing animal feed that helps animals produce less methane or new high-protein crops, this competition is now open to support its development.”

Farmers, growers, foresters, businesses, and researchers are invited to apply. The competition is being run by the Farming Innovation Program​ in partnership with the UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge​.

Katrina Hayter, challenge director, UKRI, said it is vital that new technologies disrupt the status quo, bringing with them measurable improvements to the environmental impact of food production and more sustainable models for the future.

Competition details

This competition is split into ‘Feasibility​’ projects (up to two years), and ‘Industrial Research​’ (up to five years for breeding projects).

Projects must have a value of £200k-£500k and £500k-£1m respectively.

In total, Defra said it expects to spend around £600m on grants and other support for farmers to invest in productivity, animal health and welfare, innovation, and R&D over the next three years.

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