Agricultural technologies can be any innovation that makes agriculture more efficient and productive, more resilient and secure, more profitable, and better able to enhance and protect the natural environment and those that farm it.

Agri-tech can be derived from science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine – even social innovation – alone or in combination. It can be a product or service, chemical or material, hardware or software.

To be successful, Agri-tech does have to solve a tangible problem or fulfil a need.  It does not have to be directly targeted at farmers – it can add value to farm suppliers or consultants, to farmers, to processors, distributors and even retailers and consumers – so long as the innovation helps in sustainable production and getting produce to market.

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is open to all small to medium-sized Cornish businesses. This is a unique opportunity to develop and apply new technologies assisted by project partners, research grants and graduate placements.

The project is led by the Duchy College Rural Business School in partnership with leading research institutions – the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and Rothamsted Research – and the Cornwall Development Company. The project is also supported by Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

The Support Available

Collaborative research fund – funding towards larger RDI projects over £50,000.

Innovation Grants are available for projects, from £2,500 up to £50,000 towards feasibility studies, commissioning specialist researchers, the purchase equipment for research, development or innovation development, to cover consultancy costs to scope an RD&I project, undertake an RD&I feasibility study or employ specialists to undertake direct research. For more information and advice about the grant eligibility and how to apply, contact the Innovation Grant team at or phone 01872 322672 to arrange an appointment with a dedicated Agritech Business Engagement Manager.

Graduate Placement programme – to help the business deliver an agreed RDI project. Agri-tech Cornwall can support the specification of the research and recruitment of the graduate, in addition to a salary subsidy of £1,500 (6 months) or £2,250 (9 months).

All funding awards are subject to application, eligibility, scoring and assessment processes.

Who is it for?

Agri-tech Cornwall supports businesses new to Research Development & Innovation (RDI), as well as businesses that have already invested in research. Projects can be large or small.

Applicants can be from any sector providing the research supports growth, productivity or market development in ‘Agri-tech’ i.e. the sector providing innovative goods and services for the agriculture, horticulture and food sectors.

To be eligible, businesses must be based, or be setting-up, in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly, and have fewer than 250 employees and less than €50 million annual turnover.

Research themes

Animal health and welfare in dairy cattle.
Maximising soil, water and nutrient use efficiency for sustainable crop and livestock production.
Improving the productivity of speciality crop production.
Utilising technology to drive Agri-tech productivity and innovation.

Please note this list is not exhaustive, please contact us to discuss potential topics.

Case Studies

Case Studies

Drone in field

Perception Drones

A particularly interesting Innovation Grant Applicant is Mark Polson, Director of Perception Drones, based near Falmouth. Mark had his ‘Agri-tech epiphany’ whilst in discussion with an agronomist. Together they identified a satellite technology that

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Cows eating silage

SC Nutrition

Truro based SC Nutrition Ltd provides cattle nutrition and feed advice to a cohort of Dairy and Beef farms. Steve Chapman has over 25 years’ experience in the nutrition industry, and at a recent nutrition conference in the USA one of the emergent key

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FIND project


A project studying photosynthesis-related activity and fluorescence in a bid to develop an ‘early warning system’ for plant disease. Using smart imaging techniques, scientists at the University of Plymouth are hoping the Fluorescence Imaging for N

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Press Brake


Technological advancement in machinery also plays a significant factor in Agri-tech; in a rapidly changing agricultural sector, machinery is crucial for the avoidance of production losses, and in the face of an ever increasing challenge in the availa

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2 Minute Farmer (2MF)

Helping farmers break big questions into bitesized chunks, this project makes complicated conundrums more manageable. 2MF assists farmers tackle the challenges of modern life and business by unpacking complex issues, using resources such as short

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Lobster lineage

The National Lobster Hatchery is using genetic markers to develop new identification methods for the crustacean. The Cornish charity’s endeavours will help develop best practice for lobster ‘rear-and-release’ programmes, plus bring benefits for the

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