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

Free participation in larger research, development and innovation projects with the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Rothamsted Research and the Rural Business School.

Innovation Grants are available for projects, starting from £2,500 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

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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Anarobic Digestion Optimisation

Anaerobic Digestion Optimisation

The efficiency of farm anaerobic digestion plants could get a boost, as University of Exeter academics scrutinise the bacterial activity within them. Partnering with companies that run such facilities, the Penryn Campus-based team will throw light

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Automated Brassica harvesting in Cornwall

This project will develop robotic systems for automating manual picking operations in the horticultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The main crops for the project will be cauliflower, broccoli, kale and cabbage which are extensively g

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Botrytis battle in Viticulture

Botrytis Battle in Viticulture

British wine is experiencing a renaissance with many opportunities in the West Country, but botrytis remains a big issue for growers – and large gaps exist in the industry’s understanding of how to combat it. A study at the University of Exeter’s Pe

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Bovine Tuberculosis

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB)

Bovine tuberculosis research seeks ‘joined-up’ solutions   New approaches to tackling bovine tuberculosis (bTB) will be explored in a Duchy College Rural Business School project. It will explore more effective biocontainment measures, along wit

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Grazing cows

Cell Grazing

A project testing the potential of a system of precisely managed, intensive ‘cell grazing’ popular in New Zealand. This approach to grassland management sees dairy and beef cattle moved between ‘cells’, based on pasture availability and quality, a

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