£80,000 for Agri-Tech R&D in Cambridge

Cambridge’s reputation of providing world-class research and development has been strengthened, as two businesses are awarded funding of £80,318 via The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.

Thanks to the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), both companies have been awarded funding to carry out cutting edge research to develop new technologies that will benefit the Agri-Tech sector.

This most recent investment puts scheme’s total funding at £2.3 million, clearly demonstrating the LEP’s commitment to supporting innovative local businesses.

The businesses that will receive funding via the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative are as follows:

  • Omnisense Ltd. Based in Cambridge, Omnisense is a software company that provides positioning technology that can be used by farmers to monitor livestock and promote well-being in Dairy herds. They will use the funding to develop new technology to more accurately monitor dairy cows in order to increase farmers’ milk yields.
  • NIAB Ltd (DAVIDS Project). NIAB is a major international centre for plant research, crop evaluation and agronomy, with its headquarters in Cambridge. Its DAVIDS project (Deconvoluting Allelic Variance in DNA Samples) will develop a specific test for food adulteration, beginning with potato flakes. Accidental or deliberate use of adulterants is a major problem for the food industry and fraud is estimated to cost £11 billion per year. This test will identify when ingredients or DNA found in foods have become adulterated due to a lack of quality control.

Mark Reeve, Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), commented:

“The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is making a real difference to local businesses, in particular those at the cutting edge of research and development. Both Omnisense and NIAB came forward with proposals that we believe will have a positive impact on the Agri-Tech sector as a whole, and we are pleased to provide them with funding to move their research and development work forward.

“Since the scheme first opened in April 2014, almost £2.3 million has been awarded to 26 companies across the East of England. Grants are still available, and I would encourage all businesses within the Agricultural supply chain to apply and see their business grow.”

Andy Thurman, CEO of Omnisense, commented:

“We are very grateful for the support of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative Funding Committee through the application process and for the confidence they have shown in Omnisense.

“The grant award will be used to develop a simple set-up process for our sophisticated indoor positioning system by non-expert installers, greatly increasing the Dairy market accessibility of our products. The Omnisense system is used on farms to promote well-being, reduce costs, improve efficiency and increase farmer’s milk yields.”

Dr David Lee, Head of Innovation and Products at NIAB, said:

“We are excited by this award, which recognises the uniqueness of the project and its potential to develop cost effective tests to combat fraud in the food industry and reassure consumers that they are getting what they read on the label.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative still has grants available to organisations looking to invest in specialist equipment, new market and supply chain development, ways to improve productivity and efficiency, and the application and commercialisation of Research and Development.

To find out how the Eastern Agri-Tech growth Initiative could help to grow your business, visit www.agritechgrants.co.uk or call the LEP on 01480 277180.