Funding FUNding Opportunities

A selection of the latest calls for funding

lead the way with AAA

Our selection of funding opportunities, from current calls with deadlines approaching or no closing date to industry collaborations and fellowships, have particular emphasis on the AAA sector - Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture. 

This is a growing sector and represents three of the Scottish Life Sciences sectors (including Digital Healthcare), having a distinct crossover with biotech, gene modification, gene editing etc. for food security and in crop science and environmental research.

Scotland is the ideal environment to carry out research and development in the area of domestic livestock, companion animals, aquaculture and plant science. We offer a truly world–leading scientific expertise, access to state of the art research facilities, a pool of highly skilled personnel and a growing cluster of innovative bioscience companies.

current with deadlines approaching

Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) is an agricultural technology venture studio in partnership between Deep Science Ventures and the Roslin Institute. 

The programme is a first in Scotland and will provide scientists with opportunities to research, design and then start their own science startups at the intersection of agriculture, food security and ecological sustainability.

Entrepreneurial scientists are being recruited to join, develop technology company concepts, and receive seed investment of up to £500,000 from Deep Science Ventures  to develop technology company concepts around three Opportunity Areas: Regenerative Aquaculture, Pollinator Reinforcement and Controlled Environment Agriculture.

Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) 

Programme in partnership with Deep Science Ventures (DSV) and the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute

Applications ongoing. Reviewed within 10 working days of receipt and if the candidacy successful, it normally takes no more than 2-3 weeks to get started.

What can you build in 2 weeks that scales and saves lives? We've got to work together to get ahead of this fast-moving virus.

COVID Accelerator brings together people and ideas with resources to move forward. It exists to serve the countless people who want to be helpful during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Join doctors on the frontlines, engineers, and designers, all working toward a common goal. 

No technical background? Not a problem. Everyone’s got something to add.

COVID Accelerator COVID Accelerator allows you to work through an idea, form a team, and quickly spin it up. 

COVID Accelerator 

Application ongoing: Projects are starting all the time.

Are you an entrepreneurial graduate looking to make an impact post-Covid?

Technology-focused graduates can now apply to the Graduate Enterprise Grant, offering graduates whose employment has been affected by Covid-19 the opportunity to access the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Innovations’ expertise and support.

Financed by the Scottish Funding Council through DDI, successful applicants will be awarded a £5K grant to support technology-focused graduates with research and commercial activities to take their business idea to the next level.

Successful applicants will also benefit from links to the Scottish technology and business ecosystem as well as the support of a program manager who will evaluate your activity as you turn your idea into an enterprise, and connect your idea to wider society as it recovers from Covid-19.

Edinburgh Innovations

Application deadline: 7 March, 2021

Could your research be the spark for a data-driven enterprise that helps society recover post-Covid? The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Innovations’ Venture Builder Incubator is designed for data-driven PhD students looking to develop entrepreneurial skills, build a team and turn their research into a business. Whether you have a business idea or not - this is the place for you!

The online Incubator offers the chance to be creative, connect ideas to the world, meet like-minded individuals, be at the heart of a vibrant community and develop life-long professional and entrepreneurial skills. With benefits like a £2K grant, links to investors and access to the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, mentors and industry champions, the Incubator is the place for data-driven entrepreneurs to start their journey.

The programme takes place online and will be delivered through the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading innovation and enterprise hub - the Bayes Centre - in partnership with Nile and powered by EdVenture. The Venture Builder Incubator will be managed by Edinburgh Innovations - for the first time we will also join forces with Heriot-Watt University to generate a wider impact!

Edinburgh Innovations

For further information please contact The Venture Builder Programme Manager, Laura Bernal:

Application deadline: 8 March, 2021

Are you changing the world for the better?

The Impact Summit competition is a showcase for the world’s most promising purpose-led businesses - offering entrants a global platform to share their message and the opportunity to win prizes that will accelerate their business.

The competition prize package includes a free place on the FutureX Silicon Valley Programme - which offers a cohort of rising purpose-driven entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with leading industry figures and pitch to potential investors. Previous cohorts have met with executives from Airbnb, Facebook, SurveyMonkey, RocketSpace, Y Combinator, Waze, Threshold and more. Programme alumni have collectively raised over £40M in investment.

The competition winner will receive a funded place on the FutureX Silicon Valley Programme and a business support package designed to accelerate their business journey. Past competition prizes have been worth over £200k, so this is a potentially game-changing opportunity.

The final of the competition takes place at Impact Summit 2021, where three finalists will pitch to our expert judging panel and event attendees, who will together choose the winner.

Application deadline: 14 March, 2021

The new Farming Innovation Pathways funding competition is for collaborative feasibility studies and industrial research projects. Studies and projects should focus on the development of innovative farm-focused technologies, systems or approaches. They should help improve food productivity, as well as increasing resilience and sustainability in line with net zero ambitions.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is working with Transforming Food Production to boost investment in the agricultural sector through this competition. Transforming Food Production (TFP) is a £90 million investment that focuses on food and agriculture. Through regular funding competitions that bring researchers and businesses together, it awards projects that offer precision, data-driven solutions to help shift UK agriculture towards net zero emissions.

TFP is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). ISCF is a grant-funding mechanism run by UKRI that addresses the big societal challenges being faced by UK businesses today.

To apply for this competition, you need to form a consortium including several organisations. KTN is here to help you form powerful connections.

Application deadline: 28 April, 2021

current opportunities

AgriFood Africa Connect brings innovative people and organisations across the UK and Africa together to address key AgriFood challenges in Africa. They build diverse connections across the UK and Africa to drive positive change that aligns with the UK’s Overseas Development Assistance goals.

Target long term outcomes of the programme include:

  • Developing sustainable intensification of African agriculture
  • Improving human health and diversity of diets and nutrition
  • Impacting positively on rural income and food security
  • Facilitating increased trade activity in agricultural products

The virtual missions are the next stage in the delivery of the GCRF AgriFood Africa programme, and continue the effort to build a community of stakeholders from numerous African countries and the UK.

The goal is to realise sustainable management of the food production systems in Africa in a way that alleviates poverty, enhances economic prosperity and delivers improved well-being.

Sign up to become a member of the GCRF Agrifood Africa Network.

Sponsored by Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), the award is open to applicants in the early stages of their career, from all branches of animal science (postgraduate student or within two years of graduating with a PhD, or those working in commerce or industry with an equivalent level of experience without necessarily having a PhD).

Applications are accepted from both BSAS members and non-members, and the overall aim is to help support and develop a new partnership rather than a piece of work with a current partner or current organisation.

The award is for specific short research programmes and/or training opportunities in the UK, or overseas, with a new academic or industrial partner. Funds can be used in any relevant animal science sector, with up to £5,000 of funding available dependent on length of project.

Professor Steve Bishop was a world-renowned scientist, making an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the impact of genetics on infectious diseases in farm animals. He took up a position at the Roslin Institute in 1988, building up a major research group with international recognition, and was a member of BSAS from 1993 to 2015.


Application deadline:  Dates TBA

This award is aimed at those interested in animal genetics, helping them to attend the World Congress in Genetics Applied Livestock Production (WCGALP).

Applications should reflect areas of current or future interest that will advance research and education in the application of genetics to livestock production. 

Up to £4000 prize fund is available and can be awarded to a single applicant or divided between a number of successful applicants dependent on the quality of submissions. 

Alan Robertson was a population geneticist and a major influence in the widespread adoption of artificial insemination of cattle and on estimating genetic effects that influence quantitative traits. Robertson spent most of his working life based at the National Animal Breeding and Genetics Research Organisation in Edinburgh as a member of the Unit of Animal Genetics.  


Closing date:  to be announced - this is normally approximately three months before the WCGALP. 

The 12th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP 2022) will be held in the Netherlands. 

In years when the WCGALP is being held (every four years - 2022, 2026, 2030...) an additional application period will be added as notified by the society.  

This scholarship is open to both members and non-members of BSAS.

cALlS with no closing date

Scottish Enterprise research and development (R&D) grants help projects that will lead to innovative new products, processes and services to:

  • Improve company competitiveness
  • Benefit the Scottish economy

Scottish Enterprise

New grant funding model launching end of February 2021

Funding for Industry Collaborations

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is  one of seven Research Councils that work together as Research Councils UK (RCUK). Funded by the Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

BBSRC provide a range of funding opportunities to enable individuals and groups to pursue world-class bioscience research. This includes joint opportunities with other Research Councils and organisations.  

The BBSRC Grants Guide covers all aspects of research grant funding, including: eligibility, research equipment and application procedures. 

If you can't find what you're looking for please contact: 

Research grant submission: t: 01793 444164 

Grant eligibility: 


Follow-on Funding (FoF) supports the translation of research into practical application, including commercialisation. The aim of the programme is to help researchers maximise the societal and economic benefits of their research. 

The FoF is a proof-of-concept programme to support bioscience innovation and provide funding where further work on an idea will take it through to a stage at which the route to application is clear, which may include a spin-out, licensing opportunity or the creation of a social enterprise. The programme enables researchers to conduct activities essential to preparing a robust business plan and to secure, where appropriate, further funding and support to progress the project.

The FoF aims to bridge the funding gap between BBSRC-funded research and the point at which other non-BBSRC funding becomes available. By supporting early-stage projects, it also seeks to reduce the risk for future investors. The FoF should not duplicate other sources of public and private funding.


2021 Call 1 opens: 27 January, 2021

2021 Call 1 closes: 17 March, 2021

2021 Call 2 opens: 4 August, 2021

2021 Call 2 closes: 6 October, 2021

UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Operating across the whole of the UK, working with many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas, with a combined budget of more than £7 billion.

UKRI provides a range of funding opportunities to enable individuals and groups to pursue world-class research and innovation. 

The government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund brings together leading research and business to tackle the big societal and industrial challenges today. 

The fund is a core pillar in the government’s commitment to increase funding in research and development by £4.7 billion over 4 years to strengthen UK science and business.

It will invest in the world-leading research base and highly-innovative businesses to address the biggest industrial and societal challenges today and is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Innovate UK is part of UKRI, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

As the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK works with people, companies and partner organisations to fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into research and development and realise the potential of new ideas that grow the economy, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.

The Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK’s network partner and also provides innovation networking for other funders in line with its mission to drive UK growth. 

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) accelerate business innovation by supporting knowledge exchange with academic institutions. KTP operates through an open call which includes the entirety of BBSRC's remit. 

As part of a UK-wide programme, these partnerships serve as a mechanism to transfer knowledge and to develop graduate and postgraduate personnel for industrial careers.Each partnership, lasting between 1 and 3 years, employs 1 or more high-calibre KTP Associates (early-career researchers) to work on an innovative project within industry.

Associates are jointly supervised by the participating industrial and academic partners. Government support is delivered through a grant to the academic partner. In addition, a contribution from the participating company fully covers an HEI’s cost of participation.

BBSRC seeks to promote KTP in industrial sectors that are able to benefit from the UK's excellent bioscience research base and encourages the appointment of KTP Associates at post-doctoral level. 

Applications are particularly welcomed from:
  • Small and medium sized biotechnology companies requiring access to advanced technology
  • Academic partners who have received BBSRC support

How to Apply:

Contact your local KTP Adviser or Office or call +44 (0) 300 321 4357.

A KTP can last between 12 and 36 months depending on the project and the needs of the business. It is part-funded by a grant. The amount businesses need to contribute is different for SMEs and larger companies.

2020 close dates for submission are aligned with Innovate UK’s sector and open competitions.

Find out about the latest Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) funding calls of relevance to the agriculture and food & drink manufacturing sectors.

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is part of Innovate UK's suite of business support products. It is a well established process to connect public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry, supporting companies to generate economic growth and enabling improvement in achieving government objectives.

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector, leading to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. It generates new business opportunities for companies, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a route to market for their ideas and bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early stage companies. It supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services through the public procurement of research and development (R&D).

The aim of the Medical Research Council (MRC) is to improve human health through world-class medical research, from fundamental science to early clinical trials and preventive medicine. The MRC works in partnership across UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and devolved administrations, the NHS, charities and industry.

The Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) is a unique partnership between the MRC and Innovate UK, providing responsive and effective support to the most innovative life sciences opportunities regardless of scientific approach.

The BMC aims to de-risk innovative science and commercialise ideas arising out of academia and industry helping UK SMEs to develop into competitive and sustainable organisations. This accelerates the progress of novel products to market, facilitates onward investment and bridges “the valley of death”.

MRC supports academically-led feasibility research through the Confidence in Concept which is open to institutions but not individual researchers. Academic-led applications for Early and Late Stage awards are primarily administered through the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS).

Since BMC launched in April 2012, the scheme has awarded more than £250m funding, matched by £150m of private finance, to over 300 projects seeking to develop a wide range of therapies, diagnostics and devices.

Horizon 2020 is the EU funding programme for research and innovation, running from 2014 to 2020. Its goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. It has a budget of around €80bn and a stronger focus on innovation compared with the previous Framework Programme 7 (FP7), which ran from 2007 until 2013.

FP7 is the EU’s instrument for funding research in Europe.  Since their launch in 1984, Framework Programmes have played a lead role in funding multi-disciplinary research and cooperative activities in Europe and beyond.  They are an important source of funding to the UK research base.

There are three main pillars within Horizon 2020:

  • Excellent Science
  • Industrial Leadership
  • Societal Challenges

Algae-UK and the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) are pleased to announce a joint Proof of Concept call for projects addressing the technical challenges of delivering bio-polymers, natural pigments, dyes and inks from algae.invites applications for industry led collaborative research with funding of up to £25k available per project.

These compounds have a broad range of applications in several sectors and while there are some specific challenges associated with each sector and specific applications of polymer and pigment materials, there are some cross-cutting themes:

  • Sustainable and naturally sourced “ingredients” and products
  • Ensuring the product delivers to its main marketed purpose, e.g. stable natural polymers used in textile manufacture, but can then be biodegraded or effectively be recycled/ reused at end of life
  • Providing the key to disruptive sustainable technologies and solutions
  • The added benefit of being applicable to more than one sector, with modification to formulation, stabilisation, etc.

Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC)

Second call: Industrial Biotechnology Applications of Algae in Food and Novel Food Ingredients

Closing date: 26 February, 2021

currently closed

Check direct with the funding organisation for information and any updates.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a five year £1.5 billion resource funding stream, announced as part of the 2015 spending review, to ensure that UK research takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries.

The GCRF will deploy the UK’s world-class research capability to address the challenges faced by the developing world. 

The Grand Challenges family of initiatives fosters innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Round 25 Challenges (Grand Challenges Explorations) has now closed.

The Grand Challenges family of initiatives fosters innovation to solve key health and development problems. See below for Grand Challenges grant opportunities with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as sole or contributing funder.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The are currently no open grant opportunities.

The Wellcome Trust has awarded the University of Edinburgh an Institutional Translational Partnership Award (iTPA) to diversify and intensify the support available to engage Wellcome- and non Wellcome-funded researchers across the medical, life and social sciences. 

High potential translational projects will be considered for an award of up to a maximum of £20,000. The funds may be used on a broad range of activities aimed at stimulating future translation of specific early stage research projects. The award will support direct costs only, and be associated with a range of activities including but not limited to:-

Skills development via industry secondments, academic placements or people exchanges, or specialist training.

Some projects that have received funding:-

  • Developing and evaluating museum exhibition paradigm for enhanced science learning
  • Obtaining regulatory advice for a novel therapeutic approach
  • Developing imaging methods for disease progression biomarkers 
  • Developing an animal model of organ injury
  • A drug repositioning project for human and livestock infections
If you are considering applying, or would like to discuss your ideas, please get in touch with the Wellcome Trust Entrepreneur’s-in-Residence to discuss your proposal or email ( The EiR’s can work with you on your application, and can also offer additional support and guidance in developing translational opportunities. Alternatively, please contact your existing Edinburgh Innovations Business Development Executive contact for your Institute.  


Edinburgh Innovations, University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. 

Applications are currently closed but please check Edinburgh Innovations for updates. 

EUREKA is the leading platform for innovative entrepreneurs in Europe. Eurostars is the only European funding programme specifically dedicated to support R&D-performing SMEs in their innovative R&D projects. With its bottom-up approach, it stimulates international collaborative research and innovation projects that will be rapidly commercialised. 

There are hundreds of international projects led by R&D-performing SMEs from Eurostars Participating States and Partner Countries. Organisations of all types from across the globe are receiving government and European Commission support to improve their performance and focus on world-class market-oriented research and development.

If you are a small company in need of public funding for your innovative idea, participation in a Eurostars project can bring you a passport to growth, further innovation, an opening to new global markets and even greater business success.

Assistance is available for pan-European near-market, collaborative R&D projects which lead to the development of advanced products, processes or services. Assistance may include help with finding partners and the lowering of likely barriers to commercial success.

EUROSTARS project portfolio features a number of technological areas including Agriculture and Marine Resources. In this area, previously funded Eurostars projects included sustainable agriculture, agritech; crop production, protection and management; innovation in plant breeding and aquaculture resources


When applying for Eurostars funding, note that Eurostars has two submission deadlines per year.

No deadlines currently set.

The UK Government’s Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF) is a £10 million research and development (R&D) fund that launched in July 2019. 

The 3-year programme focuses on delivering longer term, cutting-edge innovation across the seafood sector; helping to take innovative ideas from early stage research to commercial viability. Products must benefit the sustainability and productivity of the seafood industry. Applications for collaborative projects that include both seafood sector organisations and technology businesses are encouraged. 

To be considered for funding you must provide an innovative idea or solution relevant to the seafood sector; demonstrate long-term sustainability and environmental benefits; be from an organisation of any size within the EU; follow the full submission process correctly. 

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is administering the SIF programme on behalf of the UK Government.

The Seafood Innovation Fund is not currently open for applications. 

Applicants to a second funding call will be notified of the outcome in due course.


This scheme is for academic scientists who want to work on a collaborative project with industry and for scientists in industry who want to work on a collaborative project with an academic organisation. This exciting opportunity allows researchers to establish personal, scientific and corporate links between sectors.

The Industry Fellowship, part of the Royal Society's Industry programme, aims to enhance knowledge transfer in science and technology between those in industry and those in academia in the UK.

The scheme provides a basic salary for the researcher and a contribution towards research costs.

The Royal Society

Round one: 23 February, 2021 - 20 April, 2021 (3pm deadline)

This scheme, part of the Royal Society's Industry programme, enables scientists employed in industry or academia and/or their postdoctoral researcher to have shorter more dynamic engagements between academia and industry, working on a mutually beneficial and collaborative project.

Collaborations between academia and early-stage companies are particularly encouraged. It is anticipated that the personal and corporate links established by the researcher between the two sectors in the UK will seed longer-term collaborations and contribute to their long-term future development.

The Royal Society

There are currently no open fellowships.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowships enable promising science and technology researchers to grow into successful entrepreneurs.

Fellowships funded by Scottish Enterprise comprise the bulk of the programme. These awards are designed to encourage and enable the development of a new business based in Scotland around a technological idea developed by the Enterprise Fellow, either individually or with others, and within which the Enterprise Fellow would be expected to play a leading, though not necessarily the leading, role.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh

Awards are twice a year. Closing dates are generally April and October. The next call will be announced in the Spring.


PhD and MScR opportunities are available at The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

A number of studentships for taught and research postgraduates are offered each year.

PhD and MScR opportunities are available at The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

A number of studentships for taught and research postgraduates are offered each year.

There are currently no open studentships.

AHDB fund a wide variety of PhD students to support the increase of new talent and ideas into our agricultural and horticultural sectors.

Requests for further information should be sent to indicating to which sector(s) your question is addressed. 

There are currently no open studentships.


New funding calls will be added regularly so please Bookmark this page for the latest additions and those with deadlines approaching.