THE Digital Dairy Chain is preparing to launch the second round of its Collaborative Research and Development Funding Competition from May 6, with £1.1 million of grant funding available for successful entries.

The coveted competition is run by the UK's national innovation agency, Innovate UK, with the aim of supporting innovative projects focused on improving dairy production and the supply chain.

A total of £2 million was awarded through the Digital Dairy Chain project when the first contest opened to applications in Spring 2023. The seven winning projects were awarded grants of between £200-350K, which has been invested in work taking place predominantly across Cumbria and South and West Scotland.

The Digital Dairy Chain’s Programme Director Stuart Martin said: “The quantity and quality of applications received in the 2023 collaborative competition was irrefutable proof that appetite for R&D in the dairy sector is high. We have shown that where there is funding, support and expertise, they are being wholeheartedly embraced by the dairy industry and transformative innovation will be the outcome.

“Therefore, my message is simple, if you have an innovative project idea, collaborative partners on-board and are considering applying, visit the Innovate UK website and read the competition guidelines. Read them carefully and then join us for an online Q&A session or for the Innovate UK briefing webinar to ensure you stand the best chance of submitting a winning application.”

Professor Des Gibson, who leads Albasense, one of the 2023 winning projects, also offered his advice for anyone submitting an application when the Innovate UK portal opens in May.

“Ensure the problem you are solving is explained together with associated cost effective underpinning intellectual property and how the project team will deliver and manage the work. Moreover, provide analysis of market opportunity, entry routes and unique selling points.”

For more information and links to Innovate UK briefings events and guidance please keep an eye on the Digital Dairy Chain’s website: