UK Department for International Development — Agri-Tech Catalyst for Africa (Round 9)


Up to £5 million of funding is available from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This is for projects working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with partners in eligible African countries.

They are running 3 strands to this competition at the same time:

  1. Early stage feasibility studies (this competition)
  2. Mid-stage industrial research
  3. Late stage experimental development

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of innovation in the development of agricultural and food systems in Africa. Your project must result in more use of innovations by farmers and food systems organisations such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors and wholesalers.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Project size

For early-stage feasibility studies, your total eligible project costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000.


State aid

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure, please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

Your project

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000 for early stage feasibility studies. Projects must start by 1 July 2020 and last between 12 and 18 months.

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request or not.

All projects must:

  • include a UK registered administrative lead
  • include a technical lead from any country
  • include at least one business (UK or African)
  • be collaborative
  • include a partner from an eligible African country from the list below
  • implement significant activity in the eligible African country

Lead organisation

The administrative lead:

  • will be the recipient of the award
  • will manage and be accountable for the project’s finances in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award
  • must be a UK registered business of any size, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or research organisation
  • must claim funding through this competition
  • can partner in up to 2 other applications where they are neither the administrative lead nor the technical lead

The technical lead:

  • will lead on the development of the scope, work packages within the project and other work from a technical perspective
  • can be a partner organisation from any country
  • can be a business of any size, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or research organisation
  • must claim funding through this competition
  • can also be the administrative lead if a UK organisation

UK organisations can be both the administrative and technical lead.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations (CSOs) and other organisations can:

  • claim grant as project partners or
  • join the consortium as non-grant claiming partners

Find out which definition your organisation falls into. Innovate UK acknowledges that the legal categories for institutions differ in other countries. If you wish to partner with an organisation that does not fit into the categories listed above, email at least 10 days before the competition registration deadline. We will decide whether to approve your request or not.

Additional assurances

Funding for this competition comes from the Department of International Development (DFID) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

In view of the overseas nature of this funding, we are imposing some additional assurance requirements:

  • successful UK applicants must demonstrate they have proper and transparent arrangements for passing grant monies to African partners applying for funding, or grant funding will be withdrawn
  • Innovate UK will carry out initial due diligence and final audit checks on all non-UK partnersInnovate UK and DFID have the right to refuse funding to projects where the cost of due diligence and monitoring requirements outweigh the potential benefits of funding. This decision will be made as part of our risk-based considerations.

Multiple applications

Any one UK organisation can be the administrative or technical lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications.

If a UK registered business is not leading an application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

If an academic institution or research and technology organisation (RTO) is not leading on any applications they can collaborate on any number of applications. (Please note change made on 24 October 2019. Research organisations, if not leading can collaborate on any number of applications.)

Eligible African countries

  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo (Brazzaville)
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia, The
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Application process

You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.

International applicants

If your organisation is not registered in the UK and is:

  • a business, you must apply as a business
  • an academic institution, you must apply as a ‘non-J-eS registered organisation’
  • an RTO, you must apply as an RTO


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