£3.5 MILLION CLIMATE CHANGE FUND ESTABLISHED TO SHAKE AGRI-FOOD SECTOR
SHAKE will fund and train entrepreneurs and start-ups who have early stage science or tech-based solutions
A consortium of leading scientific research and academic institutions has formed to identify innovative solutions to tackle climate change linked to the agri-food sector.
The SHAKE Climate Change programme is specifically designed to attract entrepreneurs or start-ups who have developed early stage science or tech-based ideas that can have a significant impact on climate change, as well as form the basis of a sustainable and socially responsible business within the sector.
SHAKE Climate Change brings together experts from Rothamsted Research, Cranfield University, University College London, and the University of Hertfordshire with the financial backing of the Societe Generale UK Foundation to deliver world-class science, technology and business expertise to the programme.
Ideas can relate to any point in the food production chain, which contributes more than a quarter of global climate change emissions.
Over the nine-year programme, 15 successful ventures will receive up to a total amount of £140,000 each, plus two years of high-quality training and mentoring from leading experts in business and science, to help further develop their ventures.
Professor Angela Karp, Director of Science Innovation, Engagement and Partnerships at Rothamsted Research, who co-developed the programme with the partners, said: “There has been a lot of publicity recently around the environmental impact of eating meat – but the contribution of agri-food to our climate footprint is so much more complex and wider than that.
“Fossil fuel use for farm machinery, transport, refrigeration, fertiliser production all contribute. The way soils are managed can have a huge effect – not just on CO2 or methane, but nitrous oxide emissions too. Then there’s the whole issue of how agricultural wastes can be reduced or recycled, moving towards a circular economy.
“In many people’s eyes, food and farming are fast becoming climate villains, but there is huge potential for this sector to ultimately become the heroes. There are so many possible angles you can attack this problem from.”
Shake Climate Change is funded by the Societe Generale UK Foundation, the independent corporate foundation of the UK branch of Societe Generale Group. Education and employability are the two key pillars of the Group’s Citizenship programme, with promoting innovation and supporting entrepreneurs central to its wider strategy.
A spokesperson for the Societe Generale UK Foundation Board of Trustees said: “Through this funding, the SG UK Foundation is able to help to fund a significant programme to be carried out by Rothamsted Research which aims to leverage the best minds in science and business and combine this with entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and the technological know-how of teams and individuals to truly make a difference in addressing the climate agenda.
“As well as receiving funding under the programme, entrepreneurs will benefit from mentoring and training programmes from world-class institutions to help make their projects viable, which can in turn lead to the creation of jobs in this important area.”
This summer, approximately 30 entrepreneurs or teams will be selected to participate in a one-week residential intensive workshop culminating in them pitching their ideas to a panel of experts.
Of this initial cohort, around ten entrepreneurs and teams will be chosen for a further three-months of intense training to build their ventures.
Around five ventures will then be recommended for up to a total amount of £140,000 each to develop their businesses under continual mentorship for a further 8-12 months, followed by aftercare support.
Two additional similar waves will follow with the programme continuing to support entrepreneurs until 2027.
Interested applicants should visit thewebsite or email the programme manager, Tinne Midtgaard at
Societe Generale UK Foundation (SG UK Foundation) is a registered UK charity (number 1039013) which seeks to apply its funds to supporting UK beneficiaries in the areas of education, employment and the environment.The SG UK Foundation is not an open grant giving body and does not accept unsolicited requests.
About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.