AGRICULTURAL ENTREPRENEURS POISED FOR INVESTMENT BOOST
Five new projects are shortlisted for SHAKE Climate Change as outlay tops £1.2m
A shortlist of five new companies was announced this week for investment by the SHAKE Climate Change programme, which supports entrepreneurs developing new agricultural technologies that have the potential to reduce carbon emissions.
The new batch includes a novel way to convert farm bio-waste into protein using black soldier fly larvae and a radical approach to growing cotton that reduces inputs of water and nutrients by 80%.
At an online showcase event held in early December, the new projects were presented to potential investors and other stakeholders. Completion of the investment process is under way, with some companies receiving funds this month and some projected to receive them after Christmas.
Under the SHAKE programme each confirmed new project receives up to £140k of investment plus scientific support and business mentoring. SHAKE is funded by Societe Generale UK Foundation and managed by Rothamsted Research in partnership with Cranfield University, UCL (University College London) and the University of Hertfordshire. Over the nine-year programme, 15 successful ventures will be supported.
Speaking at the virtual event, Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden said, “Science and academia can have a practical impact on the economy when you fuse the people with the ideas and the money - and that’s what SHAKE does really, really well.”
Agriculture is often seen as one of the drivers of climate change, contributing up to 10% of carbon emissions. However, across the industry there is growing awareness of the need to develop new carbon neutral approaches to farming and food production. SHAKE aims to catalyse that change and contribute to a vision of net zero farming by 2050.
“Since our first round of 4 investments last year, we have refined our support model,” said Angela Karp, Director of Rothamsted Research. “We receive applications presenting solutions across a wide range of areas in food and agriculture, with wide global reach, and have pulled in more varied expertise to support the companies as a result. Over £1.2m has now been earmarked for investment.”
The five new companies shortlisted for investment are:
Climate Edge: A digital data platform for smallholder farmers
SugaROx: Producing a novel crop stimulant that can increase yields by 20%.
hydroCotton: A new approach to growing cotton that reduces inputs by up to 80%
Mafisa: A “cow bank” for Zambian famers
Altar-Entio: Using insect larvae to turn farm bio-waste into valuable protein
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.
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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.