Canada-United Kingdom sustainable food production mission – February 24 to 28, 2020

From: National Research Council Canada

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) is pleased to invite Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to submit an expression of interest to participate in the Canada-United Kingdom (UK) sustainable food production mission to the UK, from February 24 to 28, 2020.

1. Mission objective

The mission is focussed on establishing industrial co-innovation opportunities in the areas of sustainable food production, digital technology, and supply chains between Canadian and British enterprises.

2. Sectors of focus

3. Key dates

January 3, 2020 Registration deadline
January 7, 2020 Expression of interest deadline
January 17, 2020 Notification of results

4. Canadian delegation profile

Participants must be Canadian SMEs that meet the requirements below to participate in this initiative.

Minimum requirements:

Preference will be given to SME applicants who:

5. Mission description

Ahead of a planned call for proposals for industrial co-innovation projects in sustainable food production, which Innovate UK and NRC IRAP plan to launch in January 2020, a matchmaking mission is scheduled to support project definition and partner identification. The Canada-UK sustainable food processing mission will take place from February 24 to 28, 2020, and includes training, workshops, site visits, and matchmaking events in London, York, and Edinburgh.

Participants will learn about the UK ecosystem for support of industrial R&D, UK capabilities in AgTech and smart farming, and details of the planned call for proposals. Workshops will enable Canadian firms to meet with potential collaborators and discuss common challenges and opportunities.

The planned call for proposal will select projects that aim to improve the productivity and sustainability of crop and livestock (including aquaculture) systems through integrated precision approaches and data-driven solutions.

6. Background

UK agriculture is facing many challenges common to advanced economies around the world, including changing environmental stewardship expectations and increased expectations for quality and productivity. Combined with labour shortages amplified by Brexit, automation is playing an increasingly significant role in food production for domestic and export markets.

The UK produces approximately 60% of the food it eats via domestic farming, generating approximately £5.4B per year, mainly from dairy, livestock, and arable products. UK imports of food are valued at approximately double those of UK exports, and supply chains to its primary markets in Western Europe are expected to be disrupted should Brexit go ahead. Loss of subsidy (£3.2B) from the European Union, mobility of seasonal workers, and availability of imported food products are expected to put increased emphasis on productivity improvement through the development and deployment of agricultural technologies in precision agriculture and livestock management. These areas represent significant opportunities for Canadian innovators to engage with the UK agriculture value chain to build future technologies solutions and long-term trade relationships within the UK market, Europe, and globally.

7. Financial support

NRC IRAP may provide financial support to eligible SMEs for up to 75% of the cost of economy airfare and accommodations, to a maximum of $3,000 CAD.

8. Contact information

For more information, contact NRC IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor Gordon Jolly.

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