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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y023854/1
Title: STREAM 2: The LINCAM AgTech Cluster
Principal Investigator: Pearson, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Iida, Professor F Manning, Professor L Forni, Dr F
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
B-hive Innovations Ltd Branston Limited Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CA
Greater Lincolnshire LEP Jim Godfrey SVG Thrive
West Lindsey District Council
Department: Lincoln Inst for Agri-Food Technology
Organisation: University of Lincoln
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 October 2023 Ends: 30 September 2027 Value (£): 5,244,818
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Ecosystem Scale Processes Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Food and Drink
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jun 2023 PBIAA Interview Panel B Announced
06 Jun 2023 PBIAA Sift R1 Panel Meeting A Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The unavoidable agri-food system needs to provide affordable and healthy food for all. However, it is now widely accepted that food production comes with an unacceptable environmental and social costs. It accounts for 24% of all UK GHG emissions, led to significant biodiversity losses and driven challenging social issues not least from seasonal worker influxes to rural communities. In addition, farmers are under relentless cost pressure from dominant supply chain actors, eroding supply chain equity and local economies. These challenges are acute, not least across Greater Lincolnshire and north Cambridgeshire (LINCAM region), the UK's major production centre for crop-based agriculture and associated supply chain. Whilst there is no simple panacea for these challenges, agricultural technologies (AgTech) that concurrently drive economic and environmental / social productivity have a critical role.

The LINCAM supply chain's significance and sheer scale has established a nationally renowned AgTech cluster, not least from the Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge. Both HEI's have specialised in interdisciplinary agri-food innovation, focussing on digital technologies including robotics and AI to drive productivity. Their work exploited a close working relationship with wider civic society and has been co-created across industry. For this established cluster, the LINCAM proposition enables the next step change. We will use AgTech to help address some of the most daunting challenges facing the LINCAM region and global agricultural productivity.

We will deliver a step change by;

1. Broadening participation by provisioning LINCAM cluster access to all UK HEI's who wish to onward develop impacts from their AgTech innovations. Activities will include extensive cocreation with leading business and society partners plus direct training and funding for impact delivery. To embed impact delivery behaviours, all awards will be milestoned (go/no go) and accompanied by active pre, through and post award mentoring.

2. Extensive KE with leading businesses and civic society (GLLEP, CPCA, Lincolnshire County Council and West Lindsey District Council) to understand and mitigate barriers to adoption. Activities will include direct support with civic actors to develop local industrial strategies, lock down foreign direct investment, local planning, infrastructure and community development. The LINCAM project enables the cluster to consolidate and deliver nascent development objectives. This includes realisation of a nationally significant Agricultural Growth Zone north of Lincoln; our ambition is to transform the University's Riseholme Campus to a global innovation centre for AgTech.

3. Securing a legacy by embedding cocreation and human skills for AgTech innovation across the region and UK HEI's. We target the LINCAM region to become an AgTech gateway for the world, enabling the development of technologies in a place with industrial scale, export opportunities for AgTech companies and inward investment opportunities within both the AgTech and primary production sectors.

Our key regional partners are civic society and an industry sector that supports 88,000 jobs, generates a GVA of £3.8bn and farms >50% of the UK's grade 1 land. However, despite this scale, the opportunity for Place based impact is significant. Social deprivation and attainment across the region are pressing concerns, many citizens are underserved. LINCAM offers an opportunity to secure sustainable growth, bringing high value and skilled jobs to the region, whilst mitigating the serious environmental impacts of the food production system.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lincoln.ac.uk