KTN offers the GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards as a means to encourage UK research partners, including Universities and Research Technology Organisations (RTOs), to address AgriFood challenges in Africa in 2020.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries. GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and will be awarded in a manner that fits with ODA guidelines.

Innovate UK is delivering a £26m 5-year GCRF AgriFood Africa programme, following on from activities initiated through The Department for International Development (DFID) now replaced by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). KTN is delivering the Dissemination and Collaboration element of this programme. As part of this, KTN is currently funding 12 Innovation Awards from Round 1.

This call will provide funds to a UK research partner for a collaborative project to address the AgriFood challenges of an African partner. These Awards are intended to help resource small confidence-building measures, employing research and innovation within the scope as outlined below. Projects must be between an African partner and a UK research partner that is likely to lead to a longer-term relationship and follow-on projects. Highly innovative applications from partners who have not worked together before are especially welcome as are projects that promote diversity and inclusion. They are looking to support a portfolio of projects that address a variety of Agrifood and nutrition challenges relevant to Africa, across a range of technology areas, market sectors and territories. 

Worth of Award

  • The grants, which are up to £40,000 (including any applicable VAT), are awarded to the UK research partner to tackle a problem relevant to the African partner(s).
  • Awards are to be funded at 80% FEC, so total project costs may equal up to £50,000 (but only up to £40,000 will be reimbursed).


The collaborations supported by a GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Award must comprise a defined piece of research and innovation work by the UK and African partner or partners, for example, feasibility studies, industrial research projects or social science studies into barriers to the adoption of or investment in technologies and innovations in the agricultural sector.

These awards will take innovative ideas from any sector or discipline. Ideas must show the potential for a positive impact on poverty through the uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation. The scope includes:

  • primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture
  • improving the availability and accessibility of safe, healthy and nutritious foods
  • challenges in food processing, distribution or storage, and value addition (such as through a change in the physical state or form of the product)
  • non-food uses of crops, excluding ornamentals and crops for energy use

Your project’s innovations must:

  • be sustainable in the context of environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity
  • minimise negative effects such as pollution, food loss and waste
  • promote safe, healthy and nutritious diets

Agriculture and food systems are changing rapidly, which has the potential to positively impact diets and stakeholder livelihoods. Uptake of new technology and innovation in the area of agriculture and food systems is currently low in developing countries, particularly Africa. Your project proposal must show benefits to an African country’s agriculture and/or food systems to contribute to sustainable, healthy, safe and nutritious diets. It must clearly demonstrate a research or innovation component.

How to Apply

  • Applications must be led by an eligible Principal Investigator in the UK.
  • The call is open to individuals and organisations normally eligible to apply to the UK research councils for research grants.
  • Assessment of the ‘Evidence of Expertise’ section of the application will take the applicant’s career stage into account.
  • UK academic applicants are welcome to include a relevant UK industry partner in addition to African partner(s).
  • However, the UK industry partner will not be eligible to receive funding through this award.

Deadline: The deadline for applications is Midnight Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

Click here for more details and to apply