New source of innovation support for business in the Marches - Agri-tech Growth and Resources for Innovation


Businesses in the Marches region seeking to innovate with new products or processes in the agri-tech and agri-food sectors have a new source of support, thanks to the launch of a new scheme run by Aston and Harper Adams Universities and funded by the European Regional Development Fund. 

Agri-tech Growth and Resources for Innovation – or AGRI for short – aims to connect companies with innovation-focussed academics capable of assisting in a range of relevant areas:

Aston University:

  • Photonics and lasers
  • Logistics and supply chain 
  • Sensing
  • Wireless networks
  • Systems analytics
  • Geographical info. systems

Harper Adams University:

  • Agricultural engineering
  • Precision agriculture
  • Sensing & data analytics
  • Robotics & automation
  • Food NPD
  • Waste technologies

A key feature of the scheme is that all assistance is provided at no cost to the business concerned. Following an initial discussion of opportunities and challenges being faced by the company, the first phase consists of a short-term (typically 2 day) study outlining potential solutions to the areas discussed. Should the company wish to develop the solutions further, the universities can then provide longer-term assistance, utilising their technical resources and expertise, typically spending several weeks in the development of a prototype or new process. 

A series of workshops is also planned to disseminate technical information and provide networking opportunities. In addition to supporting companies already operating in the agri-tech sector, the project is keen to assist companies who might wish to move into that sector for the first time. Professor David Webb, the Project Director said, “The AGRI project is an exciting opportunity for businesses in the region to directly benefit from the expertise and technology available at Aston and Harper Adams Universities, supporting them in developing new, innovative products and services. Helping make the businesses more competitive and increasing opportunities for them to grow.” In addition to providing technical help, the scheme can also provide advice and assistance in accessing more substantial innovation funding, e.g. from Innovate UK or the European Union’s Horizon 2020 scheme.

To find out if AGRI can help your business, visit or email to arrange a discussion with one of the innovation support managers.