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Barley Fields


Since launching in 2021, we have been working on a variety of projects focused on improving the impact of agricultural innovation. Here is some of the work we've been doing - click on the links or get in touch to find out more.

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A group of farmers are discussing in the field, using a tablet. Two men and one woman. Tea

Priorities for Research and Innovation 

Research and Innovation Priority Workshops: Autumn 2023

Farming and research organisations are hosting a series of workshops asking farmers and growers what research would be most useful to their business, now and long term. CEIA are coordinating the workshops, conducting the data analyses, and will be reporting the findings with the partners in early 2024. This work builds on the Feeding the Future review ten years ago by NFU and partners, which was updated in 2017. 

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Agricultural Universities Council

The AUC are a collaboration of 16 UK universities with agricultural courses and research. CEIA currently provide the Secretariat for AUC.

CEIA funded and led (on behalf of AUC) a joint agricultural research strategy which assesses existing agricultural research capacity across the UK for the first time in a decade. The strategy sets out new steps we are taking to join up our research and strengthen the difference it makes on the ground. These include working with farming networks to get an up-to-date, sector-wide picture of research priorities, coordinating how we share evidence, and training the next generation of scientists with the skills to research complex, real-world farming systems.

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Farming Innovation Programme

We have been working closely with Defra and Innovate UK on the development of the Farming Innovation Programme funding competitions.

Defra are collaborating with UKRI to help deliver innovation and R&D within their Future Farming and Countryside Programme, and are aiming to use innovation funding to deliver greater impact for producers and sustainability.

To learn more about the R&D programme, click on the link or get in touch with us.

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UK Crop Robot Code of Practice

The team at Harper Adams University led by CEIA Director Professor James Lowenberg-DeBoer are working on a Code of Practice for crop robotics.


One of the key issues in regulation of crop robots is the need for human supervision. The objective of this study is to identify factors determining economically optimal farmer supervision of crop robots in the absence of regulation.

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Mapping the UK Innovation Landscape

University of Reading and CEIA have been mapping how innovation and funding effects agriculture.

The study is focusing on generating models asking questions such as:

  • How do research priorities flow from farmers, growers and foresters to funders and policy makers?

  • How does funding in innovation effect the agricultural landscape?

  • Where are the impact flows and routes of support enabling change

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Farming Innovation Pathways competition

The Farming Innovation Pathway competition launched in March 2021 and was the first funding from Innovate UK to explicitly request substantial engagement with producers. 

CEIA produced a guide for researchers on how to better engage producers in their research projects for this competition.

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