Digital Dairy Chain Awards £2m To Groundbreaking Projects

The Digital Dairy Chain has announced the successful winners of the 2023 Collaborative Research & Development Grant Competition, run by the UK’s national innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The seven winning projects faced strong competition from across the sector back in spring when the contest opened to applications. Funding totalling £2 million was available from the Digital Dairy Chain with the aim of supporting innovative projects focused on improving dairy production and the supply chain.

Stuart Matin, Programme Director of the Digital Dairy Chain, commented: “The calibre of applications we received for this first round of R&D competition funding set the bar extremely high. The winning project’s applications faced stiff competition and are all very deserving of the funding. These are groundbreaking ideas across a number of innovative subject matters, which will have significant implications for dairy productivity and sustainable production on a national level.”

The individual projects have each received grants of between £200-350K which will be invested in work taking place predominantly across Cumbria and South and West Scotland, the Digital Dairy Chain’s geographical reach. Projects had to be collaborative and business led; as well as showing a realistic potential to support business growth, scale-up and job creation for the sector.

Galebreaker Ltd is leading one such project which has been awarded £270k through the competition to create a cost-effective ventilated environment for calves. The Galebreaker team will be working in collaboration with Ross Vance from High Skeog Farm in Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway, and researchers from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Andrew Gardner from Galebreaker Ltd, said: “The Digital Dairy Chain funding will allow Galebreaker to design, build and test an innovative and cost-effective calf housing solution.  Galebreaker Ltd and High Skeog Farm are aligned in thinking that a key strategy to transforming a dairy farm is by improving the health and welfare of the youngstock, bringing productivity and sustainability to the milking herd.”

Other innovative projects set to receive a share of the £2 million pot of funding range from developing the world’s first ready-to-feed baby milk free from tropical oil emulsifiers, to establishing a new model using genomics and IVF to rapidly breed more methane-efficient, sustainable cattle.

The Digital Dairy Chain is set to announce 2024 dates for a second round of Collaborative R&D Funding later this year.

For a full summary of the seven projects awarded Collaborative R&D Competition funding please click here.