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Fostering international collaborations to drive agritech innovations

Collaboration and innovation are key to overcoming the challenges facing the world’s agricultural sectors. Eleven UK companies recently visited Australia with Innovate UK to create new connections at AgriFutures evokeAG. on 20-21 February 2024 as part of an innovative program helping accelerate agritech solutions across the globe.

evokeAG delegates celebrate at evokeAG 2024 Innovate UK delegates at evokeAG 2024. Image | Mr.Wigley Photography.

When it comes to solving problems, two heads are better than one.

So, it’s no surprise that collaboration sits at the heart of a UK program designed to expedite the development of new technologies.

Through its Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP), evokeAG. 2024 partner, Innovate UK, helps innovative small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), to collaborate and explore international markets, accelerating business growth.

Agritech is one of the key sectors targeted by Innovate UK, which recently travelled to Australia to develop potential connections on the global stage.

Robert Crook, Innovation Lead in Agriculture and Food for Innovate UK

Robert Crook, Innovation Lead in Agriculture and Food for Innovate UK.

Creating connections through evokeAG.

A delegation of 11 companies travelled to Australia on 20-21 February to take part in AgriFutures evokeAG. , Asia Pacific’s premier agrifood tech event.

Robert Crook, Innovation Lead in Agriculture and Food for Innovate UK, said the event provided a host of benefits for the UK companies, who were looking to make connections with everyone from potential research and development partners to investors, future collaborators and innovators from Australia and around the world.

“The trip to Australia and participation in events such as evokeAG. allows our delegates to gain a better understanding of Australian agriculture, food businesses, operations, operating environments and the market needs,” said Robert.

“The UK delegates are also able to share their knowledge and experiences with prospective Australian partners so they can understand current developments and opportunities in the UK.

Three people overlook a paddock with a tractor

N2 Applied Limited is one of the 11 delegations who recently travelled to Australia for evokeAG. 2024. The company has developed a patented technology that challenges the fossil fuel-based fertiliser industry. Image | N2 Applied Limited

“The speakers and presentations at evokeAG. always provide valuable insight into technologies, operations, new challenges and opportunities.

“Investment is also important for our companies to grow. evokeAG. provides insight on the investment environment and the opportunity to make contacts through networking events.”

Perfect partners to drive innovation

Robert says it makes perfect sense for UK companies to learn more about Australia’s agricultural sector, which during the 2022/23 financial year experienced record production levels in the vicinity of $94 billion (source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.)

“Both Australia and the UK recognise the importance of a vibrant agricultural sector, which leads to a significant contribution to economic growth in both countries,” he says.

“There is an urgent need to embrace innovative agrifood tech solutions if we are to address the ever-increasing challenges of population growth, climate change and supply chain disruption.

Robert said effective use of resources, shortage of skilled labour, animal welfare, disease, and pest pressures are some of the primary challenges shared by Australia and the UK.

“These common challenges enable technologies to be transferred between countries. Local contacts will enable tuning, development, and support to suit local conditions,” Robert said.

Pondus Limited, a deep tech company operating in the poultry industry, was one of the 11 UK companies to visit Australia.

“The other benefit is the differences. Things like different climate, different crops and different operations that enable technologies to be developed to function correctly and be exploited in these new applications.

“This trip gave the UK and Australia the opportunity to work together to accelerate the pace at which the global challenges to primary agricultural production can be addressed.”

Fruitful relationships to help businesses grow

While the current free trade agreement is making business easier between the UK and Australia, Robert says GBIP’s focus on its southern counterparts is about so much more.

Innovate UK at evokeAG 2024

Robert Crook said participating in evokeAG. 2024 gave delegates a better understanding of Australian agriculture, food businesses, operations, operating environments and market needs.

“We recognise that for companies to exploit their technologies and to grow, they must understand markets outside the UK,” Robert said.

“The program is to enable companies to gain knowledge and experience of Australian agriculture and the Australian agrifood tech sector.

“We want the UK companies to build collaborative working relationships with innovative Australian companies, research organisations and academic institutions.

“It’s about building relationships to mutually develop innovative technologies, products, and services that drive sustainable growth, not just market development and trading relationships.”

Two people talking at evokeAG 2024.

UK delegates also shared their knowledge and experiences with prospective Australian partners so they can understand current developments and opportunities in the UK.

Meet the delegates

Eleven UK scaleups took part in the Innovate UK GBIP and the trip to Australia for evokeAG. 2024:

Applied Group

Applied Poultry is an experienced poultry management and facilities company. Their accomplished team provide flexible, customised trials designs with an emphasis on collaboration throughout development and execution.

Deep Planet

Deep Planet has developed scalable and cost-effective precision agriculture tools for vineyards. There tools use remote sensing data to provide comprehensive vineyard management decision making support. The company are now diversifying and developing their technologies to quantify soil carbon and biodiversity

LyteGro Limited

LyteGro make BacLyte, an extract of black bananas which is used to improve microbial growth and metabolism to increase fermentation process efficiency and profitability whilst also reducing their feedstock, water and energy footprints.

Messium Limited

Messium is an agricultural technology company building a remote nitrogen concentration and recommendation system, offering farmers the opportunity to make substantial savings in annual fertiliser cost.

N2 Applied Limited

N2 Applied’s plasma technology solves some of our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. N2 has developed a patented technology that challenges the fossil fuel-based fertiliser industry.

OSY Group

OSY Group is a hygiene technology company extending the shelf-life of food to reduce food wastage across the supply chain, through the application of a coating to food packaging.

Pondus Limited

Pondus is a deep tech company operating specifically in the poultry industry. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide bird centric metrics bird weight and behaviours.

Pontus Research

Pontus Research Ltd an independent Commerical Research Organisation for aquaculture research. They provide in-vivo R&D services to the aquaculture, marine and aquatics sectors for the development of nutritional and health products.

RapidX Bio

RapidX Bio is a Cambridge-based molecular diagnostic startup developing a five-minute point-of-care test for agricultural and clinical pathogens as well as genotypic antimicrobial resistance markers.

Residual Barrier Technology

Residual Barrier Technology is an innovative developer, formulator and manufacturer of hygiene and infection control products for the agricultural and veterinary markets, including a patented nebuliser that automatically disinfects both air and surfaces.

VIMD Limited

VIMD Limited is a start-up company focused on making rapid, accurate, robust, point-of-care molecular diagnostics a reality for the animal health sector.

An additional eight agritech companies travelled to evokeAG. 2024 as part of Innovate UK’s Global Incubator Programme, which works with established companies to accelerate entry into new locations. It supports SMEs to work with world-leading incubators abroad to explore the potential of specific overseas markets and access world-class mentors and tailored workspaces.

Learn more about Innovate UK and sign up for the latest news and funding opportunities here.

evokeAG. 2025 will be held in Brisbane, Queensland on 18-19 February. Sign up for event updates and news and insights about the innovators and start-ups transforming our agrifood sector here.

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