European Innovation Partnerships (EIP)

21 August 2017

What are European Innovation Partnerships (EIP’s)?


EIPs are a Europe-wide initiative to encourage and develop innovation within farm and forest enterprises. Menter a Busnes has been working with Welsh Government to deliver the scheme in Wales over the past 18 months and we have been working with approximately 20 potential groups to develop their ideas into a project structure that could bring real benefit to their businesses.


Welsh Government has recently undertaken a review of this process and we are pleased to report that earlier in July they have awarded the management and delivery of the entire scheme to Menter a Busnes. What this means in real terms is that we will be able to simplify and speed up the application process so that groups can concentrate on their projects and get the results out to the industry much faster. For those groups who already have applications submitted to Welsh Government we will work with you on an individual basis during this transition phase.




We have up to £40k available for 45 projects that need to cover the different agricultural and forestry sectors in Wales. So far we have received enquiries from a broad range of sectors and we will continue to keep a close eye on this to ensure that all sectors have access to the funding. This may mean in future that we have to close the application window and open specific calls to address specific gaps in our delivery. We will keep you informed of any such changes as we progress. In the meantime, we welcome your ideas and we’ll work with you to see if there is scope to develop a project.


Projects can run for up to 3 years or you may feel a shorter length project requesting a smaller amount of funding is more applicable to your project.


Where to start


The purpose of this funding is to support farmers and foresters with the adoption of new ideas and technologies. So if you know of a new technology that’s been developed but is not widely available but you think it may have a place in your business then let us know. Alternatively, you may have a problem or issue within your business but you don’t know how to solve it. Bring that problem to us and we may be able to structure a project that finds the solution.


Project structure


EIPs are about working together as a group with individuals interested in solving the same problem. Each group needs to be made up of at least two farmers from separate businesses plus one other from a related organisation. This can be a researcher, consultant or agri-business that may be interested in developing a solution to the problem. We call this group the Operational Group and they can access a variety of support to help turn their idea into a workable project.


Support available


Firstly your idea will be sent to the Farming Connect Knowledge Exchange Hub. This is a collaboration that we have with IBERS, Aberystwyth University and their role is to look to see what is already known about the topic you are interested in. This serves two purposes; firstly is the answer to your query already out there? And secondly if not what are the gaps in knowledge that a project should address. The Knowledge Exchange Hub can also advise on how projects should be designed to get the best out of the funding you apply for.


The other invaluable support available from Farming Connect is the Innovation Broker. This is an approved individual who can facilitate the formation of your Group, the development of the project, the application process and then the delivery of the project. So you do not need to worry if filling in application forms is not your forte – the Innovation Broker will be able to do this for you and offer the experience that they have in project development and delivery. The Innovation Broker is funded entirely separately to the project funding pot and Menter a Busnes will deal with their funding – you just need to take advantage of the service they can provide.


What type of projects are we looking for?


We are looking for projects that will improve efficiencies within your business and are likely to be transferrable to a wider audience. It may be a new technology that you have heard about from another industry or sector within the agricultural industry and you feel it could help improve a particular part of your management system. This funding could allow you and a group of people with similar interests to try it out and see if it works in your business environment.


Alternatively you may have a recurring problem that you know also affects other farmers or foresters that you have spoken to such as monitoring forage yields or controlling a particular pest or disease. There may be innovative monitoring systems or tests that can help address these problems and reduce any further losses to your enterprise.


It’s impossible to give examples of exactly what we are looking for – it really is an open book. Come to us with your ideas or problems that need solving and we’ll work with you to see if it’s eligible for the funding.


For further information, please contact Lynfa Davies on 01970 631453

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