£3.5 million climate change fund established to shake agri-food sector
A consortium of leading scientific research and academic institutions has teamed up with the Societe Generale UK Foundation, the charitable arm of one of the leading European banks, to identify innovative solutions to tackle climate change linked to the agri-food sector.
The SHAKE Climate Change programme is specifically designed to attract entrepreneurs who have developed early stage science or tech-based ideas that can have a significant impact on climate change, as well as form the basis of a sustainable and socially responsible business within the sector. Ideas can relate to any point in the food production chain, which contributes more than a quarter of global climate change emissions.
SHAKE Climate Change brings together experts from Rothamsted Research, Cranfield University, University College London, and the University of Hertfordshire with the financial backing of the Societe Generale UK Foundation to deliver world-class science, technology and business expertise to the initiative.
Over the nine-year programme, an initial target of 15 successful ventures will receive up to a total amount of £140,000 each, plus two years of high-quality training and mentoring from leading experts in business and science, to help further develop their ventures.
Professor Angela Karp, Director of Science Innovation, Engagement and Partnerships at Rothamsted Research, who co-developed the programme with the partners, said: “There has been a lot of publicity recently around the environmental impact of eating meat – but the contribution of agri-food to our climate footprint is so much more complex and wider than that. Fossil fuel use for farm machinery, transport, refrigeration, fertiliser production all contribute. The way soils are managed can have a huge effect – not just on CO2 or methane, but nitrous oxide emissions too. Then there’s the whole issue of how agricultural wastes can be reduced or recycled, moving towards a circular economy.
“In many people’s eyes, food and farming are fast becoming climate villains, but there is huge potential for this sector to ultimately become the heroes. There are so many possible angles you can attack this problem from.”
SG UK Foundation Spokesperson and Trustee Jazz Singh said: “To varying degrees, we are all responsible for climate change, and we are all responsible for stopping it. The agri-food sector is one of the greatest contributors of emissions driving climate change, and through this funding we’re able to leverage the best minds in science and business and combine this with entrepreneurial spirit and technological know-how of teams and individuals to truly make a difference in addressing the climate agenda in this sector.”
This summer, approximately 30 entrepreneurs or teams will be selected to participate in a one-week residential intensive workshop culminating in them pitching their ideas to a panel of experts. Of this initial cohort, around ten entrepreneurs and teams will be chosen for a further three-months of intense training to build their ventures. Around five ventures will then be recommended for up to a total amount of £140,000 each to develop their businesses under continual mentorship for a further 8-12 months, followed by aftercare support. At least two additional similar waves will follow with the programme continuing to support entrepreneurs until 2027.
Further information for press/media, please contact:
James Clarke, Head of Communication, Rothamsted Research. T: +44 (0) 1582 938109