Reasons to engage with AgriFoRwArdS

How can AgriFoRwArdS support your business through innovation, research and collaboration?

The AgriFoRwArdS Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is a UK Government Research Council funded initiative that will create at least 50 leaders in robotics, who will aspire to change the world of agriculture, by finding solutions for real world challenges.

Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) are set to transform the Agri-Food industry, and the AgriFoRwArdS goal is to create the largest cohort of RAS specialists focussed on the Agri-Food sector. There is widescale engagement with industry; projects are co-designed with industry partners, enabling research to be pushed rapidly towards real-world applications.

AgriFoRwArdS will enrol students who will support agri-food sector businesses in their advancement of robotics-related projects, benefitting the UK agri-food industry. The initiative is aimed at solving particular technology challenges and thereby securing sector advancement.

The AgriFoRwArdS CDT is a collaboration between the Universities of Lincoln, Cambridge and East Anglia, providing industry with the opportunity to work with experts leading in their fields and their extensive R&D facilities. AgriFoRwArdS brings together the three partner Universities, PhD students and industry partners, creating a unique community that identifies agri-food specific issues, and finds solutions using RAS technologies.

Why engage with AgriFoRwArdS?

  • Research Studentship funding qualifies for R&D Tax credits when undertaken via a Contract with a University (See below for more details).
  • Advance your business and sector position – Research completed by the CDT will be inspired by your challenges
  • The research will be heavily supplemented by EPSRC funding, significantly amplifying your return on any investment
  • The studentship could be used as the first stage of a long-term employment / R&D engagement.
  • Projects will have supervisors from across the consortium providing high levels of expertise tailored to the
  • Your organisation will be invited to AgriFoRwArdS events, providing the opportunity to promote your company, and to network/collaborate with leading stakeholders from across industry, academia and Government.

Specific examples of industry benefits:

  • Improved sales and price
  • Fewer distress promotions (20%-25% price reduction)
  • Reduce imports
  • Improved reliability and confidence in supply
  • Improved matching of supply and demand,
  • Improved scheduling of labour
  • Reduced on farm and retail (higher shelf life) food waste

Other benefits of engaging with the CDT

  • You will be included in regular sector updates via newsletters, a monthly Seminar Series and other communications
  • Keep up to date with Responsible Research and Innovation, EDI and industry issues, knowledge and solutions
  • Industry Partners will be on the pulse of the latest research
  • Join a multi-stakeholder group of experts, and collaborate to turn ideas and innovation into reality

Ways to engage

  • Co-create, and sponsor, a PhD project that feeds directly from your business interests
  • Put forward a specific industry challenge, for the yearly Summer School, at which all students collaborate to find a solution
  • Present at the CDT Annual Conference, or as part of the monthly Seminar Series
  • Offer site visits to allow students to engage with your organisation, and view facilities
  • Provide lecture or training for the students
  • Become a member of the AgriFoRwArdS Advisory Board, made up of other industry partners from the agri and robotics sectors

For more information regarding R&D tax credits, please see Claiming Research and Development tax reliefs – GOV.UK ( SMEs qualify for 100% of their costs, plus 130%. A large company can claim 100% plus 13% against their corporation tax. This is a major boost as corporation tax is reduced by 230% for an SME and 113% for large corporations. Note: the Autumn Statement 2022 HTML – GOV.UK ( includes some reforms to this scheme that are worth noting.

For more information regarding this opportunity, please visit contact us on

Who are we already working with? Click for more information on our students, the industry partners and current projects.