Big Data Research and Development Grant

RD Grant

Big Data Research and Development Grant

In 2014, Sainsbury’s Agriculture Research and Development Grant is focused on projects that generate large amounts of data as part of their output. We're calling on Sainsbury's farmers, growers and suppliers to apply for research and development support on projects that will help build more efficient, resilient and secure agriculture supply chains.

Please note: Applications for R&D grants have now closed


'Big Data' is any data, metrics or performance indicators needed at field, farm and landscape level to improve productivity and ensure a balance between efficiency and resource impact.

In order to meet the requirements of this grant, applicants must consider creating ‘Big Data’ that: 

  1. Is Innovative: You should provide evidence that the data you want to collect, fills a data gap rather than replicating existing data (i.e. Data must not include information that already exists in the public domain e.g. weather data, water abstraction, soil type).
  2. Has the ability to be integrated into existing datasets: This innovative data should have the ability to align with other existing datasets to help us all make better informed decisions on the key industry issue(s) you are trying to confront.
  3. Is Impactful: This data must have the ability to add value within the relevant Sainsbury’s development group and have potential for use in wider value chains.

We recognise the importance of good quality data to drive innovation in our own business and in maintaining an innovative and competitive agriculture industry. Good quality data has the potential to provide us all with insights and information that helps develop successful products, services and innovative farming practices.

It is in recognition of this that this year our focus is data driven research and development projects where information will be collected, combined and processed in different ways to help answer questions, test the effects of agricultural practices, provide new insights and develop transformative solutions.

The call for 'Big data' applications follows Sainsbury's £2.2 million investment in projects granted in the two previous Sainsbury’s Agriculture Research and Development Grant calls in September 2012 and September 2013. 

Sainsbury's 'Big Data' Research and Development Grant

We are looking for research and development projects that are aligned to the following themes:

  1. Product quality and freshness
  2. Product safety
  3. Plant, animal and consumer nutrition
  4. Animal fish health & welfare, and soil health
  5. Resilience and security

The grant awards will be made with four Agriculture priorities in mind, with the intention of creating good quality ‘Big Data’ that provides us all with insights and information to develop successful products, services and innovative farming practices. 

  1. Quality – Measuring the primary input factors that impact product quality through the supply chain to the customer’s home (e.g. timing and accessibility of water, source and biochemical composition of feed or fertiliser)
  2. Safety – Measuring the factors that impact the risk of microbiological factors through the supply chain (e.g. environmental operational factors that increase pathogen risk)
  3. Nutrition – Measuring the factors that impact nutritional availability for consumers (e.g. alternative system inputs that drive bioavailability of key nutritional elements)
  4. Animal & Soil health – Measuring the factors that impact on health outcomes of animals, fish and soil.

These priorities need to be met whilst keeping in mind the interdependencies between all Sainsbury’s 20x20 commitments.

Additional criteria on which grants are awarded

  • The project must have alignment with one of the five overarching principles stated
  • Project partners must consider the scale of impact any research and development will have on the associated Sainsbury's Development Group(s) and wider value chain(s)
  • Project partners must have the appropriate equipment in place to meet the requirements of the project proposal e.g. (if appropriate) measuring equipment
  • Relevant involvement of industry specific Centres of Excellence

Eligible parties must be one of the following

  • Any farmer member(s) of the Sainsbury's Beef/Cheese/Dairy/Egg/Fish/Lamb/Pork/Poultry/Veal/Wheat Development Groups and any Horticultural farmer supplying into Sainsbury’s
  • Any primary agriculture supplier/processer that supplies into Sainsbury's
  • Any University, research institute or commercial company working in conjunction with any farmer/member(s) of the Sainsbury's Development Groups

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