Frequently asked questions

How will you make sure the funded research addresses farmers' and growers' real priorities?

This second call will only support projects that have been jointly developed by researchers and producers, and all applications will be reviewed by farmers or growers, as well as scientists.

Is this different from the first call?

In the first call we asked farmers and growers to submit research challenges. We haven't repeated that a second time because we still have that list of challenges from last year, plus a broader view of priorities coming out of producer discussion workshops and survey by the Organic Research Centre (ORC). The three themes we have chosen as the focus for this call were among those highlighted by the producers who took part in ORC's review, and areas where innovation could bring benefits to large numbers of producers across the sector.

Can I resubmit my application from the first call?

If your proposal addresses one of the three themes that are the focus of this call, you may resubmit it. However, as the competition will again be very tough (we received 37 applications in response to the first call and funded four projects), we would strongly suggest considering how you could further strengthen your project's research design, potential impact and value for money. You can read here about the projects funded last time.

Is my idea eligible?

To be considered for funding, applications must:

  • Address one of the three themes for this call.
  • Show evidence that the project idea has been developed jointly between at least one researcher and one UK-based farmer or grower.
  • Be willing to share the findings publicly to benefit of farmers and growers.
  • Complete all parts of the application form.

Does the farmer or grower involved need to be certified organic?

No – the fund is open to all, and the projects funded in the first round involve a mix of organic and non-organic farms. However, in assessing proposals we will consider how far could answering the research question meets the fund’s overall aim to improve productivity, quality or environmental performance in organic or other agroecological systems.

How much and how long can apply for?

Proposals may seek up to £25,000 cash contribution from the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme (DOFFP) research fund. Smaller projects and those drawing on other sources of support in cash or in kind are welcomed. The duration of projects will be governed by scientific need and justified in the project proposal.

How will you assess the applications?

In assessing applications we will consider:

  • How far could answering the research question improve productivity, quality or environmental performance in organic or other agroecological systems?
  • Does the project add significantly to other research that is already happening?
  • How many farmers or growers could benefit?
  • Are there practical plans to get relevant findings to those who could use them?
  • Are the proposed methods appropriate to address the research question?
  • Does the team have the knowledge and capacity to succeed?
  • Does the project offer good value for money?

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of farmers, growers and scientists, including members of the steering group for the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme.

The final decision on funding will be made by the Soil Association, informed by scores and comments from reviewers. Whether we fund projects against all three themes, or only one or two themes, will depend on the range of proposals and how they are scored. Successful applications will be expected to score highly across all criteria. There is no appeal process and we cannot undertake to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.

Unsuccessful applications may be resubmitted for consideration under subsequent funding rounds but they would not be automatically carried forward.

How would I report my research findings?

We will provide you with a concise template for reports. All data collected through the research should be available to the Soil Association except by prior agreement where there are clear reasons why this is impossible.

More important is that key messages reach farmers and growers by publication of a technical guide or articles in the farming press or holding knowledge exchange events.

Projects should also deliver high-quality science. While we do not require a commitment to seek publication in a peer-reviewed journal we expect this to be an ambition for most projects.

A publication and dissemination strategy should be available to the Soil Association within 30 days of an award.

What are the other key terms and conditions?

A grant agreement will follow for successful proposals. All parties to a research grant must:

  • Demonstrate they have adequate health and safety procedures to safeguard those delivering the project.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to sound environmental management.
  • Possess appropriate insurance cover.

Individual farmers and growers may be named recipients of grant funding. Where the research project is a partnership between a research organisation and a farmer or grower, the parties may invoice separately. This should be identified in the proposal. Simple expenses incurred by the farmers, growers or other expenses may be paid via the research organisation’s standard procedures.

Because this is a research grant delivered for the public good it is not within the scope of VAT.

The funding stream must be acknowledged in all external communications. Recipients of a funding award must be willing to work with the Soil Association and/or Waitrose on publicity and communications.


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Supported by...

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Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation

Organic Research Centre