Scotland Food and Drink Net-Zero food and drink challenge fund


The Scottish Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund has been launched by Interface and the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership to support Scotland’s food and drink businesses as part of the Recovery Plan funded by Scottish Government. It aims to support businesses to accelerate their journey towards Net Zero and improve their environmental sustainability utilising the world class knowledge base and facilities across Scottish Universities, Research Institutes and Colleges. Please contact and we will help identify and connect you into key academic expertise to support your project ideas.

The fund will support companies working in or with the food and drink supply chain in Scotland to reduce environmental impacts. It will pay for companies to utilise the expertise Scotland’s higher education institutions and colleges can provide.  Scotland is blessed with world class academia across numerous disciplines including Agri-tech, IT, data, manufacturing, engineering, food science, chemistry, biology, environmental and consumer sciences. Funding awards of up to £10,000 will be made available for businesses to partner with and fund Scottish academia on projects contributing to sustainability and Net Zero goals. 

Potential funding opportunities are wide and varied:

  • Projects are welcome across the supply chain including primary production, manufacturing, food service, supply chains, retail, and technology. Fundamental to a successful application will be associated reductions on environmental impact for the food and drink industry in Scotland.
  • Environmental sustainability is unique to each business, organisation or subsector; so, priorities will vary. We envisage applications covering a range of issues such as food waste, waste valorisation, water usage, sustainable ingredients, packaging, resource and energy efficiency.  For further inspiration please see Scotland Food & Drink’s Leadership in a Climate Emergency  document on the right hand side of the page.
  • Ideas may have emerged from engagement with support services available to businesses (e.g.Greening Your BusinessCircular Economy Business Support Service and Food and Drink Waste Reduction Business Support enabling the business to pilot concepts or embed knowledge with the support of academia.

If you are a business with a Net Zero challenge and don’t already have an academic partner, Interface can provide a free, impartial connection into relevant academic experts. Please fill in the Project Brief Form. The earlier you submit a form the better as it takes time to go through the enquiry process to identify and introduce to an academic. Therefore, there is a deadline for Project Brief Form submissions of 17th November.

If you have already identified an academic partner or are the academic partner, please jointly fill in the Application Form Net Zero FundSubmission deadline is 5pm on the 17th December.


The competitive challenge fund is open to businesses of any size working in or supporting the Scottish Food and Drink sector and its supply chains. 

The Scottish Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund will work on the same principles as the Scottish Funding Council’s Innovation Voucher programme . Key differentials are as follows:

  • Companies who have previously collaborated with academia or have an existing relationship will still be eligible for consideration.
  • Multi partner applications will be considered if there is a defined lead business and lead academic partner.
  • An independent panel of experts will assess and approve applications.

For any questions on eligibility or any other queries please contact:

Eligible Costs 

Funding awards up to £10,000 in value, which will cover University, Research Institute or College project costs (e.g. time, facilities and consumables) in order to carry out the project and disseminate the project findings to the company and wider industry (if appropriate). Companies will need to contribute an equal value in kind i.e. staff time, materials, equipment and data supplied or collated. The award will be paid directly to the University, Research Institute or College.

Terms and Conditions:

  • The programme is a competitive call and closes at 5pm, 17th December 2021.
  • Applications should be submitted by the lead Scottish academic institution (University, Research Institute or College) on behalf of the industry/business partners.
  • Please note that funding is offered on only the net cost of projects. VAT recovery is not an eligible item to claim against the grant. Please ensure any VAT implications have been fully discussed by the Company and the Academic Organisation prior to the submission of the form.
  • Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application in the week commencing 17th January 2022.
  • Subsidy Control Act – The Grant is awarded as an exempted subsidy under Article 364(4) of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. There is a ceiling of £315,000 Special Drawing Rights for subsidies provided to any one economic actor under this Article over a 3-year period. Any Article 364(4) subsidies (or similar aid, including “de minimis” aid granted prior to 31 December 2020 under Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013) awarded to the Grantee will be relevant if the Grantee wishes to apply, or has applied, for any Article 364(4) subsidies. 
  • Applicants should not start works or confirm any spend until they have received confirmation of the grant award.
  • Successful applicants agree to have their business name and value of grant awarded published on Scotland Food and Drink and Interface websites.
  • The funding will be paid to the University, Research Institute or College upon receipt of a final report. Further details will be given at time of award.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted by Scotland Food & Drink or Interface to discuss outcomes emerging from projects and to developing case studies (commercial sensitivities will be taken into consideration)
  • Scotland Food & Drink and Interface may share information about projects with other appropriate organisations in the interests of developing and promoting The Scottish Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund.
  • Scotland Food & Drink is subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and as such may be requested to disclose information regarding the The Scottish Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund. Project participants will be consulted before any decision to disclose information is taken. However, any refusal to disclose may be appealed to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Find out more here.