‘Stimulating Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector’ (or SIAFS for short), aims to help food & drink SMEs in North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the East Riding, who aspire to develop and grow their businesses. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the project combines Science City York’s (part of Make It York) business expertise with Fera’s research and facilities.

The project offers free access to our diagnostic tool, business workshops, masterclasses and networking events. Eligible businesses can also apply for the SIAFS voucher scheme, to receive specific help through accessing Fera’s facilities and specialist equipment.

Diagnostic Tool

There are two elements to the diagnostic tool which is designed to assess both personal innovation skills and company innovation skills. The diagnostic will help determine where and how the SIAFS project can help each business.

The diagnostic takes the user through a series of questions about their personal characteristics and competencies as well as about the business they work for. The diagnostic produces a personal report and a business report. This shows the user where their strengths and weaknesses in innovation lie and where they can improve.

The SIAFS team receive a copy of the report and will allocate each business to a suitable business development manager (from Fera) who will create an action plan which will recommend where SIAFS can assist.

Workshops and Masterclasses

Once a user has taken the Diagnostic tool, they will be able to book on to Workshops and Masterclasses.

Masterclasses will be on innovation, how to encourage innovation in a company and how innovation can help businesses to develop.

Workshops will be on specific business topics such as marketing and financial planning. We will also run workshops on managing food waste, working with other businesses and on food packaging law.

Masterclasses and workshops will take place on the same day, with an hours lunch break in between to allow for networking.


SIAFS aims to create a network of similar agri-food businesses who may find it beneficial to meet and work together. As part of the project, there will be regular networking opportunities. The project also aims to help businesses to find potential contacts locally and internationally via a network of global partners to encourage supply chain and business growth.

Voucher Scheme

The SIAFS voucher scheme will enable eligible businesses to work with Fera, allowing access to expertise and facilities to help overcome the challenges of bringing novel products and technologies to the market.

Vouchers will be for £2k or £5k. These will be redeemable against services, expertise and facilities at Fera. This may include access to specialised equipment, product testing, expert advice and future funding opportunities.

Businesses will need to apply for the voucher with a proposal detailing their company, plans for the future and what they will use the voucher for. Our business development managers will assist businesses with these applications.

Eligible Businesses

Businesses are eligible for the project if they are an agricultural or food businesses (or somewhere in between) from two LEPs (York, North Yorkshire & East Riding and Leeds City Region) with less than 250 staff.

The project aims to assist 220 businesses, and 80 vouchers are available.

  • Regions: East Riding
  • Telephone 01904 554455
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