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The Milk Round accelerator

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The dairy industry needs you!

The dairy industry has a number of challenges from farming through to dairy manufacturing – i.e., from grass to glass.

If you have an idea for a product, process or service to digitally improve dairy challenges, whether it’s for production, transport or manufacturing, we may be able to fast-track your idea.

You might be an entrepreneurial dairy farmer, an SME business in the wider dairy supply chain; or perhaps you are not part of the dairy world at all but have an idea for a transferrable innovation.

If you are selected, we will provide expertise and engineering support to help you create a product you can test and trial.

The Milk Round accelerator is hosted by CENSIS and will run annually until 2026 to assist individuals and SMEs to fast-track innovative technologies from proof of concept to demonstration and testing

Accelerator winners receive a tailored support package to deliver products, processes or services to help the consortium partners build their digital capability and meet net zero targets.

If you think the Milk Round Accelerator might be helpful, why not complete our Expression of Interest form and tell us a bit about your idea and we’ll follow up with you to have a chat.

To apply, you must be am SME business or an individual and based in an eligible postcode area within south-west Scotland or Cumbria.

The Milk Round is part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strength in Places-funded Digital Dairy Chain project.

What kind of idea would be suitable?

  • Doing things differently

    Innovation is doing things differently and the Milk Round focuses on digital tools and devices that:

    • help make easier the way something is made or applied
    • improve how something is measured
    • improve how something is monitored

    in a more efficient way that delivers a clear benefit to the user and therefore would offer a compelling argument for its adoption.

  • Mixing manual and digital processes

    You may have a mix of manual and digital processes that, if could be integrated into a single system, would be much easier to track and manage, or that might be more energy efficient

  • Monitoring and measuring

    You may not have any way to monitor or measure something, but have an idea of how it could be done. We can bring the technical know how to explore it.

  • New product development

    You may be developing a new tool, device, equipment or system that you need to build digital capability into (sensing, connectivity, automation)

  • Prototype building

    The Milk Round will help you to build a prototype device you can test, trial and demonstrate in the appropriate operational environment you need to help you get to market

The Milk Round support package

The CENSIS Milk Round accelerator support package includes

  • Up to 15 days of dedicated hands-on technical and engineering resource (valued at £10k incl. VAT) *
  • Mentorship in all aspects of connected systems
  • Carbon emissions impact estimate
  • Access to user insights and requirements, specialist research facilities and expertise
  • Introductions to partners to support you and grow your company
  • Opportunity to pilot, trial and showcase your innovation with SIP partners
  • Follow on investment advice to commercialise your product or service
  • A budget of up to £10K* (incl. VAT) to procure components and/or access third party design services and products

* Terms and conditions will apply

The application process

The Milk Round Accelerator runs between January and July each year but you can apply  all year round. Once you register your interest (just a short online form), we will contact you to hear more about your ideas.

We’ll discuss which stage you’re at, and what you think you might need to move your idea further.

If there is a feasible technical route for your idea, we will accept you on the next available accelerator block.

If your idea is not quite the right fit for the Milk Round, we’ll introduce you to our wider network of innovation and business support network.

The Digital Dairy Chain

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strength in Places-funded Digital Dairy Chain project will create over 600 new jobs in south-west Scotland and Cumbria, and add £60 million to the annual output of the local economy. In doing so, the project will renew and decarbonise the area’s dairy industry, which every year produces 1.9 billion litres of milk.

The Digital Dairy Chain is led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) with consortium partners that includes CENSIS, the dairy industry, SmartSTEMs and academia.