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Derby vertical farming startup gets £500K funding to develop ‘all in one’ sensor

Light Science Technologies

Derby-based Light Science Technologies delivers lighting, science and research-proven plant monitoring technology and software in partnership with world-leading university research teams. It delivers the right solution across multiple indoor applications such as vertical farming, medicinal plants and greenhouses. Its full turnkey solution for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) applications for next-generation scalable farming helps customers grow more with less.

Investment to boost agricultural productivity

Light Science Technologies just secured part of the £90M government investment to support the most innovative technology to boost agricultural productivity and set food production systems towards net zero emissions by 2040.

Furthermore, it is one of the 23 feasibility projects that has been awarded £250,000 from £4.3M funding that is meant for Science and Technology into Practice feasibility competition, a as part of UKRI’s £90 million Transforming Food Production (TFP) programme. Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. Notably, Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation.

Simon Deacon, CEO of Light Science Technologies added: “This is an especially important boost to our business. To be selected by Innovate UK is confirmation of the urgent need for more sustainable, productive and cost-effective solutions in farming. Investment in UK technology and innovation in this sector is crucial in achieving a better approach to agricultural production and reducing emissions.”

Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “There are many innovative projects in our latest feasibility competition showcasing ideas for improving productivity and cutting emissions that range across the whole agricultural sector, from arable, to livestock, to sensor technology and to new biopesticides. Our funding and support for these projects is ongoing.”

Groundbreaking sensor technology

Along with partnership with Nottingham Trent University, the company will lead the project to develop a growing sensor and innovative transmission node for vertical farms over the next six months, which is in synergy with their light and science offering.

The IoT precision data solution for vertical farming will help in boosting 0roductivity and efficiency, thereby reflecting the government’s drive to help the agricultural sector grow economically with less environmental impact.

Light Science Technologies’ ‘all in one’ indoor farm sensor will let farms to monitor and control their environment by measuring key areas such as light, water, air, temperature, humidity, oxygen and soil, thereby ensuring optimal plant productivity and yield. Also, this sensor will form a vital part of its bespoke offering, reducing energy and saving costs using technology and real-time data.

Demand for CEA market!

Of late, there is a growing demand for the the Controlled Environment Agricultural (CEA) market, which is growing fast at a CAGR of 21%. The demand is mainly from AgTech CEA farmers looking to install or replace existing indoor farms to achieve maximum yield on crops for optimum profitability. However, the high startup costs attract investment from stakeholders eyeiny the potentially significant ROI opportunity.

Light Science Technologies provides custom-made solution for the CEA market, and works with growers to provide an integrated, cost effective and low maintenance solution that can be used across different crops to achieve maximum yield. Eventually, it creates the full growing recipe of lighting, nutrients and environment.

Notably, Light Science Technologies is focused on becoming a technology-driven trailblazer in vertical farming innovation and technology over the next four years as it eyes to shape up the future of the CEA market.