Thorvald in broccoli field

Barclays launches Eagle Lab Farm to boost future of UK agriculture

20 October 2020
  • The new Lab, in association with the University of Lincoln (UK), will support entrepreneurs with the latest technology and includes a co-working and business space dedicated to furthering innovation in Agricultural Technology (Agri-tech)
  • Lab follows recent announcement of Barclays’ £250 million in financial support to help farming businesses become carbon net-zero through Agri-Tech solutions 
  • Eagle Lab Farm launches in partnership with The University of Lincoln’s Institute for Agri-food Technology and Agri-robotics research centre.

Barclays is launching a new Eagle Lab Farm at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme Agri-tech research campus.

Opening today, the Lab and the surrounding farm offers entrepreneurs and researchers access to Lincoln’s cutting-edge Agri-tech resources - to support farmers as they tackle ongoing challenges and help rural farming communities become leaders in applying technology to agriculture. Barclays’ partnership with the University of Lincoln will support the UK farming sector to innovate, grow and thrive and become the most digitally enabled farming industry in the world.

It will be the 25th Lab in Barclays’ Eagle Lab network of co-working spaces for start-ups and scale-ups around the country, the largest network of its kind in the United Kingdom.

The resources on offer at the Eagle Lab Farm include a dedicated robotics lab, a demonstration packhouse and a model refrigerated supermarket aisle available for the entrepreneurs and researchers. The Riseholme research campus also features traditional test and growing areas, including soft fruit and crop growing facilities, beef cattle and sheep herds, a walled garden and commercial polytunnel growth spaces.

Mark Suthern National Head of Agriculture said: “Our vision is to help UK agriculture to become the most digitally-savvy farming sector in the world. The Eagle Lab Farm is one of the many ways we’re helping the food supply chain reach this goal. We hope this space will provide start-ups with the opportunity to develop new and exciting technologies, accelerating their business and leading the UK in a new era of farming.”

A long-standing supporter of agriculture, Barclays has over 275 years’ experience in the sector. Alongside providing access to the lab, Barclays will also support entrepreneurs with an on-site Ecosystem Manager, access to banking services, business expertise, mentoring and coaching from scale-up specialists, as well as a full year-round events programme dedicated to promoting technology and innovation in the farming community.

Professor Andrew Hunter, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at The University of Lincoln, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Barclays on the Eagle Lab Farm and to offer the next generation of Agri-tech developers the chance to use our facilities. The farming industry is currently facing a number of challenges, so we hope that this residency will provide some solutions to the issues and aid in the recovery of our sector.”

Defra Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: “I welcome this partnership between Barclays and the University of Lincoln. Agri-tech can help us address the biggest challenges facing the farming industry and will play a vital role as we take back control of our agricultural policy as we leave the EU.

“Our future farming policy will benefit a range of public goods, such as environmental improvements, but investment in R&D and technology will also encourage more innovation and improve productivity – ensuring farmers can continue to produce the high-quality food we’re renowned for.”

For more details on Eagle Labs, visit https://labs.uk.barclays/

For more details on the University of Lincoln Riseholme Campus, visit: https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/liat/


Notes to Editors

About Barclays
Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group.

About Eagle Labs
A platform to connect the UK’s entrepreneurial community
Eagle Labs are a growing national network of incubator spaces that provide business incubation, mentoring and co-working space for ambitious high-growth businesses as well as digital skills development and rapid prototyping through onsite digital fabrication equipment and Industry 4.0 expertise at many of our sites.

By cultivating a community of likeminded entrepreneurs through a providing a collaborative work environment, access to their peers and opportunities to maximise growth through digital connections, curated events and funding opportunities, Eagle Labs are able to help start-ups to grow at pace.

Eagle Labs also specialises in positively disrupting key industries by bringing together key corporate players, industry bodies, leading universities and start-ups to enable rapid innovation and investment by asking them to collaborate and currently have dedicated Law-tech, Health-tech and Agri-tech industry-aligned programmes.

With 26 Eagle Labs across the country and more in the pipeline, our focus is to help to connect, educate and accelerate ambitious UK businesses and entrepreneurs.

Disclaimer: Barclays Eagle Labs comply with government guidelines and social distancing. Labs sites started reopening from 17th August as per local restrictions and guidelines. All attendees at Eagle Labs must comply with the Barclays Labs Social Distancing requirements and safety procedures.

About the University of Lincoln:
The University of Lincoln was awarded Gold – the highest standard possible - in the national Teaching Excellence Framework, an independent assessment of teaching quality in UK higher education. The award reflects our exciting teaching, great support for students and excellent employment outcomes. Lincoln was named the Modern University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. The institution is known for a pioneering approach to working with employers, which has been recognised with a Lord Stafford Award and Times Higher Education Award. More than half of our research is judged to be internationally excellent or world leading (Research Excellence Framework).

About Lincoln University – Riseholme Campus
University of Lincoln, Riseholme Campus is an active Agri-food Technology and Agri-robotics research centre; building on core technologies in AI, Digital technology, Sensing systems, IoT plus applied robotics, industrial scale growing, computer and plant sciences. We are also home to a working farm; with sheep, cattle and fruit and crop test bed growing facilities. Our research targets the development of innovative practices in food production, agricultural technology, robotics and harvesting. We welcome the opportunity to work with businesses large and small, to make innovation happen.