Project summary

The Digital Dairy Chain offers any business or individual involved in the dairy supply chain across Cumbria, South and West Scotland a range of services to support innovation and productivity through collaboration.  

It is a five-year, UK Research & Innovation funded project with a budget of £21 million to transform the dairy sector in the region and uplift the rural economy, via grant funding and sustainable solutions.

The project is focused on aligning industry needs including developing digital connectivity, stimulating research and new product development, supporting business growth and attracting talent and skills, across the region.

It aims to put the region on the world map as a leader in advanced, sustainable, and digitally connected dairy manufacturing by offering farmers, processors, producers, and anyone else involved in the dairy supply chain a hub of support, funding, and business development opportunities as well as access to ground-breaking research, innovative technology, and industry expertise.

Project funding and partners

The Digital Dairy Chain is funded through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) flagship ‘Strength in Places’ programme. A sum of £21 million was awarded to the project’s 10 grant-drawing partners.

  • SRUC (Project lead)
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • First Milk Ltd
  • Lactalis McLelland Ltd
  • Kendal Nutricare Ltd
  • Cows and Co Group Ltd
  • National Milk Records Plc
  • SmartSTEMs

UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The ‘Strength in Places’ Fund (SIPF) is a UKRI programme that helps areas of the UK to build on existing strengths in research and innovation to deliver benefits for their local economy. It aims to: support innovation-led regional growth; enhance local collaborations involving research and innovation.


Over a 5-year period, the project aims to:

  • Develop Digital Connectivity - Utilising advanced technology & research to add value and connect the sector in the region.

  • Stimulate Research & Development - Provide the infrastructure and expertise to enable collaborative R&D projects.

  • Facilitate Business Growth - For early ventures, scale-up businesses, and established companies to undertake New Product Development and process improvement.

  • Attract Talent & Skills - Showcase the industry and create opportunities for new talent to discover the range of roles within modern dairying.

Project Initiatives Summaries

Digital Dairy Chain will deliver its ambitious objectives through eight overlapping project initiatives:

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