The Good Food Institute launches global $3-M competitive research grant program

The Good Food Institute launches a $3-million competitive research grant program to encourage universities and others to pursue plant-based and clean meat research. This money will be awarded to projects led by scientists from around the world and from any sector to advance knowledge within the fields of plant-based and clean meat.

Plant-based and clean meat has become quite the attraction in Silicon Valley, enticing investments from the biggest names in tech and venture capital, from Bill Gates and Sergey Brin to DFJ, Kleiner Perkins, and Google Ventures. Even global meat giants Tyson, Cargill, and Maple Leaf have backed plant-based and clean meat startups.

Despite its potential to revolutionize the food system and allow researchers to solve some of the world’s biggest problems – from climate change to antibiotic resistance – the Good Food Institute (GFI) estimates that less than 0.3 percent of the world’s universities are currently engaged in plant-based meat (PBM) or clean meat (CM) research.

To jump-start this research, the Good Food Institute (GFI) has identified the universities with the greatest potential to advance the important fields of plant-based and clean meat. These 24 global universities have been identified for their relevant technical expertise, research capabilities, and private-sector partnerships. They are (in alphabetical order):

 

Top 12 Global Universities for PBM Top 12 Global Universities for CM
Cornell University (US) Harvard University (US)
McGill University (Canada) KU Leuven (Belgium)
Peking University (China) Kyoto University (Japan)
Pennsylvania State University (US) Lund University (Sweden)
Technical University of Munich (Germany) National University of Singapore (Singapore)
Texas A&M (US) Purdue University (US)
University of California, Davis (US) Seoul National University (South Korea)
University of Minnesota (US) Technion Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln (US) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US)
University of Queensland (Australia) University of Leeds (UK)
University of Tokyo (Japan) University of Melbourne (Australia)
Wageningen University & Research (Netherlands) University of Wisconsin-Madison (US)

 

“While most of these schools are not yet working in these fields, their potential to become leaders in plant-based and clean meat research is impressive,” notes GFI Scientific Foundations liaison Dr. Erin Rees Clayton. “We would be thrilled to work with them to realize their potential to do cutting-edge science that will ultimately improve global health, food security, and environmental stewardship.”

There have already been examples of universities having a major impact in the space. USDA-funded research at the University of Missouri was key for the plant-based meat company Beyond Meat. Dr. Mark Post’s research at Maastricht University led to the first clean meat burger in 2013, followed by the formation of the clean meat company Mosa Meats.

“There are so many interesting scientific questions to answer,” says Dr. David Welch, GFI’s director of Science and Technology. “What are the best cell types and cell culture methods for clean meat production? Which crops produce the best plant-based meats and are best suited for growth in each region of the world? It’s a curious mind’s dream.”

Uma Valeti, MD, co-founder of clean meat company Memphis Meats, made the move from medicine to meat to maximize his impact. “If I continued as a cardiologist, I might save maybe a few thousand lives over the next thirty years. But if I am successful in helping to change the way meat is made, I could positively impact billions of human lives and trillions of animal lives.”

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