Food advocacy group Good Food Institute (GFI) launched this week its $3 million competitive research grant program for projects that focus on research in the plant-based food or clean-meat (made from animal cells in a laboratory setting) industries. GFI identified that less than 0.3 percent of scientists are currently engaged in advancing plant-based and clean-meat research, and launched its competitive grant to inspire researchers at top universities, such as Harvard and Cornell, to develop solutions that could create a positive global impact. “There are so many interesting scientific questions to answer,” GFI Director of Science and Technology David Welch, Ph.D, said. “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.” University-level research was a vital component to creating products such as the plant-based Beyond Burger and the world’s first clean-meat patty—which Mark Post, Professor of Vascular Physiology at Maastricht University, debuted in 2013. Uma Valeti, MD, CEO of clean-meat company Memphis Meats and a former cardiologist, supports GFI’s initiative as a vital step toward transforming the global food system. “If I continued as a cardiologist, I might save maybe a few thousand lives over the next 30 years,” Valeti said. “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.” GFI is accepting project proposals until November 21 and will announce grant winners in January.
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