Food advocacy group Good Food Institute (GFI) recently announced the recipients of its $3 million competitive research grant program for projects that focus on research in plant-based and cell-based meat (made from animal cells in a laboratory setting). The first researchers to be awarded the grant include teams from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley in the United States; the University of Oslo in Norway; the Technion in Israel; the Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies in Estonia; and the University of Guelph in Canada. The teams will split the $3 million among 14 projects: six working to develop cell-based meat and eight focusing on plant-based proteins. Each team will receive up to $250,000 over two years. “GFI is super-enthusiastic about plant-based and cell-based meat companies,” GFI Executive Director Bruce Friedrich said. “Through the open-access injection provided by GFI’s competitive grants program, we are working to create a base of science that all current and future companies can build on.” While the cell-based meat sector has a growing commercial interest from private investors, scientific and engineering expertise is still needed to bring it to the masses. Challenges include developing better cell lines and nutrients to feed those cells, along with scaffolding materials to help shape cultured cells into tissue, and bioreactor platforms for large-scale meat production.
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