This challenge is designed to support cellular agriculture research, in and out of the lab.
By allocating funding to exploratory, open access projects we aim to create deeper understanding and greater public knowledge of cellular agriculture and the impact it may have on our world.
What is cellular agriculture?
Cellular agriculture is the production of agricultural products such as meat, milk, and eggs from cell cultures rather than whole animals. See here for a Cell Ag 101 explainer.
Using several biotechnologies - such as synthetic biology, tissue engineering, and industrial fermentation - the concept has gained traction in recent years as a means for us to continue culinary traditions while escaping the many negative impacts of animal agriculture.
Why this challenge now?
Over the past decade, cellular agriculture has grown from science fiction to over $1B invested in over 100 companies around the world dedicated to growing meat, milk, and eggs from cell cultures. Despite private sector enthusiasm, public research remains severely underfunded, receiving less than one percent of all funding in cellular agriculture. Public research is not just important for advancing cellular agriculture technology - it is key to understanding its impact on the environment, public health, policy, and society.
What is the cellular agriculture challenge?
Thanks to the support of the Footprint Coalition, we have $50,000 to contribute to cellular agriculture projects here on Experiment — a small and fast grant program to get new ideas off the ground quickly.
We will back eligible projects up to 50% of the project cost (up to $5,000/project), with the rest of the budget raised through crowdfunding. Check out the Researcher Guide for tips on crowdfunding such as how to find an audience, use your networks, and more. Projects are only funded if they reach their funding goal, so choose your budget carefully!
In addition, funded projects will be welcomed into the broader New Harvest research community, to provide additional support to accomplish your work.
What kind of projects are we looking for?
We are looking for projects that take place in or out of the lab. In fact, we are especially interested in projects exploring the social, economic, and political dimensions of cellular agriculture. For example...what policy interventions can ensure the land hypothetically freed up by cellular agriculture is used for carbon capture?
To answer these important questions, we are looking for people from all disciplinary backgrounds: tissue engineering, food policy, environmental science, etc. We will prioritize researchers and projects from underrepresented backgrounds and topics. Above all, we want to help transformative projects get off the ground. So hit us with your wildest, most radical ideas! Scroll to the bottom of this page for full eligibility requirements.
All funded projects must contribute to the public body of knowledge and therefore must remain openly accessible.