About This Project
Realising large scale production of cultured meat will need a workforce with a range of skills in areas where only universities can provide training. Universities could play a key role in developing a cell ag industry; some already do. A mapping exercise will allow a systematic analysis of each UK university’s potential to become a cell ag anchor institution. It will guide students, academics, businesses and policymakers to those with most potential, and so support growth of cell ag in the UK.
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What is the context of this research?
The non-profit organization Cellular Agriculture UK has spoken with cell ag companies in the UK and learnt that a key barrier to a flourishing cell ag industry is a lack of access to a pipeline of skilled students aware of the field and the opportunities it offers.
Cellular agriculture doesn’t feature on the curriculum at any UK university. Students may therefore be missing a major opportunity to become aware of cell ag as a career path, and to develop the relevant skills.
The value of universities as seeding grounds for regional innovation ecosystems is well-established. The nascent stage of cell ag in the UK makes them well placed to supply leadership and connectivity, and so progress the field.
What is the significance of this project?
Cell ag has huge potential to deliver benefits for the environment, human health, animal welfare and more.
Replacing traditional meat and dairy with their cell ag counterparts would result in far fewer greenhouse gases and vastly less land/water use. It would allow huge tracts of land used for animal feed to return to natural ecosystems, boosting biodiversity. We’d need few antibiotics and no factory farms.
Universities are key to support this transformative industry as anchor institutions, supplying skills and research, plus routes to finance and space for developing innovative products and services.
What are the goals of the project?
We aim to answer this key question: which UK universities have most potential to be cell ag anchor institutions? This is important as efforts can then be targeted at these institutions, supporting them to be hubs that accelerate the industry.
We’ll interview key stakeholders, CEOs of start-ups and cell ag academics, to audit which skills the sector needs. We’ll then explore which factors feed into how institutions such as UC Davis have become thriving cell ag hubs.
This research will let us measure the potential of each UK university to become a hub for cell ag, and to create a nationwide map.
The map will help policymakers, academics, students or industry identify universities with the highest potential and enable focussed efforts in regions where there is best chance of success.
The budget is required for personnel time. It will enable an experienced researcher to focus sufficient time to allow for successful completion of the mapping exercise.
Research will be carried out from March to November 2022. By January 2023 we will have a detailed picture of which universities in the UK show the most potential to develop cellular agriculture activity in and around them.
Research will start with the criteria development. These will then be applied to the 164 universities in the UK. A final report will then be compiled.
Mar 22, 2022
Apr 29, 2022
Nov 30, 2022
Data gathering and initial mapping
Jan 18, 2023
Meet the Team
Jane will be supported by the six other members of Cellular Agriculture UK who have diverse backgrounds, and include experts in scientific research, government policy and science communications.
The lead researcher is Jane Darling. Her interest in cell ag started in 2019, and she joined Cellular Agriculture UK in July 2021. Her academic background is in Biology (BSc) and Horticulture (MSc), and she's spent many years as a researcher, writer and editor, starting on medical journals and later for the consumer group, Which? She has also been a science teacher in further education and is currently studying for an MSc in Food Science and Innovation. Alongside this, she works on digital content for the website Protein Report and is editing a textbook on cellular agriculture in partnership with the Cellular Agriculture Society and Elsevier.
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