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Mapping the potential for UK universities to become research and teaching hubs for cellular agriculture

Catford, England
Biology
DOI: 10.18258/24206
Grant: Cellular Agriculture
$4,000
Raised of $4,000 Goal
100%
Funded on 5/05/22
Successfully Funded
  • $4,000
    pledged
  • 100%
    funded
  • Funded
    on 5/05/22

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.

UK universities could become teaching/research hubs that accelerate development of cell ag, as is happening at Bath University, Technion Institute, Maastricht University and UC Davies.

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.


Budget

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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.

Endorsed by

Whether it be for a company or non-profit, student or established researcher, it is vital that an open source resource exists for those in the cellular agriculture industry to source expertise. This mapping project for the UK, an important global cellular agriculture industry hub, could also be a catalyst for speeding up professional training, cross-industry collaborations, patent creation, and advancing the rate of company spin-offs stemming from university research.
GFI Europe is very excited to see this initiative from Cellular Agriculture UK. Education and training in relevant technical areas is one of the biggest bottlenecks limiting the talent pipeline (and therefore success) of the cultivated meat industry, and we believe that UK universities have real potential to become global leaders in the space.

Flag iconProject Timeline

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

Project Launched

Apr 29, 2022

Criteria development

Nov 30, 2022

Data gathering and initial mapping

Jan 18, 2023

Final report

Meet the Team

Jane Darling
Jane Darling

Team Bio

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.

Jane Darling

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.

Lab Notes

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Project Backers

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  • 100%Funded
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