USDA hands out funding for National Institute for Cellular Agriculture
It’s hoped the funding will help elevate the US to a position of leadership within the cultured protein sector, which is seen a key solution to reducing the climate impact of the food industry.
Tufts will be home to the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture
The US Department of Agriculture will award Tufts University $10 million over five years to establish the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture: a flagship American cultivated protein research centre of excellence.
USDA awarded the grant as a part of a $146 million investment in sustainable agricultural research projects announced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on 6 October. This investment is being made by USDA-NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems program — the nation’s largest competitive grants program for agricultural sciences.
Tufts University Professor David Kaplan, a cultivated meat expert, will lead the initiative and will be joined by investigators from Virginia Tech, Virginia State, University of California-Davis, MIT, and University of Massachusetts-Boston. The new institute will “develop outreach, extension, and education for the next generation of professionals” in cellular agriculture and lead research that will help to expand the menu of climate-friendly protein options and improve food system resilience.
“USDA’s historic funding for a National Institute for Cellular Agriculture is an important advancement for cultivated meat research and science. I am pleased that USDA’s leadership continues to recognise the important role these technologies can play in combating climate change and adding much needed resiliency to our food system,” said Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
Cultivated meat production is emerging as a feasible solution to help address the growing global demand for meat. By developing sustainable agri-food systems to meet this growing demand, the Good Food Institute says this investment in cultivated meat will support critical research necessary to rapidly scale cultivated meat production, expand menu options, and contribute to a robust, resilient, climate-smart food and agricultural system.
“This is a major step forward in our work to tackle climate change, infuse resiliency into our food systems, and build a stronger, more sustainable future. I am thrilled that this historic grant will be housed in the 5th District at Tufts University, a true leader in cultivated meat research, and am eager to see this transformative research brought to life,” said Rep. Katherine Clark, whose district includes the Tufts School of Engineering, where this research will primarily take place.
GFI Associate Director of Policy Mike Ryan expressed his thanks to the USDA for the funding: “We’re grateful to USDA leaders, Chair DeLauro, Rep. Clark, and Professor David Kaplan for the work they’ve done to get to this moment. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to grow this programme in future years and to support both the workforce development and basic research goals needed to grow this emerging agricultural sector.”