Meet the scientists leading open-access alternative protein research.
Get the latest on discoveries from their labs.
Find funding opportunities for your own research.


Meet the scientists leading open-access alternative protein research.
Get the latest on discoveries from their labs.
Find funding opportunities for your own research.
Stay in the know!

From the Director of Science and Technology

Dr. David Welch

Protecting our environment, feeding the world, and revitalizing economies require a healthy, sustainable, and just food system. A strong open-access research environment and talent pipeline are essential to fostering good food innovation.

The Good Food Institute and our science and technology team collaborate with external experts from a variety of disciplines in both academia and industry to identify critical white space research gaps and market opportunities for alternative proteins. Thanks to gifts from visionary donors, we fund research addressing these white spaces through GFI’s grant programs.

This philanthropy-driven research answers fundamental questions that can spin off entire industries, inspiring additional research and creating new opportunities to feed the world.

To that end, we also work to mobilize government research funding for public alternative protein R&D. Finally, we connect students, researchers, and entrepreneurs from around the world with white space ideas and funding opportunities so they can solve the most pivotal technological bottlenecks facing the alternative protein space.

By empowering high-quality research that will produce open-access data designed to benefit the plant-based and cultivated meat industries, we are helping build the scientific foundation of a healthy, sustainable, and just global food system.

— Dr. David Welch, Director of Science and Technology
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Research funding opportunities

Since its inception in 2018, GFI’s research grant program has awarded more than $7 million to projects around the world. Funded entirely by generous donors, these research initiatives span the alternative protein field: from crop breeding and product formulation for plant-based meat to cell line development and bioprocess scaleup for cultivated meat.

Despite exciting advancements in plant-based and cultivated meat, the ultimate success of the alternative protein industry depends heavily on continued research and technological development. GFI’s Advancing Solutions for Alternative Proteins initiative identifies the highest priority “white spaces” —unanswered questions and unmet technological needs—for plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-derived proteins.

We invite scientists to apply for research funding to accelerate the science of alternative proteins through any of the opportunities listed below. We offer research funding through three mechanisms, and we maintain a database of non-GFI funding opportunities.

White Space Collaborations

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Partnerships are critical to filling unmet technological needs in the alternative protein industry. This funding is for targeted research that tackles the ideas outlined in the white space concept notes identified by the Advancing Solutions for Alternative Proteins (ASAP) Initiative.

These projects typically do not exceed 12 months and $100,000. Our current RFP is open until October 20, 2020.


Exploratory Grants

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Innovation cannot wait. We provide short-term, limited funding to turn pioneering ideas into research discoveries. This funding is for experimental ideas and exploratory work that could lead to big breakthroughs.

These projects typically do not exceed 6 months and $50,000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.


Annual Competitive Research
Grant Program

Opening early 2021
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Once a year, we release a request for proposals for large-scale, open-access research that addresses the organoleptic properties, cost, or scaleup of alternative proteins.

These projects typically do not exceed 24 months and $250,000.

*We are not currently accepting applications for our Competitive Research Grant Program. Check back for the next RFP in early 2021 or sign up here to stay in the know!




Search for non-GFI funding

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Explore our database of research funding opportunities screened for relevance to alternative proteins. This database is actively maintained to provide relevant grant funding opportunities for alternative protein researchers around the world.

Search the GFI Research Funding Database

Submit a new funding opportunity

Not sure if your research would qualify for GFI funding? Check out our FAQs and reach out to with any further questions.


Cultivated Meat Research Projects

Cell Lines: The Frozen Farmyard Repository, University of Oslo

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Dr. Gareth Sullivan, Group Leader, Norwegian Stem Cell Centre, University of Oslo, Norway

Clean meat cell line repository: The Frozen Farmyard

Technology areas addressed: cell line development, cell culture

Project Aims
  • Creates the Frozen Farmyard—a cell line repository for agriculturally relevant animals.
  • Generates standard cellular materials for use by cultivated meat researchers.
  • Develops a kit that will enable veterinarians, farmers, and others to send biopsies to labs.
Potential Impact
  • Increases accessibility of the cultivated meat space for interested new groups.
  • Reduces duplication of effort in the synthesis of viable cell lines.
  • Decreases variability from lab to lab and experiment to experiment.
Dr. Sullivan’s Expertise
  • Investigates factors that dictate the cellular fate of induced pluripotent stem cells.
  • Develops liver models using human pluripotent stem cells for a patient-specific approach to metabolic disease.
  • Provides tools for investigating toxicology and reducing drug failure rates.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Cell Lines: Seafood Cell Lines, Mote Marine Laboratory

Cultivated Seafood Research: Developing Cell Lines
Cultivated Seafood Research: Developing Cell Lines

Dr. Kevan Main, Senior Scientist & Program Manager and Dr. Cathy Walsh, Associate Vice President for Research, Senior Scientist, and Program Manager, Mote Marine Laboratory, USA

Producing clean seafood: Identifying species, developing methodology, and creating a cell line repository for optimal marine species

Technology areas addressed: seafood cell line development, seafood cell culture

Project Aims
  • Develops cell lines from redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus) and whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei).
  • Characterizes cells’ proliferative properties and differentiation potential.
  • Develops media formulations that allow for proliferation of the developed cell lines, ideally without serum.
  • Develops methods for inducing myogenesis in the created cell lines.
  • Selects optimal species for future cell line development.
Potential Impact
  • Lowers barrier to entry for others by eliminating the need to develop their own cell lines.
  • Furthers understanding of generating and working with cell lines from aquatic animals.
Dr. Main’s Expertise
  • Leads Mote Marine’s aquaculture programs (has since 2001).
  • Holds extensive experience in developing sustainable aquaculture methods for multiple species.
Dr. Walsh's Expertise
  • Possesses expertise in marine cell culture and immunology.
  • Serves as Mote Marine’s quality assurance officer (has since 2000).
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

GFI's Sustainable Seafood Initiative web page

Cell Lines: Making Muscle Cells, ETH Zurich

Cultivated Beef & Pork Research: Cell Line Development
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Dr. Ori Bar-Nur, Assistant Professor, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Direct lineage conversion of bovine and porcine fibroblasts into proliferative myogenic progenitor cells

Technology areas addressed: cell lines

Project Aims
  • Directly converts fibroblasts into induced myogenic progenitor cells as an alternative to conventional methods of growing muscle progenitors (i.e., myoblasts).
  • Assesses the capacity of the induced myogenic progenitors to generate muscle fibers by small molecules and serum withdrawal.
Potential Impact
  • Devises new methods of producing animal muscle cell lines.
  • Reduces costs of cultivated meat production via long-term propagation of cell lines.
Dr. Bar-Nur’s Expertise
  • Generates muscle stem and muscle progenitor cells through direct lineage conversion of somatic cells.
  • Holds extensive experience in investigating myogenic stem cells for muscle regeneration.
  • Explores capacity to expand and characterize myogenic cultures molecularly and functionally.

Cell lines: Myosatellite Lines from Atlantic Salmon, Tufts University

Kyle Fish, Andrew Stout, Natalie Rubio, and John Yuen, Graduate Students, The Kaplan Lab, Tufts University

Development of Myosatellite Lines from Atlantic Salmon

Technology areas addressed: cell lines

Project Aims
  • Development of protocols for isolating myosatellite cells from salmon, and establishment of continuous lines.
  • Adaptation to serum-free media.
  • Testing of strategies to engineer cells for higher proliferation rates.
Potential Impact
  • Availability of cell lines for other researchers will remove a bottleneck from other projects on cultivated seafood.
  • Data and protocols from this project will inform future projects aimed at isolating and culturing cells from other fish species.
Project Team's Expertise
  • Kyle Fish's expertise includes tissue engineering, cell and molecular biology, genetics, and public health.
  • David Kaplan is a leader in biomaterials and tissue engineering, and his lab pursues diverse applications of these technologies including cellular agriculture.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Cell Culture Media: Engineering Growth Factors, University of Toronto

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Dr. Peter Stogios, Senior Research Associate, University of Toronto, Canada

Addressing a major cost driver in the commercialization of clean meat—discovery and engineering of synthetic growth factors

Technology areas addressed: media optimization, scaleup

Project Aims
  • Identifies growth factors needed for cultivated meat production that can be inexpensively purified.
  • Characterizes growth factors to identify those with improved properties.
  • Engineers synthetic growth factors to further improve performance.
Potential Impact
  • Designs growth factors that are more stable and less expensive than existing growth factors.
  • Enables large-scale cultivated meat production at significantly lower cost.
Dr. Stogios’s Expertise
  • Is a trained structural biologist and biochemist.
  • Manages a protein structure-function and engineering lab that studies major issues in biology and public health.
  • Uses bioinformatics, structural biology, and protein engineering to discover and improve growth factors for use in cultivated meat production.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Cell Culture Media: Optimizing Media for Chicken Cells, University of California, Davis

Cultivated Chicken Research: Optimizing Cell Culture Media
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Prof. David Block, Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology and Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis, USA

Application of optimization tools to achieve low-cost cultivated meat production

Technology areas addressed: cell culture media, cell lines, edible microcarriers

Project Aims
  • Develops novel advanced experimental optimization techniques to find low-cost, effective growth media and applies these techniques to chicken muscle cell cultures.
  • Devises a process for growing high-protein non-differentiated and differentiated chicken muscle cells in suspension or on edible scaffold microcarriers.
  • Devises a process for production of gelatin through plant cell culture for use as muscle cell scaffolding.
Potential Impact
  • Reduces cost of cultivated meat production via novel media optimization techniques.
  • Creates novel, efficient experimental optimization algorithms for general media and process optimization.
Prof. Block’s Expertise
  • Holds extensive experience in fermentation process optimization and development of experimental optimization methods.
  • Designs biopharmaceutical manufacturing and food fermentation facilities.

Cell Culture Media: Formulating Media with Macromolecular Crowding, Newcastle University

Cultivated Meat Research: Formulating Cell Culture Media with Macromolecular Crowding
Cultivated Meat Research: Formulating Cell Culture Media with Macromolecular Crowding
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Prof. Che Connon, Professor of Tissue Engineering, Newcastle University, UK

Dr. Ricardo Gouveia, Research Fellow, Newcastle University, UK

Crowding the field: Using macromolecular crowding to enhance meat cultivation

Technology areas addressed: cell culture media

Project Aims
  • Explores the potential of macromolecular crowding (MMC) to promote myoblast and fat cell proliferation and enhance the production yield and quality of cultivated meat.
  • Designs new high-throughput platforms to test the impact of different media formulations on muscle cell proliferation and differentiation.
  • Custom designs new serum-free, MMC-supplemented media formulations for improved muscle cell proliferation and tissue formation.
Potential Impact
  • Increases cell density and yield of cultivated meat production.
  • Reduces media costs and need for growth factors in cultivated meat production.
Prof. Connon’s and Dr. Gouveia’s Expertise
  • Culture cells toward self-organizing 3-D functional systems.
  • Possess strong track record of academic publications and commercialization via three unique biotech startups.
  • Develop high-throughput bioprocess techniques.

Cell Culture Media: Machine Learning for Growth Media, Virginia Tech

Reza Ovissipour, Assistant Professor; Inyat Batish, PhD student; and Thet Aung, MSc student; Virginia Tech

Applying machine learning techniques to develop and optimize low-cost serum free growth media for seafood cell lines

Technology areas addressed: media

Project Aims
  • Use of Response Surface Methodology and Artificial Neural Networks to produce an optimized media formulation for culturing stem cells from fish.
  • Creation of predictive models that will guide and speed up future media optimization work.
Potential Impact
  • Optimized media formulations will be useful tools for other researchers pursuing a diverse array of problems and research questions in cultivated seafood.
  • Lessons from this project, especially the predictive models, will inform future efforts at optimizing media for different species and cell types.
Project Team's Expertise
  • Reza Ovissi has extensive experience in both conventional aquaculture as well as use of mathematical modeling techniques for optimization.
  • Inayat Batish's background includes cell culture and mathematical modeling.
  • Thet Aung's background is in food science and sustainability.

Scaffolding and Structuring: Marbled Cultivated Beef, University of California, Los Angeles

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Dr. Amy Rowat, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Plant-based scaffolds for marbled clean beef

Technology areas addressed: scaffolding, cell culture

Project Aims
  • Optimizes myotube growth on nanofibers by tuning diameter and stiffness.
  • Uses plant-based microporous scaffolding that favors adipocyte growth.
  • Integrates scaffolds to co-culture myotubes and adipocytes to grow marbled cultivated meat.
Potential Impact
  • Enables growth and differentiation of multiple cell types simultaneously.
  • Improves the texture and sensory appeal of cultivated meat.
Dr. Rowat’s Expertise
  • Combines physics and engineering approaches with biology.
  • Uses physical properties of cells to understand physiology and disease.
  • Applies physics background to synthesis of heterogeneous scaffolding for texturing.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Scaffolding and Structuring: Cellular Building Blocks, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology

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Prof. Marcelle Machluf, Dean, Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

Designing a clean meat platform based on scalable cellular building blocks and matching processing methodologies

Technology areas addressed: scaffolding, bioprocess

Project Aims
  • Characterizes two biomaterials for two cellular building block applications.
  • Develops oleogel microparticles for incorporation into cultivated meat to improve texture attributes.
  • Combines cellular building blocks and oleogel microparticles to produce thick-cut cultivated meat on fibrous scaffolds.
Potential Impact
  • Creates a scalable process for the creation of complex, thick-cut cultivated meat.
  • Develops a platform for synthesis of cellular building blocks and oleogel microparticles to produce a wide variety of meat forms.
Dr. Machluf’s Expertise
  • Combines material engineering and life sciences to develop disease treatments and advance regenerative medicine.
  • Applies expertise to gene therapy, drug delivery systems, cell bioencapsulation, and regenerative medicine.
  • Leverages natural mechanisms to find safe technological approaches to combating diseases.
Updates and Resources

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Scaffolding and Structuring: 3-D Printing Bioinks, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory

Cultivated Meat Research: 3D Bioprinting for Scaffolding and Structuring
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Dr. Sara Oliveira, Research Engineer, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Portugal

M3atD: A 3-D bioprinted model for cell-based meat design

Technology areas addressed: scaffolding and structuring

Project Aims
  • Develops a set of methods to be widely applied to 3-D printing of scaffolds for analysis of the organoleptic properties of cultivated meat.
  • Creates a 3-D bioprinted model based on edible polymers to optimize the texture and nutritional profile of cultivated meat.
Potential Impact
  • Improves understanding of 3-D bioprinting’s potential for success in cultivated meat production.
Dr. Oliveira’s Expertise
  • Fabricates stem cells and scaffolding by 3-D bioprinting and induces cell instruction through cell-materials interactions.
  • Investigates 3-D food-printing applications for healthy and sustainable living.
  • Uses biotribology, rheology, flow dynamics, structural analysis, textural analysis, and design of experiments to model food inks and 3-D food properties.
  • Studies plant-derived oleogels.

Scaffolding and Structuring: Plant-Based Scaffolds, University of Wisconsin

Cultivated Meat Research: Developing Plant-Based Scaffolds
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Dr. Masatoshi Suzuki, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA

Crossing two kingdoms: Bioengineered clean meat in plant-based tissue scaffolds

Technology areas addressed: scaffolding and structuring

Project Aims
  • Establishes large-scale production of musculoskeletal stem cells (such as muscle, fibro-adipogenic progenitor, and mesenchymal stem or stromal cells) using a sphere-based culture approach.
  • Develops (in collaboration with Dr. William Murphy, also at UW–Madison) 3-D cultivated meat using bioengineered plant-based tissue scaffolds and characterizes its texture, color, and composition.
Potential Impact
  • Reduces cost and improves sustainability of scaffolds compared with animal-based or synthetic scaffolds.
  • Improves quality of muscle differentiation and maturation.
  • Advances our understanding of the organoleptic properties of cultivated meat.
Dr. Suzuki’s Expertise
  • Holds extensive experience in stem cell biology, muscle biology, and bioengineering.
  • Maintains strong relationships with stem cell and regenerative medicine experts and has collaborated with meat science and muscle biology laboratories.

Bioreactors and Bioprocess: Integrating Sensors into Bioreactors, University of Novi Sad

Cultivated Meat Research: Integrating Sensors into Bioreactorse
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Dr. Vasa Radonic, Senior Researcher, BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

REALSENSE2: From lab on a chip to custom bioreactor

Technology areas addressed: cell culture media, bioreactors

Project Aims
  • Identifies the most efficient configuration for integrating sensors into stirred-tank bioreactors.
  • Develops and optimizes the next generation of biomass, nutrient, and metabolite sensors and enables their configuration in bioreactors.
Potential Impact
  • Improves bioprocess control in cultivated meat production through in-line monitoring systems.
  • Enables media recycling, which would reduce the cost of cultivated meat production.
Dr. Radonic’s Expertise
  • Possesses expertise in sensors, microfluidics, modeling, and computational fluid dynamics.
  • Draws on BioSense’s in-house nanotechnology, chemistry, and biology experts to address specific sensor requirements.

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Dr. Ivana Gadjanski, Assistant Director for Science and Research, Associate Professor, BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

REALSENSE1: Monitoring of cell culture parameters using sensors for biomass, nutrients, and metabolites in media - Lab-on-a-chip approach

Technology areas addressed: cell culture, bioreactor development

Project Aims
  • Prototypes sensors for in-situ measurements of biomass, nutrient, and metabolite quantities.
  • Implements lab-on-a-chip strategy, combining sensors and microfluidic devices.
  • Uses a scale-down approach to solve process problems before scale translation.
Potential Impact
  • Produces sensors for detecting biomass, nutrient, and metabolite concentrations.
  • Reduces cost through medium recycling.
  • Enables maximization of cell proliferation per unit medium volume.
Dr. Gadjanski’s Expertise
  • Possesses interdisciplinary expertise, with interests in bioengineering, synthetic biology, biosensors, and microfluidics.
  • Is a Fulbright alumna from Columbia University
  • Promotes digital fabrication in STEAM fields in Southeast Europe as founder of the nonprofit Fab Initiative.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Peer-reviewed paper on microfluidic sensor development

Project Website

Bioreactors and Bioprocess: Co-culturing Cells, Aston University

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Dr. Mariana Petronela Hanga, Lecturer in Biological Engineering, Aston University, UK

Advancing the production of clean beef towards commercialisation

Technology areas addressed: bioprocess, scaleup

Project Aims
  • Uses small bioreactors to produce high-density stem cell cultures in suspension.
  • Develops parallel one-step bioprocesses for culturing both adipocyte and myocyte lineages.
  • Produces complex microtissues in small bioreactors by employing hydrogels for cell encapsulation to co-culture differentiated cells.
Potential Impact
  • Identifies topics to be addressed in bioreactor scaleup through a cost analysis.
  • Paves the way to pilot bioreactor scaleup that produces complex cultivated meat products.
Dr. Hanga’s Expertise
  • Researches stem cell bioprocessing, human mesenchymal and induced pluripotent stem cells, bioreactor scaleup, and cultivated meat.
  • Manufactures stem cells for undamaging and nonenzymatic collection after culturing.
  • Designs microcarriers for nonenzymatic cell harvesting through either temperature control or microcarrier disassembly.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Peer-reviewed paper on bioprocess development for scalable production of cultivated meat

Bioreactors and Bioprocess: Designing Cost-Effective Bioreactors, University of Bath

Cultivated Meat Research: Designing Cost-Effective Bioreactors
Grant Badge

Dr. Marianne Ellis, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, University of Bath, UK

CALpod: The cellular agriculture life-cycle pod for cultivated meat production

Technology areas addressed: cell culture media, bioreactors

Project Aims
  • Establishes media consumption and waste production profiles for both expansion and differentiation in various bioreactors.
  • Produces correlations for the relationship among scaffold structure, fluid dynamics, and biological profiles in bioreactors.
Potential Impact
  • Improves understanding of cell behavior changes as culture size increases.
  • Develops a more compact, cost-effective bioreactor that enables cultivated meat production in novel scenarios.
Dr. Ellis’s Expertise
  • Holds strong academic and commercialization track record and expertise in tissue engineering bioprocess design.
  • Has published 30 reviews and articles on cellular agriculture and tissue engineering bioprocess design for a range of applications.
  • Is founder of successful startup Cellesce Ltd., which expands organoids, and co-founder of Cellular Agriculture Ltd.

Bioreactors and Bioprocess: Computational Modeling, Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium

Cultivated Meat Research: Bioreactor Computational Modeling
Grant Badge

Dr. Simon Kahan, Founder, Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium

Multiscale whole-system modeling of bioreactors

Technology areas addressed: bioreactors

Project Aims
  • Develops quantitative efficiency characterizations and designs multiscale whole-system models of several novel bioreactor technologies.
  • Simulates these models both to validate their accuracy against small bioreactors and to predict efficiencies of bioreactors at greater scale.
Potential Impact
  • Accelerates understanding and refinement of bioreactor designs.
  • Reduces cost of cultivated meat production via improved bioreactor efficiency.
Dr. Kahan’s Expertise
  • Holds 30 years’ experience in high-performance computing as a computer scientist.
  • Advances cultivated meat through computational modeling as founder of Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium, an international, interdisciplinary coalition.
  • Leads team of experts in both bioreactor design and fluid-flow and cell-system modeling.
Updates and Resources

Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium website

Plant-Based Meat Research Projects

Crop Development: Breeding Peas and Sorghum, Clemson University

Grant Badge

Dr. Dil Thavarajah, Associate Professor, Clemson University, USA

Breeding organic pulse and cereal crops toward protein biofortification—characterization of organic field pea and sorghum protein ingredients suitable for complete-protein plant-based meat products

Technology areas addressed: crop optimization, ingredient processing

Project Aims
  • Establishes a breeding program that optimizes proteins for plant-based meat.
  • Identifies genetic markers for protein quality to accelerate future crop breeding.
  • Develops two-component protein isolate for complete-protein profile.
Potential Impact
  • Selects pea and sorghum cultivars with superior nutrition and functionality for use in plant-based meat.
  • Develops protocols for breeding crops with higher protein content.
Dr. Thavarajah’s Expertise
  • Applies biofortification to combat malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases.
  • Operates an organic breeding program for pulses and cereal crops.
  • Combines genome-wide analysis with nutritional sciences in nutrigenomics.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Crop Development: Characterizing Quinoa, Tel Hai College

Grant Badge

Dr. Ofir Benjamin, Lecturer and Researcher, Tel Hai College, Israel

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) as a raw material for plant-based meat products

Technology areas addressed: crop optimization, ingredient processing, product formulation

Project Aims
  • Characterizes five high-yield quinoa varieties for protein, fat, and fiber composition.
  • Develops methods for preparation of quinoa protein concentrate and isolate.
  • Prototypes quinoa-based partial or full meat replacement products.
Potential Impact
  • Develops quinoa as a novel plant-based complete-protein source, including processing into flour, protein concentrate, and protein isolate.
  • Optimizes quinoa protein yield through growing conditions and strain selection.
  • Produces quinoa-based meat with organoleptic properties matching those of conventional meat.
Dr. Benjamin’s Expertise
  • Focuses research on structure and sensory characteristics for a wide variety of food products.
  • Combines novel electronic tongue and nose with traditional techniques to characterize sensory aspects of food.
  • Leads the charge toward building an institutional food-tech hub in Israel that bridges the gap between industry and academy.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Crop Development: Valorizing Agricultural Side Streams, Wageningen University

Plant-Based Meat Research: Valorizing Agricultural Sidestreams
Grant Badge

Dr. Marieke Bruins, Senior Scientist, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Plant proteins from agricultural waste and side streams

Technology areas addressed: ingredient processing, manufacturing technologies

Project Aims
  • Valorizes proteins from agricultural side streams, increasing protein availability and improving the business case for plant-based farming.
  • Identifies new protein fractions of interest and develops technologies to bring these to industrial products.
Potential Impact
  • Reduces cost of plant-based meat, increases protein availability, and improves the business case for plant-based farming.
  • Improves environmental sustainability of plant-based meat ingredient sourcing.
  • Expands source materials for plant-based meat production.
Dr. Bruins’s Expertise
  • Focuses on protein separation technologies as a senior scientist.
  • Heads an interdisciplinary team of leading process engineers, organoleptic and functionality specialists, and plant geneticists.

Crop Development: Exploring Cassava Leaf Proteins, University of Campinas

Plant-Based Meat Research: Using Cassava Leaf Proteins
Grant Badge

Dr. Ana Carla Kawazoe Sato, Assistant Professor, University of Campinas, Brazil

Production of plant meat from cassava leaf protein

Technology areas addressed: ingredient production and characterization, product formulation

Project Aims
  • Increases extraction yield of protein from cassava leaves.
  • Produces cassava leaf protein fractions with suitable properties for plant-based meat.
Potential Impact
  • Advances understanding of potential utility of protein from leaves.
  • Improves environmental sustainability and reduces costs of plant-based meat ingredients by valorizing a waste stream.
Dr. Kawazoe Sato’s Expertise
  • Holds experience with protein extraction from pulses and waste streams.
  • Leads team with expertise in improving the functionality of plant proteins via various technologies.

Crop Development: Scaling Cashew Apple Supply, EMBRAPA

Plant-Based Meat Research: Leveraging the Cashew Apply Supply Chain
Grant Badge

Dr. Ana Paula Dionisio, Researcher, EMBRAPA, Brazil

Cashew as a raw material for plant-based meat products

Technology areas addressed: scaleup, ingredient processing

Project Aims
  • Develops economically feasible technologies for transforming cashew apple waste into plant-based meat.
  • Solves scale-up challenges in the cashew apple supply chain.
  • Explores a variety of uses for cashew apple in plant-based meat production and its organoleptic properties.
Potential Impact
  • Extends shelf life and enhances production of cashew apple for plant-based meat production.
  • Increases adoption of cashew apple as an ingredient in plant-based meat.
  • Lowers costs for plant-based meat ingredients by more efficiently capturing value from a waste product.
Dr. Dionisio’s Expertise
  • Focuses research on food science and biochemistry.
  • Heads a multidisciplinary team with demonstrated success in commercializing cashew-based products.

Ingredient Optimization: Identifying Pea Protein Off Flavors, Beijing Technology and Business University

Grant Badge

Dr. Jian Li, Associate Professor, Beijing Technology and Business University, China

Identification and comparison of beany off flavors in pea bean proteins

Technology areas addressed: processing conditions, ingredient characterization

Project Aims
  • Identifies the volatile compounds in pea proteins that lead to beany off flavors.
  • Compares flavor profiles of various pea cultivars.
Potential Impact
  • Develops basic theory for removing beany off flavors in pea proteins.
  • Improves taste of products made from pea proteins.
Dr. Li’s Expertise
  • Is a trained molecular sensory scientist.
  • Establishes novel extraction methods for volatile compounds.
  • Works to identify and isolate the volatile compounds in pea protein by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-olfactometry and aroma extract dilution analysis.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Ingredient Optimization: Red Seaweed Protein, Trophic, LLC

Plant-Based Meat Research: Optimizing Red Seaweed Protein
Grant Badge

Dr. Amanda Stiles, Co-founder and CTO, Trophic LLC, USA

Development of tailored seaweed ingredients to improve plant-based meat and seafood organoleptics

Technology areas addressed: ingredient characterization, product formulation

Project Aims
  • Creates new plant-based meat products using seaweed protein as a primary ingredient.
  • Characterizes sensory attributes of seaweed ingredients for plant-based meat production.
Potential Impact
  • Advances understanding of seaweed proteins’ utility in plant-based meat production.
  • Improves sustainability of plant-based meat and enhances organoleptic properties in certain applications.
Dr. Stiles’s Expertise
  • Focuses research on protein biochemistry, including protein purification, ingredient functionality, and sensory evaluation.
  • Enjoys private sector success, having previously led the research team at Ripple Foods.

Grant Badge

Ms. Beth Zotter, President, Trophic LLC, USA

Protein products from red seaweeds

Technology areas addressed: ingredient characterization, protein extraction methodology

Project Aims
  • Optimizes protein extraction processes in red seaweeds to meet quality specifications of food product formulators.
  • Assesses the suitability of different species of red seaweed for cost-effective protein extraction.
  • Characterizes taste, texture, and formulation properties of protein concentrates and isolates from red seaweeds.
Potential Impact
  • Develops new ingredients for plant-based meat from a source that already has a large global supply chain, high protein content, outstanding umami flavor profile, and red color.
  • Adds value to red seaweed protein, a current side stream of agar and carrageenan production.
Ms. Zotter’s Expertise
  • Serves as principal investigator for a project funded by the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program to demonstrate high-yield, low-cost, and scalable systems for offshore seaweed production.
  • Leads a new venture in marine protein and fuel sources and works with the start-up companies at Cyclotron Road.
  • Offers expertise in environmental science; public policy; and the intersection of technology, economics, and policy.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Ingredient Optimization: Oat Protein Fermentation, TFTAK

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Dr. Raivo Vilu, R&D Director, and Ms. Mari-Liis Tammik, Research Scientist, TFTAK (Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies), Estonia

Fermentation of oat protein for application in extruded meat analogs

Technology areas addressed: processing conditions, manufacturing technologies

Project Aims
  • Ferments oats for use as a novel constituent in plant-based meat.
  • Identifies starter cultures that improve nutritional and organoleptic properties of oat protein.
  • Develops fermented oat-based meat for comparison with both conventional meat and unfermented oat-based meat.
Potential Impact
  • Makes fermented oat protein, which has an excellent amino acid profile and low allergenicity, available for plant-based meat.
  • Enables fermentation of a wide variety of cereal grains to improve their nutritional profiles and sensory attributes.
Dr. Vilu’s Expertise
  • Holds the DuPont Medal for Excellence in Nutrition and Health Research.
  • Combines cutting-edge research in microbial physiology, fermentation, analytics, proteomics, and metabology.
  • Uses synthetic biology principles and modern analytical methods and systems to develop and implement novel food and other biotechnology products.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Ingredient Optimization: Proteins Under Pressure, CSIRO

Plant-Based Meat Research: Developing High-Pressure Processing Parameters
Grant Badge

Dr. Ciara McDonnell, Research Scientist, Food Technology, CSIRO, Australia

Protein under pressure: Optimizing plant-based protein for flavor and function

Technology areas addressed: manufacturing technologies, processing conditions

Project Aims
  • Establishes high-pressure processing (HPP) and high-pressure thermal processing (HPTP) parameters for plant proteins.
  • Uses HPP and HPTP to improve the functionality and flavor of plant proteins to be used in plant-based meat.
Potential Impact
  • Achieves better quality plant protein products through innovative use of pressure processing technologies.
  • Provides a cleaner-label approach to plant-based meat production.
  • Accelerates adoption of HPP and HPTP in plant-based meat manufacture.
Dr. McDonnell’s Expertise
  • Possesses in-depth understanding of the mechanistic actions of ingredients and their techno-functional interactions with food matrices.
  • Optimizes novel food processing technologies for improved product quality.
  • Holds a strong track record of academic publications and commercial success through private-public partnerships.
  • Heads a multidisciplinary team of protein scientists, process engineers, food chemists, and flavor and sensory scientists from CSIRO.

Ingredient Optimization: Fermenting Flavor Bases, The Mediterranean Food Lab

Plant-Based Meat Research: Fermenting Flavor Bases
Grant Badge

Mr. BZ Goldberg, R&D Director, The Mediterranean Food Lab, Israel

Traditional multiphase fermentation of plant-based materials as source of organoleptically satisfying flavors

Technology areas addressed: ingredient processing, manufacturing technologies

Project Aims
  • Explores the potential of traditional and adapted multiphase fermentation technologies to develop new meat flavors from plant ingredients that can be added to food products.
  • Develops production protocols for elevating and accentuating beneficial organoleptic factors in flavor-rich ingredients.
Potential Impact
  • Expands plant-based meat offerings to address critical culinary functions of meat and other animal proteins.
  • Increases the functions and scenarios in which plant-based materials are able to emulate meat.
Mr. Goldberg’s Expertise
  • Leads an interdisciplinary team with expertise in sensory evaluation, organic chemistry, and applied microbiology.
  • Holds team experience in culinary applications of food production applications—from home cooking and fine dining to foodservice and industrial product development.

Ingredient Optimization: Characterizing Bean Proteins, EMBRAPA

Plant-Based Meat Research: Optimizing Bean Proteins
Grant Badge

Dr. Caroline Mellinger Silva, Researcher, EMBRAPA, Brazil

Proteins from beans as alternative ingredients for plant-based meat products

Technology areas addressed: ingredient characterization, protein extraction methodology

Project Aims
  • Optimizes the production of a suitable protein concentrate and isolate from common beans.
  • Characterizes the physicochemical, technological, and nutritional properties of common-bean protein concentrate and isolate.
Potential Impact
  • Accelerates scaling of plant-based meat via a highly produced crop.
  • Reduces costs associated with plant-based meat production by capturing economies of scale.
Dr. Mellinger Silva’s Expertise
  • Focuses on developing protein-rich ingredients and products and evaluating chemical and in vitro nutritional protein and peptide values.
  • Leads an interdisciplinary team comprising protein chemists, food technologists, agronomists, and technology transfer professionals.

Process Improvement: Integrating Sensors into Extrusion, University of Manitoba

Grant Badge

Dr. Filiz Koksel, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba, Canada

In-line structural, textural, and nutritional quality monitoring and manipulation during processing of plant-based meat

Technology areas addressed: processing conditions, manufacturing technologies

Project Aims
  • Applies noninvasive in-line ultrasound to extrusion of protein-dense plant foods.
  • Maps the process-structure-property relationships of plant-based meat extrusion.
  • Determines the impact of protein concentration and source on nutritional quality of plant-based meat.
Potential Impact
  • Reduces waste through rapid, real-time quality control in the extrusion process.
  • Optimizes textural and nutritional properties to accelerate adoption.
  • Develops the application of ultrasound to various plant-source inputs.
Dr. Koksel’s Expertise
  • Investigates the parameters that control food quality, safety, and nutrition.
  • Uses various wave techniques to determine structure-property relationships.
  • Connects food components to their resultant mechanical and functional properties.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Process Improvement: Microstructure Engineering, University of Guelph

Grant Badge

Dr. Mario Martinez, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph, Canada

Whole-muscle tissue engineering through the innovative combination of microstructure engineering and high-moisture extrusion

Technology areas addressed: manufacturing technologies, product development

Project Aims
  • Canvases plant proteins for use as either fiber-forming or bulking components in plant-based meat with considerations for complete amino acid profile.
  • Creates a muscle food analog through a two-phase technique to produce a core-shell plant-based meat product.
  • Characterizes the nano-, micro-, and macroscale characteristics to enhance structure and texture of plant-based meat.
Potential Impact
  • Uses low-value byproducts in the formulation of plant-based meat to reduce waste and cost.
  • Scales a method for creating next-generation texturized plant proteins for use in a variety of new consumer products.
  • Replicates organoleptic properties of conventional meat to accelerate consumer acceptance.
Dr. Martinez’s Expertise
  • Bridges fundamental and practical research by applying physicochemical, biological, and engineering approaches to plant-based ingredients.
  • Investigates relationship between structure/composition and the resultant nutritional and textural characteristics.
  • Uses whole-muscle tissue engineering and high-moisture extrusion to manufacture plant-based meat.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Process Improvement: Fat Encapsulation, University of California, Berkeley

Grant Badge

Dr. Ricardo San Martin, Research Director and Industry Fellow, Alt.Meat Program, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Incorporation of oil into plant-based meat

Technology areas addressed: ingredient development, product formulation

Project Aims
  • Prepares and characterizes oleogels for their use in plant-based meat.
  • Evaluates the cooking and sensory experience of plant-based meat with oleogels.
  • Generates open publications and research protocols that help emerging plant-based meat companies improve their products.
Potential Impact
  • Enables better incorporation of fats into plant-based products.
  • Creates plant-based meat with a sensory profile closer to that of animal meat.
Dr. San Martin’s Expertise
  • Is a professor of engineering with understanding of colloid chemistry, scaling up and costing of processing plants, and lab-to-market strategy.
  • Directs research for the Alternative Meat Program at UC Berkeley, a program that allows Cal students to explore entrepreneurial opportunities in alternatives to animal meat.
  • Is co-founder of Natural Response in Chile, which is dedicated to the production of plant extracts.
Updates and Resources

GFI blog post

Poster presented at the 2019 Good Food Conference

Process Improvement: Functional Protein Fractions, Wageningen University

Plant-Based Meat Research: Optimizing Raw Materials
Grant Badge

Ms. Miek Schlangen, Lead Researcher, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Less is more: Meat analogs with next-generation ingredients

Technology areas addressed: raw material optimization, process improvement, product formulation

Project Aims
  • Designs a plant-based fractionation process for pea and mung bean that is tailored toward ideal properties for plant-based meat analogs.
  • Analyzes relationship among raw material properties, process conditions, and structuring process.
  • Develops final product concepts based on tailored ingredients with chefs and consumers for optimization of organoleptic quality.
Potential Impact
  • Improves understanding of functional fractionated proteins.
  • Reduces number of ingredients and increases consumer acceptance of plant-based meat.
Ms. Schlangen’s Expertise
  • Structures plant proteins with shear cell technology as well as extrusion.
  • Brings products to market through collaboration with the private sector.
  • Heads team with expertise in structuring plant ingredients.

Process Improvement: Texturizing Proteins and Fiber, Washington State University

Plant-Based Meat Research: Texturizing Proteins and Fiber
Grant Badge

Dr. Girish Ganjyal, Associate Professor and Interim Director, School of Food Science, Washington State University, USA

Novel plant proteins and insoluble fibers in the development of meat analogs

Technology areas addressed: ingredient characterization, process optimization

Project Aims
  • Evaluates the physicochemical and functional properties of select insoluble dietary fibers and plant proteins derived from fava bean, lentil, and pea.
  • Develops and optimizes formulation and processing conditions using high-moisture extrusion.
Potential Impact
  • Improves quality of texturized pea protein in preparation of soy- and gluten-free plant-based meat products.
  • Advances understanding of the influence of ingredient properties and processing conditions on the final texture of a product.
Dr. Ganjyal’s Expertise
  • Focuses on food processing, with more than 17 years’ industry and academic experience, including more than 10 years’ experience in protein texturization.
  • Specializes in extrusion and ingredient functionality, with deep understanding of current industry needs, available ingredients, and emerging technologies.
  • Holds team experience in extrusion processing and analysis of legume and cereal proteins.

Process Improvement: Shear Cell Technology, Rival Foods

Plant-Based Meat Research: Using Shear Cell Technology
Grant Badge

Dr. Birgit Dekkers, Co-founder and CEO, Rival Foods, the Netherlands

Tipping the balance in gastronomy: Culinary whole cuts from plants

Technology areas addressed: manufacturing technologies, product development

Project Aims
  • Produces three new innovative whole-cut food products using shear cell technology.
  • Realizes the world’s first commercially viable shear cell machine for use by local food entrepreneurs.
Potential Impact
  • Expands plant-based meat product category to include whole-cut products.
  • Advances understanding of shear cell technology and its use in plant-based meat production.
Dr. Dekkers’s Expertise
  • Is a leading researcher on shear cell technology and plant structuring with experience developing commercial applications of this technology.
  • Maintains strong collaboration with academic research teams.

Process Improvement: Creating Fiber-Like Structures, University of Massachusetts

Plant-Based Meat Research: Creating Fibrous Textures
Grant Badge

Prof. David McClements, Distinguished Professor, Fergus Clydesdale Endowed Chair, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, USA

Innovative structural design approach for creating meat substitutes

Technology areas addressed: manufacturing technologies, processing conditions

Project Aims
  • Develops an innovative approach to creating fiber-like structures from plant-based proteins based on controlled phase separation, shearing, and gelation.
  • Establishes structure-function relationships between food composition and microstructure and food quality attributes.
Potential Impact
  • Improves the texture of plant-based meat.
  • Advances technological ability to create meat-like fibers without extrusion.
Prof. McClements’s Expertise
  • Focuses research on food architecture and the application of soft matter physics to improve food safety, nutrition, and quality.
  • Leads a multidisciplinary team, including researchers on taste physiology and sensory science, gut health, food processing, and plant-based meat product development.

Process Improvement: Muscle-Like Structures from Pulse Proteins, University of Minnesota

Plant-Based Meat Research: Creating Muscle-Like Structures from Pulse Proteins
Grant Badge

Prof. Zata Vickers, Professor of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, USA

Characterizing and texturizing pulse proteins to form meat-like fibers

Technology areas addressed: ingredient processing, processing conditions

Project Aims
  • Characterizes and functionalizes pulse flours and protein isolates for producing muscle-like fibers.
  • Builds textured proteins with muscle-like structures from pulses using twin-screw extrusion.
  • Determines the quality of these textured proteins using sensory measurements.
Potential Impact
  • Advances understanding of the relationship among the structural characteristics of proteins, processing parameters, and extrusion conditions in plant-based meat production.
  • Develops technologies to enhance the potential of pulse proteins for meat alternative applications.
  • Improves sensory properties of plant-based meat from pulse proteins.
Prof. Vickers’s and Team’s Expertise
  • Measure food acceptability and the sensory properties of foods.
  • Apply in-depth understanding of protein ingredient chemistry, functionality of plant protein ingredients, and food materials science.
Updates and Resources

Plant Protein Innovation Center (PPIC) at the University of Minnesota

Other Alternative Protein Research Projects

Plant Protein Characterization: Exploring Millets for Plant-Based Foods, GFI India

In collaboration with academic and industry partners, GFI India is leading a research project to explore millet varieties and characterize the nutritional and functional properties of ingredients derived from these crops. The data generated from this project will help food companies formulate new products involving millet ingredients.

The International GFI Team

Join us in supporting catalytic research to diversify the global food system

If you’d like to discuss partnership opportunities with GFI as we expand our research program activities, please let us know. We welcome the opportunity to talk with other nonprofits and NGOs, researchers, investors, and funding agencies who are keen to support or conduct alternative protein research.

As a nonprofit, GFI is uniquely positioned to foster open-access scientific advancements to fuel a sustainable, healthy, and just food system. All of GFI’s work is made possible thanks to generous donors. Philanthropic support is vital to our mission. To discuss how you can be part of this transformative work with your gift or grant, please contact