FFAR announces request for research proposals on improving plant-based protein

Projects can be 12-60 months and have a minimum budget of $300,000. No matching funds are required. The deadline for applying is October 9, 2019.
Hexagon blurs over plants

Today’s world contains about 400,000 species of plants. Around 7,000 of those species are considered semi-cultivated. But 70 percent of the calories consumed by humans come from only 15 crops—the vast majority being from maize, wheat, and rice.

A new research initiative is looking to change this. And that will create exciting possibilities for farmers, ingredient suppliers, and plant-based meat companies interested in diverse protein-rich crops and improved plant proteins.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) released a request for applications (RFA) today through its Crops of the Future (COTF) Collaborative. The main goal of the RFA is to:

support innovative research necessary for improving the physico-chemical properties, yield and total plant protein for human consumption. The RFA seeks to provide knowledge and resources needed to enhance the supply chain for plant-based protein in a profitable and sustainable manner.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • Genomic resources and a technology toolbox for new or underutilized protein crops.
  • Enhancing functional and nutritional properties of plant proteins for plant-based food applications.
  • Performing market-based analyses for new or underutilized and/or production systems of proteins for plant-based food.

Applications may come from institutions of Higher Education, non-profit and for-profit organizations, government-affiliated researchers, and domestic and international organizations. Projects can be 12-60 months and have a minimum budget of $300,000. No matching funds are required. The deadline for applying is October 9, 2019. Additional details can be found in the RFA.

The plant protein industry is experiencing tremendous growth. The plant-based meat industry alone is projected to become an $85B market in 2030. In order to meet these aggressive growth targets and satisfy consumer demand, the industry needs a diverse array of crops that are optimized for plant-based food applications. To date, little funding has been applied to crop research for plant-based foods. GFI’s 2018 competitive grant program awarded $3M to plant-based and cell-based meat research but significantly more support is required to accelerate this industry. This new funding opportunity is an important and inspiring move to do just that!

Need inspiration? Check out GFI’s Plant Protein Database.


Erin rees clayton


Erin Rees Clayton, Ph.D. supports GFI’s efforts to generate and communicate data-driven insights to accelerate the global alternative protein scientific ecosystem. Areas of expertise: alternative protein scientific research needs, research funding, research project management.