$7M+In open-access research support
38Grants awarded since 2019
13Countries where GFI has funded research

Catalytic research, powered by donors

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.

As a nonprofit, GFI is uniquely positioned to empower high-quality research that will build the scientific foundation of the alternative protein industries. Our philanthropy-driven research program answers fundamental questions that can spin off entire industries, inspiring additional research and creating new opportunities to feed the world. 

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 philanthropy@gfi.org.

Research funding opportunities

Gfi’s competitive research grant program badge on a background of abstract circles and lines representing science

GFI’s annual Competitive Research Grant Program

Once a year, we release a request for proposals (RFP) 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 currently evaluating proposals submitted to this RFP and will announce our new grantees shortly.


White space collaborations

Partnerships are critical to filling unmet technological needs in the alternative protein industry. This funding is for targeted research solutions that address the highest-priority areas for innovation across each segment of the alternative protein value chains. These projects typically do not exceed 12 months and $100,000. Our next white space collaboration RFP will open around September 2021.


Exploratory research grants

We provide short-term, limited funding to turn pioneering ideas into discoveries. This funding is for experimental ideas and exploratory research that could lead to big breakthroughs. These projects typically do not exceed 6 months and $50,000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.


Research funding database

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

Swinging lit lightbulb graphic representing gfi's innovation priorities

Find your research passion

The ultimate success of the alternative protein industry depends on continued research and technological development. GFI identifies existing and future bottlenecks as well as promising solutions to the industry’s most pressing challenges. Explore these ideas, learn from GFI-funded research projects, and join the scientific community diversifying the global food system.

Research projects

Cultivated meat research grants

For cultivated meat to become an integral part of the global food supply, significant research still needs to be done so it can match — or beat — the taste and price of conventional meat. Whether it’s cell line development, cell culture media, scaffolding, or bioprocess design, GFI drives research by funding projects that address white space gaps across the entire cultivated meat technology sector.

We will continue to monitor the state of cultivated meat science and periodically reevaluate where best to focus future grant funding in order to strategically eliminate the technical barriers facing commercialization of cultivated meat.

Cell line development

Easy access to diverse cell lines from a range of animal species will enable more scientists to conduct high-impact cultivated meat research. We’re supporting the creation of these cell lines and we’ve partnered with Kerafast to help you get access to them for your own research.

Stem cells for cultured meat development

The Frozen Farmyard repository

Learn about Dr. Gareth Sullivan’s work to develop a “frozen farmyard” cell line repository for cultivated meat.

A redfish is swimming in the grass flats ocean

Seafood cell lines

Learn about Dr. Kevan Main and Dr. Cathy Walsh’s work at Mote Marine Laboratory to develop cell lines and methodology for cultivated seafood.

Atlantic salmon swimming in the ocean

Myosatellite lines from Atlantic salmon

Through the GFI grant program, the Kaplan lab is developing myosatellite lines for cultivated Atlantic salmon at Tufts University

Happy brown cows against a blue sky, representing a future with cultured meat

Making muscle cells

Learn about Dr. Ori Bar-Nur’s research to convert bovine and porcine fibroblasts into proliferative myogenic progenitor cells at ETH Zurich.

Cell culture media

Without further research and development, cell culture media is predicted to be a main cost driver of commercialized cultivated meat. It also presents an incredible opportunity for improved efficiency, reduced waste, and optimized cell growth.

Rainbow representations of protein structures for a cultured meat concept

Lowering the cost of growth factors

Learn about Dr. Peter Stogios’ research engineering improved and lower-cost growth factors for cultivated meat at University of Toronto.

Happy chickens in a field, representing a future with cultured chicken

Optimizing media for chicken cells

Learn about Dr. David Block’s work to perfect growth media for cultivated chicken at University of California, Davis.

An abstract field of white molecular models

Formulating media with macromolecular crowding

Learn about Dr. Connon and Dr. Gouveia’s work at Newcastle University, UK to formulate growth media for cultivated meat with macromolecular crowding.

Salmon meat texture

Machine learning for fish growth media

Learn about Dr. Reza Ovissipour’s research using machine learning to optimize growth media for fish cells at Virginia Tech.

Scaffolding

To move beyond ground meat products, scaffolding materials will be essential for 3-D structure and nutrient perfusion. We’re supporting research to identify promising materials for cultivated meat scaffolds and create new ways to design three-dimensional meat structures.

Illustration representing marbled cultivated beef

Developing marbled cultivated beef

GFI is developing marbled cultivated beef with Dr. Amy Rowat at University of California, Los Angeles

Colorful wooden building blocks

Cellular building blocks

Learn about Dr. Marcelle Machluf’s work designing cellular building blocks for cultivated meat with at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

3d printer in action, representing bioprinting concept

3-D printing bioinks

Learn about GFI grantee Dr. Sara Oliveira’s work 3D bioprinting scaffolds for cultivated meat the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory in Portugal.

Plant cells under a microscope, representing scaffolding for cultured meat

Plant-based scaffolds

GFI is building plant-based tissue scaffolds for cultivated meat with Dr. Masatoshi Suzuki at University of Wisconsin, Madison

Bioprocess design

To cultivate a small sample of starting cells into a chicken breast or salmon filet, an efficient, integrated bioprocess must be developed. Designing bioreactors, modeling cell behavior in these bioreactors, and creating sensors for real-time monitoring will improve process efficiency.

Biosensor concept for monitoring cultivated meat production in real time

Integrating sensors into bioreactors

GFI grantees Dr. Ivana Gadjanski and Dr. Vasa Radonic are integrating sensors into bioreactors for cultivated meat production.

Steel fermentation tanks, representing bioreactors for cultivated meat production

Designing cost-effective bioreactors

Learn about Dr. Marianne Ellis’s work at University of Bath to reduce the cost of bioreactors for cultivated meat production.

Pattern of cells, representing cell culture for meat cultivation

Co-culturing cells

GFI grantee Dr. Mariana Petronela Hanga is researching culturing different cell types at the same time.

Abstract representation of computational modeling for cultured meat

Computational modeling

GFI grantee Dr. Simon Kahan at the Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium is using computational modeling to improve bioreactor design for meat cultivation.

Plant-based meat research grants

For plant-based meat to compete with conventional meat on taste and price, additional scientific research is needed in the areas of crop optimization, ingredient processing, and end product formulation and manufacturing. GFI’s strategy has been to fund multiple projects within a given technology sector, since there are different ways to address white space needs. We will continue to monitor the state of plant-based meat science and periodically reevaluate where best to focus future grant funding.

Crop development

Better starting materials can lead to better end products. We’re supporting research that will develop and optimize plants as sources of ingredients specifically for plant-based meat.

Field of sorghum rows

Breeding peas and sorghum

Learn about Dr. Dil Thavarajah’s work at Clemson University to breed organic pulse and cereal crops for improved protein biofortification.

Red, white, and brown quinoa in a bowl

Characterizing quinoa protein

Learn about Dr. Ofir Benjamin’s research characterizing quinoa protein for plant-based meat production at Tel Hai College.

Field of rye, representing agricultural sidestreams for alternative protein production

Valorizing agricultural side streams

GFI grantee Dr. Marieke Bruins at Wageningen University in the Netherlands is valorizing agricultural side streams for alternative proteins.

Field of cassava plants, representing cassava as an ingredient for plant-based meat

Exploring cassava leaf proteins

GFI is exploring cassava leaf proteins with Dr. Ana Carla Kawazoe Sato at Brazil’s University of Campinas.

Cashew apples sitting in a basket

Scaling cashew apple supply

GFI grantee Dr. Dionisio is researching cashew apples as a raw material for plant-based meat and solving scale-up challenges in the supply chain.

Ingredient optimization

Plant-based meat manufacturers need high-quality plant proteins, fats, starches and fiber, and binders to make great tasting products. Developing ingredients with the desired functionality and nutritional profile – and doing so in a way that is efficient and reduces batch-to-batch variability – is a critical need for next-gen plant-based meat.

Peas in a pod, representing pea protein for plant-based meat production concept

Identifying pea protein off flavors

Learn about Dr. Jian Li’s work at Beijing Technology and Business University to identify off flavors in pea protein and improve plant-based meat.

Red seaweed floating on the ocean surface

Red seaweed protein

Learn about Trophic LLC’s research developing plant-based meat ingredients from red seaweed protein through GFI’s grant program.

Oats in a bowl against a blue background, a possible new ingredient for plant-based meat

Oat protein fermentation

Learn about cutting-edge research to use fermented oat protein to develop plant-based meat.

Plant-based minced meat

Proteins under pressure

Learn about Dr. Ciara McDonnell’s work to establish high-pressure processing and high-pressure thermal processing parameters for plant proteins.

Steel fermentation tanks

Fermenting flavor bases

Learn about GFI research grantee BZ Goldberg’s work at The Mediterranean Food Lab to develop better flavors for plant-based meat using fermentation.

Three wooden spoons holding red, brown, and white beans on a dark gray background

Characterizing bean proteins

Dr. Caroline Mellinger at The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) is exploring bean protein as ingredients for plant-based meat.

End product formulation & manufacturing

Combining plant ingredients to create meat that looks, smells, tastes, chews, and cooks like animal meat is no easy feat. Innovative formulation techniques and manufacturing technologies are being developed to biomimic animal meat without the animal.

Sensors in a manufacturing facility, representing ultrasound sensors for food extrusion

Integrating sensors into extrusion

Learn about Dr. Filiz Koksel’s work at the University of Manitoba to integrate sensors into plant-based meat extrusion.

A plate piled with grilled beyond meat plant-based mediterranean skewers on a bed of greens and grape tomatoes

Microstructure engineering

Learn about GFI grantee Dr. Mario Martinez’s work at the University of Guelph engineering microstructures for whole-muscle plant-based meat.

Golden oil droplets, representing fat encapsulation for plant-based meat

Fat encapsulation

Learn about Dr. Ricardo San Martin’s research incorporating oleogels into plant-based meat at University of California, Berkeley.

Moody pile of peas

Functional protein fractions

GFI grantee Ms. Miek Schlangen is making functional protein fractions for plant-based meat at Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Fresh fava beans in a bowl

Texturizing proteins and fiber

GFI grantee Dr. Girish Ganjyal at Washington State University is texturizing proteins and fiber to make better plant-based meat.

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Shear cell technology

GFI grantee Dr. Birgit Dekkers at Rival Foods in The Netherlands is developing shear cell technology to make whole cuts of plant-based meat.

Fork full of seared plant based meat on a grill

Creating fiber-like structures

Learn how GFI grantee Dr. David Julian McClements is developing an alternative to extrusion for producing plant-based meat at the University of Massachusetts.

Assortment of beans and lentils in spoons

Muscle-like structures from pulse proteins

Learn about Dr. Zata Vickers’s research to develop muscle-like structures from pulse proteins to improve the texture of plant-based meat.

Red seaweed

Texturizing seaweed proteins

Learn about Dr. Yoav Livney’s work at The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology texturizing seaweed proteins for plant-based seafood.

GFI-led research initiatives

We don’t just advance research through our grant program. We actively engage in partnerships with researchers to collaborate on removing technical bottlenecks facing the alternative protein industry. Here are examples of exciting research that we’re conducting.

A field of pearl millet with a bright blue sky

Exploring millets for plant-based foods

As part of their initiative to build indigenous sources of protein, the GFI India Team is collaborating with academic and industry partners 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.

A school of fish swimming along a reef underwater

Sustainable Seafood Initiative

Learn how plant-based, fermentation-derived, and cultivated seafood can improve the health and sustainability of oceans.

Farm field of plant crops

Cultivated meat life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis

The goal of this project was to develop a first-order model of a future commercial-scale cultivated meat facility based on real industry data. The life cycle assessment (LCA) documents production inputs and waste streams, while the techno-economic analysis (TEA) captures capital expenditures and operating costs for the facility. Nineteen different companies active in the cultivated meat supply chain, including six cultivated meat manufacturers, contributed data to the study, making it the largest collaborative effort to assess the cultivated meat industry. Together, these studies highlight the major cost and environmental drivers of cultivated meat production and identify knowledge gaps in the production process. Ultimately these analyses should lead to improved efficiencies industry-wide by reducing cost and environmental impact.

Business analytics graphic design concept

Plant-based meat production volume modeling

Rapid market transformations require massive infrastructure and supply chain developments. GFI’s plant-based meat production volume modeling will provide information to incentivize supply chain and infrastructure creation, thus preventing bottlenecks.