Get involved with the Alt Protein Project

Interested in bringing the Alt Protein Project to your university? Learn about what we look for in our student leaders and register your interest to stay informed about program updates and our application launch!

The alt protein project

We are not accepting applications to join the Alt Protein Project at this time, but we would love to hear from you! Are you excited about sparking the alternative protein movement on campus and think your school is a good fit for the Alt Protein Project? Please fill out the interest form and a member of GFI’s team will be in touch as soon as we’re ready to accept new groups.

In the meantime, take a look at our FAQs and program prerequisites below to learn more about what makes a strong group in the Alt Protein Project. We also have a resource hub for student groups to help you build your group’s foundation and begin making your impact on your university ecosystem now!

FAQs and prerequisites

What is the Alt Protein Project?

The Alt Protein Project is a global student movement dedicated to turning universities into engines for alternative protein education, research, and innovation. Students at all stages of their training, from first-year undergraduate students to graduate students about to defend their dissertation, are the driving force behind the Alt Protein Project, which is building momentum at universities around the world.

While students are excited to join the alternative protein field, they aren’t always aware of the critical role they play in defining the trajectory of our food system from within the university.

Students are the catalysts who can shape university priorities. From driving scientific inquiry that improves the sensory and functional qualities of new protein products to creating educational programs and establishing a talent pipeline for a growing industry, universities will be a cornerstone of the alternative protein ecosystem. 

The Good Food Institute established the Alt Protein Project so that motivated, visionary students could lead their universities to transform the way we produce food — creating a system that is sustainable, secure, and just.

What do Alt Protein Project groups do?

The Alt Protein Project is much more than a social group. It provides students and researchers with an interdisciplinary community in which to explore the alternative protein-related applications of their academic expertise. At each host institution, student leaders work with GFI experts to build initiatives that will have the greatest impact on growing their own school’s alternative protein ecosystem.

Some groups have chosen to design course materials and advocate for alternative protein curriculum development; to meet with principal investigators and other scientists to catalyze alternative protein-enabling research; to create alternative protein startups; and much more. Alt Protein Project groups are social hubs, too, where passionate, like-minded students can find one another through journal clubs and plant-based meat tastings—that’s part of what gives rise to the Alt Protein Project’s most exciting emergent properties.

What do we look for in a chapter of the Alt Protein Project?

As a student, you have incredible power to drive change at your university. Creating a chapter of the Alt Protein Project at your university would allow you to build an interdisciplinary network of like-minded peers and mobilize them around the most high-impact activities for advancing alternative proteins.

We’re looking for undergraduate and/or graduate student leaders at research universities that have the foundations for a long-lasting alternative protein ecosystem. This could mean universities:

  • Where students can capitalize on established university mechanisms to energize the academic community around the science, engineering, and commercialization of alternative proteins.
  • Located in a region with established agtech, biotech, or manufacturing capabilities.
  • With strong programs in any of the many sciences that enable alternative protein innovation—tissue engineering, fermentation science, and plant biology, to name just a few.

Universities with professors already active and engaged in the alternative protein community can provide excellent opportunities for on-the-ground mentorship, but faculty support is by no means a requirement. Being a student-led community, we expect faculty to serve in an advisory role at most, and part of your early work as a group can include faculty outreach to create those connections.

New student groups should have at least two co-organizers. Both individuals should demonstrate a commitment to GFI’s mission of building a sustainable, secure, and just protein supply and should be willing to dedicate 5-10 hours per week for a year to running a successful student group. At least one individual should be:

  • Experienced in community organizing
  • Housed within a key scientific discipline for alternative proteins
  • Deeply familiar with the alternative protein field
  • Graduating from the university no earlier than August 2026
  • Comfortable facilitating group discussions or could be with training

Do you have what it takes to bring the Alt Protein Project to your school? Our student resource hub will walk you through the key responsibilities and opportunities associated with running a student group. If you’re feeling energized to start building your own community, we’d love to hear from you!

What makes a strong co-founding team?

Groups with at least two founders are almost always more successful than those with one. Compared to a solo founder, you and your partner(s) will collectively have more free time to meet with administrators, maintain larger academic networks from which to recruit members, generate more energy to host meetings and larger events, and bring diverse perspectives to your group discussions. You will also find that as the academic year ebbs and flows, co-founders can pick up each other’s slack and support each other through difficult exam periods. This is so important that we make cofounding a requirement before you can apply for the Alt Protein Project.

Though we think it’s essential to start your group as a team, you should be thoughtful about picking your co-founder and other team members.

Looking for a co-founder

Some people may feel alone in their interest in alternative protein and aren’t sure who to approach as a potential co-founder. If you’re having difficulty finding a partner, consider going to meetings or events hosted by student groups related to food technology, sustainability, effective altruism, and animal welfare to meet mission-aligned individuals. You can also reach out to GFI to see if anyone else from your school has contacted us about founding a group! If they’ve given us permission to share their contact information, we’ll put you in touch. Groups are most effective when they can speak in a unified voice so we encourage all interested leaders from your university to connect and collaborate within a single, cooperative group.

Once you’ve identified a few potential candidates, here are some things to consider when choosing a dedicated co-founder.


Pick someone who is passionate about creating a world where alternative proteins are no longer alternative. If you or your co-founder(s) are just doing this to fill in the “volunteer” section on your LinkedIn profile, it’s much more likely that one of you will take ill-advised shortcuts or out-and-out bail when you’re crunched for time.


Are you and your co-founders each taking five classes, including organic chemistry? Then regardless of how enthusiastic you are, this might not be a viable dream team. Group founders should treat the Alt Protein Project like another class: it will require a few hours of paperwork to establish an official university student group, more hours of planning for group meetings, and even more time if you want to launch ambitious research and education initiatives on campus. Your co-founding team should have at least 10-20 collective hours a week to spend on group-related work. After your first semester running the group, the time commitment will likely become much less demanding.

Complementary skill sets

The most passionate people in the room don’t always make the best group leaders. We recommend taking stock of the responsibilities involved with running a student group and assessing whether your co-founding team has the complementary skill sets to make your vision a reality.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Creative problem-solving with limited resources
  • Energizing and inspiring your peers
  • Paperwork, especially official registration work for the organization
  • Financial responsibility, ranging from the handling of receipts to applying for funding
  • Logistical planning, such as booking rooms, securing food, and delegating tasks for meetings and other events
  • Advertising and recruiting, including securing slots in activities fairs and designing posters or other recruiting material
  • Facilitating discussions with students and researchers about the challenges and opportunities around alternative proteins

Check out our student resource hub for more information on the key responsibilities and opportunities associated with running a student group.

How we will support you

As leaders in the Alt Protein Project community, you will receive direct mentorship and training from the expert scientists and field catalysts at GFI. Each group is paired with a mentor from their region to provide strategic insight and to foster connections with local stakeholders.

We connect alternative protein scientists, entrepreneurs, and other innovators across the world. We tap into our network to showcase and amplify the impact of our student groups. In addition to maintaining a collection of resources for students, we work closely with members of the Alt Protein Project to provide strategic mentorship, guidance, and ad hoc support. Alt Protein Project members have access to a Slack workspace where our staff answer questions and stimulate innovative discussions. And, of course, student leaders in the workspace support one another and celebrate shared successes!

Once a month, we host a student leader call that serves as a forum for connecting our global community. These calls include roundtables, training from alternative protein experts, collaborative problem-solving sessions, and networking activities. Each active student group is also eligible for grants to support group projects and activities, in addition to the funds student groups can raise independently. Additionally, we will work with student leaders to help amplify news about student group events, campaigns, and other public-facing projects across our network.