Understanding the current funding landscape
Our alternative protein Research Grants Tracker compiles publicly available information about non-dilutive alternative protein research funding. The database focuses on grants with technical aims such as improvements in sensory characteristics or building facilities that will better enable scale-up of technology. Our tracker does not include consumer or market research, nor does it include venture capital or private equity investments (that information can be found in our State of the Industry reports).
With our grants tracker, you can see who is funding alternative protein research (governments vs. industry, including breakdowns by country), how much money has been awarded, whether those funds were awarded to industry or academia, if the results will be made public, and more. Use the filter function to slice the data however you see fit to better understand the current state of alternative protein research funding.
This database is regularly updated, but we encourage crowdsourced contributions to ensure that it is as accurate and comprehensive as possible. If you know of any alternative protein grants missing from this database, please share them with us.
The scale and urgency of the challenge
Paradigm-shifting technologies, capable of solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges, require substantial amounts of research.
From 1976 to 2016, global funding for renewable energy research and development averaged $10-22 billion (in 2016 USD) every year , amounting to $600 billion over four decades. In contrast, grants for alternative protein research since 2005 total a mere $112 million—less than one ten-thousandth of total R&D expenditures for renewable energy. Given that almost one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture and associated land use, it’s clear that increased R&D in alternative proteins can equip the world with scalable solutions to tackle climate and other global challenges.
In order to accelerate the shift toward a sustainable, secure, and just protein supply, vastly more investment into alternative protein research is required. The fruits of these investments are clear: by 2018, due in large part to the massive R&D investment the field had received for at least a half-century, renewable energy comprised 26.2 percent of global energy production. By contrast, retail plant-based meat sales currently account for only 1.4 percent of total retail meat sales. Commensurate investment into research and development is needed now to achieve improvements in sensory traits, cost reduction, and scalability to enable alternative proteins to reach mainstream adoption.
Meet the author
RESEARCH FUNDING COORDINATOR
James Dale identifies and expands scientific research funding opportunities for alt proteins. He also coordinates opportunities with GFI’s allies in academia and industry. Areas of expertise: nanomaterials, interdepartmental research, research funding, grants.
Explore commercial whitespaces, research gaps, technological needs, and investment priorities at each stage of the alternative protein value chain.
Research can propel alternative protein innovation and accelerate the shift to a more sustainable food system. Mapping the funding landscape can reveal critical opportunities to bolster innovation.
GFI’s Research Funding Database provides curated grant opportunities for open-access alternative protein research.
Government support will accelerate the growth of alternative proteins. Learn how GFI works to secure public funds for alternative protein research.