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.

The world of alternative proteins

Alternative proteins are meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products produced from plants, animal cells, or using fermentation. These innovative foods are designed to taste the same as or better than conventional animal products while costing the same or less, giving people the foods they love without the need for industrial animal agriculture.

Driving alternative protein development at universities

Even students who are excited and motivated to join the alternative protein field are often unaware 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 are becoming 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 support the transformation of the food system to one that is sustainable, secure, and just.

New fields, especially those that are interdisciplinary by nature, flourish when all stakeholders have the opportunity to connect and cooperate. The project is all about creating connections — between tissue engineers and food scientists, entrepreneurial business students and technical innovators, principal investigators, and the next generation of research talent. 

Most importantly, the Alt Protein Project connects members with the right ideas, questions, and opportunities that will help accelerate a global transition. The result is a network of academic institutions that prioritize plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-enabled protein. This network helps provide this growing alt protein sector with the institutional resources and human ingenuity it needs to scale and feed the world sustainably.

How we support our student leaders

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.

Meet our student groups

Since 2020, we have established student groups at more than 50 universities around the globe that are well-positioned to lead the alternative protein revolution. Each group has members from different disciplines and academic stages working together to define and launch the high-impact initiatives needed for alternative proteins to succeed. Dive into our student group directory to explore how students are building alternative protein ecosystems on campus from Stanford to Wageningen, Delhi to Melbourne.

Bayreuth kulmbach logo
The Bayreuth-Kulmbach Alt Protein Project

University of Bayreuth

Active

Ucambridge logo
The Cambridge Alt Protein Project

University of Cambridge

Active

Delhi smart protein project badge
The Delhi Smart Protein Project

University of Delhi & Ashoka University

Active

Dtu logo
The DTU Alt Protein Project

Technical University of Denmark

Active

Duke logo
The Duke Alt Protein Project

Duke University

Active

Umelbourne short logo
The Melbourne Alt Protein Project

University of Melbourne

Active

Nmbu logo
The NMBU Alt Protein Project

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Active

Ntnu logo
The NTNU Alt Protein Project

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Active

Ntu singapore short logo
The NTU Alt Protein Project

Nanyang Technological University

Active

Nus logo
The NUS Alt Protein Project

National University of Singapore

Active

Nyu logo
The NYU Alt Protein Project

New York University

Active

Oxford university logo
The Oxford Alt Protein Project

University of Oxford

Inactive

San diego st u logo
The San Diego State Alt Protein Project

San Diego State University

Active

Universite sherbrooke logo
The Sherbrooke Alt Protein Project

Université de Sherbrooke

Inactive

Tufts logo
The Tufts Alt Protein Project

Tufts University

Active

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The University of Nigeria Alt Protein Project

University of Nigeria

Active

Utrecht logo
The Utrecht Alt Protein Project

Utrecht University

Active

Uwaterloo logo
The Waterloo Alt Protein Project

University of Waterloo

Active

20 Chapters

Eit food logo

EIT Food

Active

Bayreuth kulmbach logo

University of Bayreuth

Active

Ucambridge logo

University of Cambridge

Active

Delhi smart protein project badge

University of Delhi & Ashoka University

Active

Dtu logo

Technical University of Denmark

Active

Duke logo

Duke University

Active

Umelbourne short logo

University of Melbourne

Active

Nmbu logo

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Active

Ntnu logo

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Active

Ntu singapore short logo

Nanyang Technological University

Active

Nus logo

National University of Singapore

Active

Nyu logo

New York University

Active

Oxford university logo

University of Oxford

Inactive

San diego st u logo

San Diego State University

Active

Universite sherbrooke logo

Université de Sherbrooke

Inactive

Tufts logo

Tufts University

Active

Nigeria square logo

University of Nigeria

Active

Utrecht logo

Utrecht University

Active

Va tech logo

Virginia Tech

Active

Uwaterloo logo

University of Waterloo

Active

College campus in the fall

Explore our student group resource hub

In partnership with our community of university ecosystem-builders, we created this resource hub to help you identify the highest-impact actions to undertake on campus and use them to meaningfully advance the alternative protein sector. Explore this repository of helpful tools, templates, tips, and tricks to build a thriving alternative protein ecosystem at your university.

See our student leaders at work

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.

The Alt Protein Project has been empowering student leaders since 2020 to help build their universities into vanguards in the alternative protein sector. Our community has spurred the creation of more than 20 courses and modules, 40 research projects, and 50 jobs and internships dedicated to alternative proteins, with plenty more to come!

Objective 1: Building alternative protein courses and majors

Students in a classroom

One of the largest bottlenecks in the alternative protein field is the relative lack of scientists and engineers who can advance plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-enabled meat, egg, and dairy products. The Alt Protein Project works to create and support alternative protein courses, tracks, and programs. Student leaders work with GFI experts and university faculty to design course materials and advocate for curriculum development.

Student leaders from the Johns Hopkins Alt Protein Project designed a course dedicated to Future Food Manufacturing. In addition to instruction in cutting-edge engineering and food science, student leaders forged partnerships with alternative protein companies to give all class participants practical experience with tackling a real-world obstacle.

Objective 2: Stimulating open-access research

Two researchers working in the lab

The alternative protein field needs more scientists driving open-access academic research for better alternatives to conventional meat, egg, and dairy products. Student leaders play a pivotal role in catalyzing open-access research by inspiring academic collaborations, designing research proposals, laying the foundation for research centers and consortia, keeping labs abreast of new funding opportunities, and pursuing their own lines of scientific inquiry.

Dr. Stephanie Kawecki co-founded the Alt Protein Project at UCLA when she was pursuing her Ph.D, having been driven to use her training in bioengineering to help fix one of the most glaring problems she saw in the food system around her since the beginning of her scientific career. She approached Dr. Amy Rowat and campaigned for the inclusion of cultivated meat in her research portfolio. Her student advocacy opened the door to Dr. Rowat becoming a GFI grantee and securing significant follow-on funding from the USDA and NSF.

Objective 3: Catalyzing alternative protein entrepreneurship

Three professionals working together at a desk

The Alt Protein Project empowers student entrepreneurs to start alternative protein companies that address key commercial white spaces whose solutions will help propel the industry forward. Students can do this in a myriad of ways—by working with alternative protein experts to analyze white space opportunities and develop product prototypes, mobilizing their peers through regional innovation challenges, building alternative protein tracks in student accelerators, and more!

Student leaders at the NMBU Alt Protein Project saw an absence of a physical space that would allow professors, companies, and students to learn, develop, and test their food products. They worked within their university to bring their Food Pilot Plant to reality and ensured alternative proteins feature prominently in its industrial and social output.

Objective 4: Generating awareness and excitement

Alt protein professionals chat at a networking event

The Alt Protein Project organizes events and conferences to stimulate discussion, cultivate new ideas, and get people excited about opportunities in alternative proteins. Generating enthusiasm on campus means that more students can take advantage of the university environment to explore alternative protein white spaces, both within and beyond the Alt Protein Project.

Media moguls from the EIT and Wageningen Alt Protein Projects created podcasts to engage with the biggest topics and news in the alternative protein sector.

Objective 5: Creating an inspiring, inclusive community

A group of students gathered around a table with books and laptops

The Alt Protein Project provides students and researchers with a fun, fulfilling, and inclusive community in which to explore questions and opportunities around alternative proteins. AltPro groups welcome a diverse and interdisciplinary membership to spur novel thinking, break down academic silos, and foster collaboration.

The Duke and Chapel Hill Alt Protein Projects collaborated to host a first-of-its-kind conference dedicated to “Making Alt Proteins the New Default.” With speakers from alternative protein startups, research programs, and government initiatives, their event triggered new career trajectories and professional collaborations for its more than 150 attendees.

Mountains at sunset

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Apply to the Alt Protein Project

Interested in bringing the alternative protein field to your university? Apply to join our community of student movement-builders around the globe.

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Become an industry partner with the Alt Protein Project

Thank you for offering to be an industry partner for our global community of alternative protein educators and student leaders!

An educator speaks to students in a classroom

Join the alt protein educator community

Join our alternative protein educator community and help bring alternative protein education into classrooms around the globe.

Tin rudnički
“I really enjoy catching up with what other chapters have been up to and getting their perspectives. So many awesome ideas…it’s very useful both as a collaboration tool and as an idea booster.”
Tin Rudnički, The Alt Protein Project at EIT Food
David omale
“The resources and recommendations from our regional mentors have been so helpful as it gave us the needed ideas to navigate the leadership challenges we have had and may encounter and also consider the ideas that may make the most impact in our universities.”
David Omale, The Nigeria Alt Protein Project
Alexis walker
“The most positive part was all of the support we received and the connections gained with other people. I loved that we got to know each other, and there was actually interest in assisting in any way possible.”
Alexis Walker, The Boulder Alt Protein Project
Zaihidi rusli
“Coming from a new chapter and a country that is slowly growing in the Alt Protein field, it opened my eyes on how the future holds many opportunities for alt proteins to become more mainstream in people’s diet.”
Zaihidi Rusli, The USM Alt Protein Project

Check out upcoming events

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Virtual Event

Sustainable proteins from novel sources (Next Generation Proteins for a Greener Tomorrow)

Join GFI’s Adam Leman, Ph.D., for a free webinar discussing the opportunities and benefits of fermentation.

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Virtual Event

The Business of Alt Protein: Effective marketing and communications for your B2B startup

Join a GFI-hosted seminar with experts Emilie Fitch, AnnaMaria White, and Nico Westermann to learn about developing an effective marketing and communications strategy for your alternative protein startup.

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Marriott Boston Quincy

Research Chef Association Conference

Discover the food revolution and understand how innovation fuels the core of Culinology® transformation at the 2024 RCA Conference.

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Anaheim Convention Center

Natural Products Expo West

Several members of GFI’s Corporate Engagement Team will be attending and speaking at Expo West, one of the leading natural products trade shows.

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Connect with us

If you would like help growing the alternative protein ecosystem at your university, please reach out to the Alt Protein Project team. You can also share student testimonials or helpful tips for our global community of alternative protein ecosystem-builders.

Related resources

College campus in the fall

The alt protein student resource hub

Use this repository of helpful tools, templates, tips, and tricks to turn your university into an engine for alternative protein innovation.

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Building alternative protein courses and majors

This guide lays out the steps to build alternative protein courses and majors at your university.

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Stimulating alternative protein research at your university

This guide will give you the skills and tools to kickstart alternative protein research at your university.

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Generating awareness about alternative proteins

In our guide, you’ll learn about the steps needed to raise awareness and excitement about alternative proteins throughout your university.

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Advancing solutions for alternative proteins

Explore commercial whitespaces, research gaps, technological needs, and investment priorities at each stage of the alternative protein value chain.