Tufts University launches cellular agriculture consortium to develop ‘foods of the future’
The Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture (TUCCA) has launched a new consortium to help drive innovation within the sector.
Non-profit groups and businesses will work together non-competitively within the consortium by sharing knowledge and methods and supporting research.
By moving away from competition-driven innovation, TUCCA says organisations can join forces to overcome fundamental challenges and develop standards which ultimately advance the sector entirely.
Some of the areas which consortium members will be focussed on including testing new types of growth media, finding methods to minimise environmental impacts and exploring ways to drive the cost of cultivated meat down as a whole.
Beyond these topics, TUCCA says consortium members will confer and decide among themselves which challenges take priority and allocate research and resources accordingly.
“The pre-competitive research we do together will help build the foundation of technology for the industry,” said Christel Andreassen, Associate Director of TUCCA.
“These efforts may be outside the main business focus of the individual members, or beyond the scope of capability for any one member to address. Pooling our expertise across disciplines and resources will be key.”
All projects will be supported by an annual fee paid by consortium members. Additionally Tufts will act as a support to members, by providing access to university staff and resources from “across multiple fields, from biology and engineering, to nutrition and veterinary medicine,” according to Bernard Arulanandam, Vice Provost for Research at Tufts.
News of the TUCCA consortium follows the creation of an Israeli cultivated meat consortium earlier this year. The Israel Innovation Authority formed the group using a $20.4M grant, and founding members included Aleph Farms, BioBetter and SuperMeat.
Though the Tufts consortium is still in its early stages, TUCCA Director and Engineering Professor David Kaplan has encouraged other relevant organisations to join if interested. Doing so, he suggested, could provide invaluable business opportunities to companies.
“Joining us at the table will enable a company or organisation with an interest in cellular agriculture to provide input on the projects to be funded by the consortium, and early access to the technology and knowledge that comes out of those projects,” Kaplan said.