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UKRI research council pledges £20M towards sustainable protein R&D

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2 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Vegan sashimi with mustard aside

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has earmarked at least £20 million towards the development of more sustainable protein sources.

The BBSRC is the UK’s biggest public funder of non-medical bioscience, and is one of the nine councils that make up UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – the Government’s non-departmental public body that funds innovation and research in the country.

In its 2022-2025 strategic delivery plan, the BBSRC says it will use the money to fund “capacity building, research, innovation and business-led commercialisation” in the sustainable protein sector. The £20 million sum forms a part of UKRI’s wider £7.9 billion annual budget.

The research council will work with Innovate UK – the national innovation agency – to distribute the funding.

In its plan, BBSRC said it would play a “pivotal role” in delivering the Government’s Innovation Strategy by providing “leadership and smart connections that will incentivise and support bioscientists to be enterprising”, as well as by connecting entrepreneurs with bioscientists.

News of the funding has been welcomed by the Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe), one of the leading NGOs supporting the development of plant-based meat, cultivated meat and fermentation in the region.

GFI Europe Science and Technology Manager Seren Kell said: “It’s great to see one of Britain’s biggest funding bodies investing in research that will help make sustainable proteins more appealing and affordable, and help to establish the UK as a world leader in this growing industry.”

Countries worldwide are increasingly backing the development of ‘greener’ proteins. Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order backing biotechnologies such as cellular agriculture and microbial fermentation.

And back in April, the Danish government also announced an investment of millions towards the advancement of plant-based R&D in the country.


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