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Bezos Earth Fund boost for Welsh food research

25 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Dr David Bryant from the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University

Aberystwyth University researchers will benefit from being part of $30 million Bezos Earth Fund grant to make global food systems more environmentally friendly.

Funding for the Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein will help develop alternative food products that are economically and environmentally friendly as well as nutritious, affordable, and tasty.

The new Centre will advance research into precision fermentation, cultivated meat, bioprocessing and automation, nutrition, and AI and machine learning.

Funding from the fund is part of a $100 million commitment to developing sustainable protein alternatives and expanding consumer choice, and an overall $1 billion commitment to food transformation.

Alternative protein products

The new Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein is one of a number of Earth Fund Centres working with other institutions and industry partners to develop and commercialise new alternative protein products to give consumers more choice for meat and dairy products.

Dr David Bryant from the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University said: “It’s fantastic to be a key partner in this new centre. We know that feeding a growing global population in a sustainable way is central to the world’s efforts to combat climate change.

“Protein is essential to human health; without it our cells, tissues, and organs can’t function. As the global population expands, the health of both humans and the planet will increasingly depend on widespread availability of proteins that taste good and are produced in ways that reduce emissions and protect nature.

“Working with the agri-food industry, we can use this investment to help steer and accelerate the path to net zero.”

The Centre’s hub will be based at Imperial College London, with Aberystwyth University one of three spokes in the UK. There will also be three abroad, with more than 65 international partners spanning cutting-edge research and innovation to commercialisation of new products.

The UK spokes are grouped under members of the Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub at UCL and Aberystwyth University, the Food Centre at Reading University, and the Growing Kent & Medway consortium involving the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the Universities of Kent and Greenwich.

International spokes are hosted by the Technical University of Denmark (Biosustain), Tufts University (Centre for Cellular Agriculture), and the National University of Singapore.

Food security

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, said: “Food security is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.

“For a sustainable future, we need to ensure that people across the world can be fed adequately and nutritiously with minimal impact on biodiversity, climate and our wider natural environment.

“Imperial has the leading-edge research, innovation, partnerships and convening power to advance global food systems and we are very excited by the potential of our new Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein.”

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