Horizon Europe, a European Union funding program for research and innovation, announced today that it has 32 million euros in funding for research in more sustainable protein options such as cultured meat and plant-based alternatives. The program aims to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and it is the largest funding earmarked specifically for sustainable protein to date.
There are three categories of projects supported by Horizon Europe funding for researchers:
- Fill the gaps in nutrition, safety and allergenicity of alternative proteins, then assess the environmental footprints of these products. Budget – 11 million euros.
- Develop sustainable protein crop systems and value chains with the facilitation of best practices between farmers
Budget – 9 million euros
- Focus on food environments and aim to ensure that consumers are able to make healthy and sustainable food choices when in restaurants and supermarkets. Budget – 12 million euros
Food security is a global issue due to continued population growth and climate change. By 2050, it is estimates that 9.7 billion people will inhabit the planetyet the resources and land available for food production on Earth are limited. To feed so many people, it would take double the current amount of food production. According to the Good Food Institute, plant-based meat substitutes use 47-99% less land than conventional meat. The same GFI report said that 77 percent of all available farmland is used for animal agriculture, yet animal agriculture only provides 17 percent of the world’s food supply. This type of inefficiency would make it difficult to meet the necessary food requirements by 2050.
The Good Food Institute Europe, along with 21 other organizations, sent a letter to the European Commission imploring them to consider allocating funds to research and development of more sustainable proteins. This is not the first time that governments have mobilized to fund this type of research. The Spanish government granted BioTech Foods 5.2 million euros (US $ 6.3 million) in early 2021 for the company’s cultured meat project, which involved studying the health benefits of meat of culture. NovaMeat also received € 250,000 (~ $ 307,500) in funding from the Spanish government earlier this year to further develop its alternatives to 3D printed meat. In the United States, UC Davis received a $ 3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for cultured meat research last September.
The Horizon Europe program will run until 2027, and those interested in applying for a grant through Horizon Europe for these three projects can apply. here.