February 2023 / Issue No. 43

Welcome to the February edition of Cultivated! In this edition you can download our 2022 annual report and hear from one of our seed grant recipients. We also discuss our recent submission to the Australian Government’s National Reconstruction Fund consultation, which details the importance of infrastructure to the sector - an issue we touch on multiple times in this edition.

Our 2022 Annual Report

Seed Grants

Our pilot seed grant program has been designed to attract new university researchers to apply their skills in disciplines such as tissue engineering and advanced manufacturing to the cellular agriculture field.

Grantees are awarded up to $5,000 in matched funding and will be receiving support throughout the program from industry experts and leading academics.

Our grantees will be starting their projects very soon, and we’re pleased to be profiling our first recipient, Megan Arden this month!

What will you be investigating this year?

I will be working with a team investigating consumer perception of cell-cultured meat, and specifically looking at the sensory perception of foods and how they are labelled.

How did you become interested in cellular agriculture?
I recently completed a Bachelor of Nutrition Science at Deakin University with a Food Innovation major. I have always been interested in the sustainability and feasibility of protein sources for future generations. So when I was approached for this project I felt it was a great opportunity to really become immersed in the problem and to help understand the barriers to acceptance with such products. Having a varied and broad industry background, this project is exciting as it will give me the opportunity to specialise and put what I have learnt at university into practice. And of course to dust off my lab coat!

How do you see cellular agriculture making a difference in the future?

Huge difference! As long as we can recognise how consumers perceive such advancements in food, in the hope to gauge their barriers of consumption as a way to secure the future. It will also ease the burden of traditional agriculture practices which will correspondingly ease the pressure on the environment.

What are the benefits for you in receiving a CAA seed grant - how might this assist you in your future career?

I am hoping that this will open some doors internationally in a sector that is in its infancy in Australia. Many countries are progressing in cellular technology and bringing this to market, which is really exciting to see. It’s exciting to see how these products are being accepted by consumers, how it is changing the supermarket landscape and the general perception of protein and its future.

We’re also looking for another student to participate in our Seed Grants program at Swinburne University. This new Masters of Science (Research) position is in collaboration with Me&, aiming to investigate and develop vascularised 3D model systems for organoids of the mammary gland.

To discuss the position, contact Dr Huseyin Sumer ( Applications due 24th March!

Project Description

National Reconstruction Fund submission

We’re happy to share our recent submission to the Australian Government’s National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) consultation on behalf of the sector, which was endorsed by thirteen organisations. The Government is establishing the $15 billion NRF, aiming to transform Australia’s economy and industries. The NRF will invest across a range of priority areas, two of which closely align with our mission at CAA: renewables and low emissions technologies, and value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.

We suggest mandating cellular agriculture as a critical industry for investment. In contrast to recent global trends, there has been no investment by the federal government in building our sovereign capability in cellular agriculture, beyond small innovation grants directly to entrepreneurs.

Investment in cellular agriculture will give us the opportunity to diversify and transform our food system in a way that contributes to climate change mitigation. We suggest that the NRF needs to embrace risk, seek opportunity and have the flexibility to invest in partnerships with private investors and venture capital to develop key infrastructure and accelerate growth of our sector.

Read More

The report also provides guidance on understanding future demand for these products, cost of production and potential future regulatory requirements in regions such as the EU, US and Singapore. We will be working to understand Australian-specific regulatory requirements (for a range of cellular agriculture products) in our upcoming work. We intend to create a knowledge management system that will support companies to navigate the certification and regulatory requirements for their products in Australia. We aim for this project to create a consistent path of least resistance to get cell ag products both approved for sale in and export from Australia.

By generating consistent and well-documented regulatory paths with bodies such as FSANZ, OGTR, TGA and local and state regulators, Australia can be seen as an attractive and accessible place for cell ag regulation.

New publication
Cellular Agriculture: a crucial opportunity for Australia


Job opportunities

A reminder that applications for two exciting positions at CAA, Head of Sector Development, and Head of Fundraising and Business Development, are closing soon! Get in touch with us to discuss these roles in more detail.

We also advertise a range of vacancies across the sector on our website.

Jobs Board

Future Alternative is Australia’s only dedicated news platform for the alternative protein sector. We’ll be working with Future Alternative in the coming months to highlight news that's relevant to our local cell agriculture industry. Some of the highlights of their cell ag reporting from the last month include:

Alternative proteins listed in Kerry’s Health & Nutrition Trends 2023: The Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute recently released their key trends for 2023. One trend identified was protein production’s future - explicitly mentioning cellular agriculture.

New Precision Fermentation Alliance: an ‘industry voice’: Change Foods is one of the founding companies of new trade organisation The Precision Fermentation Alliance, which is working to be an “industry voice and global convener for the precision fermentation industry.”

Serum-free media should be ‘table stakes’ for cultivated meat: This article dives into the latest in serum-free growth media. The Singapore Food Agency has given regulatory approval for the first time for serum-free media use in GOOD Meat’s products. Future Alternative also talks with Magic Valley and Vow about their work with serum-free media.

The work we carry out here at CAA wouldn't be possible without philanthropic support, which will be critical to help us grow to the next level.

To deliver our new projects, we are aiming to raise an additional $150,000 above budgeted income, that will enable us to resource aspects of our strategy.

If you have derived value from our work, and are excited by our strategic direction, please consider making a donation today.

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