News

Wageningen to provide Cellular Agriculture education and research

Published on
October 24, 2022

Today, the Dutch government confirmed the allocation of €60 million to support an ecosystem for cellular agriculture, the technology to produce animal products, such as meat and milk proteins, directly from animal and microbial cells. It is the world's largest financial support ever for cellular agriculture by a national government. Wageningen University & Research is one of the consortium partners and will work on education and research.

Education

In the Cellular Agriculture programme, WUR will develop three courses about precision fermentation, cultured meat, and the societal and sustainability aspects of cellular agriculture. The intention is that the Masters’ students taking these courses will specialise in this field. With sufficient student interest, a new Master’s programme may follow, which will be offered as a follow-up to several Bachelor’s programmes.

Research

Additional research capacity will also be created, particularly in the area of precision fermentation, by the appointment of a tenure tracker in this field and through investment in infrastructure. The programme will finance five PhD candidates in the fields of precision fermentation, protein structuring, food safety, and socio-economic aspects. In addition to the core programme, the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) will set up an open research programme.

Stimulus for protein transition

Wageningen professor Rene Wijffels of the Bio Process Engineering group is very enthusiastic: “The programme is a terrific stimulus for the protein transition. It connects with and builds on many of the areas of expertise at Wageningen University & Research. We work on animal cells, micro-organisms, and micro-algae here, and we can make an important contribution to this project. We will also contribute to research in the areas of social change, consumer behaviour, food safety, and sustainability.”

Collaboration with Maastricht and Delft

For education and research, WUR will closely collaborate with Maastricht University and Delft University of Technology.

Cellular Agriculture

All of the consortium's activities aim to give the Dutch cellular agriculture (CA) ecosystem a major boost over the next eight years, including by developing fundamental and applied CA knowledge, providing CA companies with facilities for upscaling, and training appropriately qualified CA staff. This will make the Netherlands more attractive as a business location for companies in the CA sector.

For the full message from the Cellular Agriculture Netherlands Foundation, please click here.

About the National Growth Fund

The government contribution was earmarked from the National Growth Fund in April this year with certain conditions. Implementation of the plan will commence under the coordination of Cellular Agriculture Netherlands Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.In addition to the once-off incentive of €60 million from the National Growth Fund, an extra €25 million of co-financing can be expected, bringing the total budget to €85 million. With the National Growth Fund, the cabinet is allocating €20 billion over the next five years to project investments in three areas with the most potential for structural and sustainable economic growth. For more information, please visit www.nationaalgroeifonds.nl.

Cellular Agriculture Netherlands Foundation

The Cellular Agriculture Netherlands Foundation is building a Dutch community of organisations that aim to create a healthy, sustainable sector around cellular agriculture, both in and outside of the Netherlands.

Participants include universities, startups, impact and sustainability organisations, value chain partners, and biotech accelerators, such as Blue Horizon, BPF, Catalyze, CE Delft, CellAg.org, CellRev, CoE Groen EC Food, DSM, Educated Choices Program, Foodvalley, FrieslandCampina, Geneus Biotech, Getinge/Applikon, Givaudan, HAS green academy, InHolland University of Applied Sciences, HollandBio, Innovation Quarter, KindEarth.Tech, LenioBio, LIOF, Meatable, Mosa Meat, New Harvest, NoPalm Ingredients, NouBio, Nutreco, Orange Light Ventures, Planet B.io, ProVeg NL, Rabobank, RESPECTfarms, University of Groningen, SDG NL, The Protein Brewery, Those Vegan Cowboys, Delft University of Technology, Unilever, Maastricht University, Upstream, and Wageningen University & Research. For more information, please visit www.cellulaireagricultuur.nl or the LinkedIn page.