Alt.Meat Lab receives funding to help startups develop alternatives to animal products

UC Berkeley’s Alternative Meats (Alt.Meat) Lab has received $125,000 from the Open Philanthropy Project to support research and development of animal product alternatives.

The Alt.Meat Challenge Lab was created in 2017 at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology to give UC Berkeley students the skills necessary to develop sustainable, nutritious and affordable alternatives to animal-based products.

According to Ricardo San Martin, director of the Alt.Meat Lab, the change that the lab hopes to create needed more resources for students than a single class. The Open Philanthropy Project’s grant will allow SCET to significantly expand the program and increase research opportunities.

“This will allow a richer understanding of the complexities involved in taking this industry to its next level, by leveraging UC Berkeley’s vast resources — both STEM and non-STEM — in conjunction with a powerful network of companies, startups, venture capitalists and incubators,” San Martin said.

Students in the Alt.Meat program have been able to present their findings at SCET’s bi-annual Collider Cup, and San Martin has shared the program’s work at conferences in the space, including the Good Food Conference in September 2018.

The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings. Its mission is to give as effectively as it can and share its findings openly so that anyone can build on its work.

“Right now, there is a lot of excitement about meat alternatives and how their production may affect the environment, animal welfare, and human health,” San Martin said. “But unfortunately, there is not a lot of publicly available research about how companies are developing these products. With this gift from Open Philanthropy, students and researchers will be able to share their discoveries and help us learn more about this emerging industry.”

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