Before there was a cellular agriculture institute, textbook, or PhD program, there were more than 100 cellular agriculture companies around the world.
If cellular agriculture is a city, it is one without public infrastructure. There are privately owned “houses” popping up everywhere, but the roads, bridges, sewers, and public squares – all of which are crucial to a thriving ecosystem – are yet to be built. What is the likelihood of success for this emerging community without this critical infrastructure?
Cellular agriculture must build up its open infrastructure to succeed.
On the surface one might imagine that simply pouring public funding into the classic institution would address this problem. However, it is unlikely that such an atypical, non-traditional industry would benefit from typical, traditional institutional support. There is little chance that traditional institutional support will keep up with the pace of private innovation and be deeply productive for the field at large.
This is where we introduce OpenCellAg, a critical initiative to advance foundational knowledge and tools for the cellular agriculture industry.
As a joint venture with CULT Food Science, OpenCellAg is a first-of-its-kind Network of Excellence that will gather and manage projects and partners who can support the execution and advise the creation of foundational cellular agriculture infrastructure, methods and knowledge to be shared globally with the goal of accelerating the development of the industry.
Think of it as the public-private partnership clearinghouse for the field.
Why should a heavily privatized field invest in open infrastructure? Our partner, Lejjy Gafour of CULT, said it best:
“Common frameworks and open knowledge exist in many other industries and can be a fundamental step towards the adoption of new technologies more broadly. Cellular agriculture as an industry is relatively new and has yet to develop openly available common tools and techniques that can be utilized by both businesses and researchers in their early stages to accelerate the development of their work.”
OpenCellAg came out of our Infrastructure Project, funded by Consecon Foundation, Farvue Foundation and Sara Murray. The project aimed to answer the question: What is the ideal research infrastructure for cellular agriculture? Check out the site and follow along for progress updates.