Rethinking Our Grant Programs

With our new mission, New Harvest is taking our programming back to the lab.

Published September 16, 2021 | Updated October 4, 2021 | Isha Datar

Last year, we updated our mission from “build the field of cellular agriculture” to “maximize the positive impact of cellular agriculture.” What appears to be a subtle change actually reflects a monumental shift in thinking.

Over the last several years, we’ve seen our grantees become important founders and scientific leaders at companies. New Harvest built the field of cellular agriculture by empowering industry leaders who raise funds, employ people, and advance private sector science. It’s an incredible story of leadership development driven by donor support.

If we are to maximize the positive impact of cellular agriculture, however, New Harvest needs to empower more than just industry players.

In the spirit of reinvention, we are ending this chapter of our grant programs to start a new one. We will be supporting our grantees for the entirety of their grants, but New Harvest will not be accepting further applications for our research fellowship, seed grant, or dissertation award.

So what’s next? 

In the coming year, we will be experimenting with new programs focused on empowering emerging leaders. We’re not sure what these programs will look like—they might be similar to the programs of yesteryear, they might be very different!—we just know that it’s time to realign our programming to our new mission. 

Will we keep funding science? Most likely! Public research is still a terribly neglected aspect of cellular agriculture. But we need to be more strict about values alignment and open access in the research we do fund so we can make room for values-aligned projects that may not take place in a wet lab. 

We’ll keep you posted on what develops! In the meantime, if you have ideas for what kind of leaders are missing from cellular agriculture and how we can use our funding to pull them in, don’t hesitate to drop me a note at isha@new-harvest.org.


About the Authors
Isha Datar is Executive Director at New Harvest