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The State of the Industry: Keynote Panel at Tufts’ National Institute for Cellular Agriculture

An all-star lineup kicks off the inaugural Cellular Agriculture Innovation Day at Tufts University with an overview of where we are as a field, industry, and discipline.

Published March 4, 2023 | Updated March 13, 2023 | Isha Datar

On January 19th I was honored to keynote the inaugural Cellular Agriculture Innovation Day at Tufts University alongside fellow change-makers in the space.

If you’ve been following New Harvest for a while, you know that Tufts is a big part of our story. We have been funding students at Tufts since 2016, deeply investing in individuals in David Kaplan’s lab, with the goal of de-risking government investments in cellular agriculture. Funding research is a key piece of our approach to movement building.

In October 2021, Kaplan and his team won a $10m grant from the USDA to establish the National Institute of Cellular Agriculture, a research center of excellence that involves investigators from multiple institutions and disciplines focused on developing a cell-grown meat platform and training the next generation of industry leaders and professionals.

Since then, the institute has launched the Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture Consortium with 9 founding members; and furthered its role as the world’s first university-wide cellular agriculture program, including a first-of-its-kind cellular agriculture certificate program.

The inaugural meeting brought together key leaders in the cell ag community to discuss the evolving state of the industry and review cutting-edge research, innovations and challenges. Here’s Tufts’ debrief of the event.

In the above keynote panel, we discuss, from our individual vantage points:

  • Current status: where we see the field today
  • Challenges: what we see as the major challenges in looking ahead
  • Vision: what we wish to see to move the field towards major impact in the near and far term

The TL;DR of my comments: let’s not lose focus on the tension of the mission goals of cellular agriculture against the market goals of venture capital investment. What values will guide technological progress going forward? How will we keep the mission – of a sustainable, humane, food system – front and center?

Let me know what you think!

Isha Datar
Executive Director, New Harvest | +1 780 236 5507

About the Authors
Isha Datar is Executive Director at New Harvest