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Cultivated Meat Innovation Challenge: Seeking Pioneering Solutions to Drive Down the Cost of Cell Culture Media

In terms of scaling up production and bringing down prices, open-access research will be essential to reduce the cost of animal component-free cell culture media, increase the availability of cell lines, improve scaffolding – used to support cell growth and recreate the complex fibrous texture seen in conventionally produced meat – and build larger and more efficient bioreactors for the cells to grow in.

The first of these – animal component-free cell culture media – currently represents the majority of current cultivated meat production costs. While cultivated meat manufacturers and academic researchers have made significant progress in reducing costs and developing medium formulations for various cell types and cultivated species, pricing and large-scale availability of species-specific and food-grade versions of cell culture media components remains a challenge.

We are soliciting proposals which can address this through at least one of the two following approaches:

1. Developing media recycling technologies or other ways to remove or metabolise ammonia, lactate, and other waste products in cell cultures.

2. Developing a low-cost cell culture media for species-relevant cells that incorporates food-grade hydrolysates and non-animal-based solutions to reduce the need for (or cost of) recombinant proteins and growth factors. Applicants are encouraged to incorporate feed-grade ingredients when possible. The media formulation should perform as well or better than an equivalent serum-containing media based on standard assays for cell growth and proliferation. This could involve some of the following approaches:

  • Assessing cell culture media based on plant- or yeast-based hydrolysates to understand the raw material sources that perform best for cultivated meat applications and provide insights on how to limit variability and improve reproducibility.
  • Analysing the performance of feed-grade ingredients in cell culture medium.
  • Comparative analyses between species-specific versions of growth factors.
  • Exploring methods to reduce the required amounts (or cost) of recombinant proteins and growth factors including, but not limited to: (1) engineering more potent or thermostable variants, (2) developing encapsulated or slow-release systems, (3) using conditioned medium from other animal cell lines, and/or (4) discovering biofunctionally-equivalent plant-based homologues for animal growth factors.


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How to Submit


Please fill out the form below to submit your application between June 1, 2022 and September 30, 2022 at 12:00am CET (midnight).

Questions? Please email prizebasedchallenge@eitfood.eu
Visit the Rules and Regulations for more information


Please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Solutions are expected to rely on existing and recognised technical or scientific knowledge (recent or not) while bringing a new, original perspective.
  • Solutions are expected to demonstrate a maturity level consistent with a go-to-market within a reasonable amount of time not exceeding 2 to 3 years. TRL requirement 4 and up (lab or pilot scale validation).
  • The Participant submitting the Application should have a significant technical or scientific background & competencies in the domains of the Challenge.
  • The Participant submitting the Application should demonstrate an appetite to further develop its solutions as to bring it to the market and create an impact.
  • The Participant is expected to demonstrate an understanding of the societal/ethical dimension and impact associated with their proposed solution and the topic chosen.
  • The Participant is encouraged to form, and be part of, a group submitting together an Application.
  • All proposals must be non-confidential.
  • We aim to improve environmental sustainability, human health, and animal welfare. To that end, we want to be cognizant of how the research we support impacts these areas. Researchers must demonstrate a good-faith effort to identify any aspects of their research that present environmental, human health, and animal welfare hazards and to attempt to find suitable alternatives that mitigate these hazards. Therefore funds cannot be used for any test, experiment, or any other activity whatsoever that could reasonably be expected to cause harm and/or death to animals.


You can find answers to the most common questions in the FAQ





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