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Bezos Earth Fund boost for Welsh food research

Dr David Bryant

ABERYSTWYTH University research will benefit from being part of $30 million Bezos Earth Fund grant to make global food systems more environmentally friendly, in a global project led by Imperial College London.

Funding for the Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein will help develop alternative food products that are economically and environmentally friendly as well as nutritious, affordable, and tasty.

The new Centre will advance research into precision fermentation, cultivated meat, bioprocessing and automation, nutrition, and AI and machine learning.

The Bezos Earth Fund is providing the funding as part of a $100 million commitment to developing sustainable protein alternatives and expanding consumer choice, and an overall $1 billion commitment to food transformation.

The new Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein is one of a number of Earth Fund Centres working with other institutions and industry partners to develop and commercialise new alternative protein products to give consumers more choice for meat and dairy products.

Dr David Bryant from the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University said: “It’s fantastic to be a key partner in this new centre. We know that feeding a growing global population in a sustainable way is central to the world’s efforts to combat climate change.

“Protein is essential to human health; without it our cells, tissues, and organs can’t function. As the global population expands, the health of both humans and the planet will increasingly depend on widespread availability of proteins that taste good and are produced in ways that reduce emissions and protect nature.

“Working with the agri-food industry, we can use this investment to help steer and accelerate the path to net zero.”

The Centre’s hub will be based at Imperial College London, with Aberystwyth University one of three spokes in the UK. There will also be three abroad, with more than 65 international partners spanning cutting-edge research and innovation to commercialisation of new products.

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, said: “Food security is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. For a sustainable future, we need to ensure that people across the world can be fed adequately and nutritiously with minimal impact on biodiversity, climate and our wider natural environment.

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“Imperial has the leading-edge research, innovation, partnerships and convening power to advance global food systems and we are very excited by the potential of our new Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein.”

Dr Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Earth Fund said: “The Bezos Earth Fund is proud to support Imperial as the home of our second sustainable protein centre. By 2050 the world population will be over 10 billion, so now is the time to rethink the way we produce and consume food. This work will help ensure that our future includes more protein options – and that they taste great, are nutritious and come at low cost.”