Plant-based substitutes for meat, such as Beyond and Impossible, are taking the country by storm, but academics have not kept pace with the private sector.

To try and help, Good Food Institute is offering another Competitive Research Grant Program, with at least $3.1 million in awards, to advanced open-access plant-based meat substitute science.

Open-access data is a tenet of Science 2.0 and has been since our inception, so we're fans. The organization is anti-meat, so they want more plant products to advance that cause, but the free market sorts that stuff out, what is important is that they are giving grants with the proviso that the research be publicly available.

“With scientific advances made by private companies often protected as trade secrets, it is critical that a robust foundation of open-access data is built to support the entire sector and help bring plant-based and cultivated meat to the masses,” said The Good Food Institute Executive Director Bruce Friedrich.

Which is true, but academics patent their discoveries as well. And can continue to do so. An academic also faces a hurdle that corporations can barely survive - environmental groups opposed to science. As we have seen with Golden Rice, which creates a precursor to Vitamin A (and thus prevents blindness), activists used its public domain status to keep it tied up in courts and regulatory cycles. There was no company to hire lawyers. 

Good Food Institute is also supportive of better cell lines and animal-free media for true meat without animals even being involved, which will face the same challenges. So it is good that an organization is helping bring it more attention.

Download the RFP here.