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Imperial College London to host UK's first Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein
Melissa Bradshaw

Melissa Bradshaw

24 June 2024

Imperial College London to host UK's first Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein

The Bezos Earth Fund is establishing its first UK-based Centre for Sustainable Protein at Imperial College London, backed by $30m in funding.


Imperial’s Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein will aim to develop innovative and evidence-based solutions through the design, delivery and commercialisation of alternative food products that are economically and environmentally friendly, nutritious and tasty.


The centre, launching today, will span across seven of Imperial’s academic departments. It will accelerate research into AI and machine learning, precision fermentation, cell-based meat, bioprocessing and automation, and nutrition.


The $30 million centre is part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s wider $100 million commitment to developing sustainable protein alternatives and expanding consumer choice, with an overall $1 billion commitment to food transformation. It is one of multiple Earth Fund Centres working with other institutions and industry partners to develop and commercialise new alternative protein products.


Wider uptake of alternative proteins – such as plant-based proteins, cell-based meat, and proteins made through microbial fermentation technology – relies on improvements in their quality and price, as well as reductions in cost and energy use.


Additionally, to transform these proteins into healthy and tasty food, other components like healthy fats, carbohydrates and flavours must be produced more sustainably and efficiently.


Engineering biology applies concepts to design, build and manufacture cells and products. The new centre at Imperial will use a combination of rational and computational-guided engineering strategies with automation at biofoundries – where cells are turned into ‘mini-factories,’ producing useful products – to accelerate the development and scaling up of new bio-based processes.


It will also encompass institutes and facilities that will help translate discoveries into real-world applications and support commercialisation. These include the Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Centre for Translational Nutrition & Food Research.


Hugh Brady, president of Imperial College London, commented: “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.”


He added: “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”.


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.”


#BezosEarthFund #ImperialCollegeLondon #UK

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