Food tech call on alternative proteins for R&D and innovation projects between Sweden, Israel, Switzerland and Singapore
The national funding bodies from Sweden, Israel, Switzerland and Singapore have allocated funding for organisations collaborating on international R&D and innovation projects in the field of alternative proteins.
You can submit your R&D and innovation project application for this call for projects between 11 September 2023 and 26 February 2024. Your project consortium must include:
- Organisations based in a minimum of two of the countries listed in this call.
The parties listed above must be unrelated parties (i.e., no direct, indirect, beneficial, or constructive ownership interest between these parties). Multilateral projects between all countries listed in this call are also encouraged.
Universities and research institutes can participate according to national funding rules in each of the participating countries.
This call is for R&D and innovation projects in the field of alternative proteins with priority given to plant-based, fermentation-derived and cultivated meat and seafood. Hybrid products and enabling technologies, such as plant molecular farming, are also included in the scope. In short, this call aims to promote alternatives to protein from living animals.
Trend forecasts predict that the demand for healthy and sustainable food, including alternative proteins, is about to increase. Research has made it clear that a dietary shift is essential for implementing the Agenda 2030. Transnational collaborations can contribute for example by intertwining leading expertise and important infrastructure which in turn can accelerate technical development, broaden perspectives and increase the understanding of societal developments and unfolding market opportunities.
Collaborations in the field of alternative proteins can increase sustainable food production, strengthen corporate competitiveness, provide new job opportunities, and develop future skills supply. It might enable increased export opportunities as well as a higher rate of self-sufficiency, resilience, and preparedness. This call applies to alternative proteins for human consumption.
The following areas are prioritised:
Plant-based food products play a key role in enhancing public health and protecting environmental integrity, especially when using a wide range of plant-based food sources, such as beans, peas, lentils, grains, nuts, seeds, algae and edible mushrooms.
Projects can target various challenges that hamper further growth of the plant-based sector, such as issues related to taste, texture, nutrient bioavailability, and price parity. Efforts are needed to address shortcomings in the entire plant-based value chain - from cultivation, through processing, to trade and consumers.
As an example, to enhance taste, texture and nutrient bioavailability of plant-based food products, emerging processing techniques can be combined with mature processing techniques (such as traditional fermentation).
Biomass fermentation and precision fermentation are examples of new fermentation techniques for the production of alternative proteins.
Fungal protein (mycoprotein) is produced through whole biomass fermentation. The microorganism that is produced through this process is in itself the key ingredient for the protein rich product.
There is potential to explore new collaborations between large-scale industrial projects and food production to take advantage of synergies and sustainable resource utilisation. Residues and waste streams from one industry could serve as a valuable input material for others. Fungal protein is sometimes referred to as mycoprotein.
Another way to utilise fermentation is through the production of specific ingredients used as input to produce the next level alternatives to animal products such as dairy and eggs. This approach is referred to as precision fermentation. By changing the genetics in the microorganism used as a fermentation agent, i.e., the fungi and/or bacteria, new possibilities can be unlocked to produce ingredients that can enhance the culinary experience in animal free products.
Cultivated meat and seafood
The scope of the call also includes cultivated meat and seafood as alternatives to protein from living animals. This meat and seafood are produced through animal cell culture. Cultivated meat and seafood are sometimes called cell-cultivated, cell-cultured or lab-grown meat and seafood.
Cultivated meat and seafood could serve as the preferred alternative for consumers not attracted by plant-based food. Unlike many plant-based alternatives, cultivated meat and seafood contain nutrients with high bioavailability, including minerals like iron and zinc. However, several challenges must be addressed for commercial production and price parity.
Hybrid products and enabling technologies
Various techniques, used for producing plant-based alternatives, fermentation-derived alternatives and cultivated meat and seafood, could be combined. For example, plant molecular farming can be used to produce specific ingredients important for the alternative protein space. Enabling technologies to produce alternative proteins (such as growth factors, ingredients, downstream process, etc.) are also included in the scope of the call.
Your project should:
- address at least one of the fields mentioned in the call description and
- demonstrate the potential to research or develop a product, process or service for commercialisation.
Relevant industry sectors include (but are not limited to):
- Food industry
11 September 2023: Call opens
26 February 2024 at 15:00 (CET - Brussels time): Submission deadline Eureka application
29 February 2024 at 14:00: Submission deadline for Swedish applications to Vinnova
September 2024: Projects start
Attend a webinar on the 25 October 2023 at 10:00-11:00. A registration link will be available soon.
Attend the Connector matchmaking event on 13-14 November 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Connector for Transformational Food Systems of Tomorrow is an innovation accelerator aiming to connect the leading actors of the Israeli FoodTech scene with the equivalents in the Swedish area in order to explore possibilities of long-lasting mutually beneficial innovation collaboration.
To participate in the matchmaking event, Swedish SMEs can apply for a travel grant from Vinnova in advance. The travel grant can cover travel and accommodation costs up to 25,000 Swedish krona.
- SMEs up to 50% of eligible costs,
- large companies up to 30% of eligible costs and
- universities and research institutes up to 100% of eligible costs.
The total grant from Vinnova is maximum 50% of eligible costs for the joint Swedish project consortium up to the maximum amount of 3 million Swedish Krona, SEK (around 250 000 Euro).
Israel (Israel Innovation Authority):
The support is in the form of a conditional grant amounting generally up to 50% (+ regional incentives for companies located in "development zone ") of the eligible R&D budget. Further details regarding grants and payment of royalties are available at the Innovation Authority web site here:
- grant of up to 70 % of project costs for start-ups,
- grant up to 50% of project costs for SMEs
- grant up to 25 % to large companies
- grant up to 100% to universities/ research organisations.
A university or research organisation has to be involved in the international consortium. A total of maximum 70% of the project costs can be covered by Innosuisse.
Singapore (Enterprise Singapore):
Grant of up to 70% (startups and SMEs) or 50% (non-SMEs) of the total qualified project costs by the Singapore company.
Funding will only be provided to projects that are positively evaluated by all relevant participating national funding bodies. Funding of project partners is subjected to budgetary availability and national funding conditions stipulated by each national funding body.
If there is no allocated budget for your organisation type in your country and you want to participate in a project consortium, contact your national funding body to see whether there are other funding opportunities available or talk to them about self-funding.
Eureka has limited eligibility criteria for organisations participating in a Network projects consortium:
- Your project idea must represent international cooperation in the form of a specific project.
- The project must be directed at researching or developing an innovative product, process or service with the goal of commercialisation.
- The project must have a civilian purpose.
- Your consortium must include at least two independent legal entities from a minimum of two Eureka countries
- No single organisation or country can be responsible for more than 70% of the project budget.
This call for projects has additional criteria for organisations to be eligible to receive funding:
- The project must benefit all involved partners.
- The project should have an obvious benefit and added value resulting from the technological cooperation between the participants from the different countries (e.g., increased knowledge base, commercial leads, access to R&D infrastructure etc.).
- The product or process must be innovative and with the potential to create impact.
- The maximum duration of a project may not exceed 36 months.
- A signed consortium agreement is required upon approval, before the actual start of the project. It ought to include, amongst other things, the ownership and use of know-how and intellectual property rights settlements.
- Contact your national funding body using the contact form on Eureka’s website to discuss your project idea, financial viability, eligibility and national procedures.
- Create an account on our application portal (one per consortium) and select the funding opportunity you want to apply to.
- Using the portal, complete one application form per consortium (in English) and invite other consortium partners to fill in a partner form.
- Upload a GANTT chart (one per consortium), a signed and completed co-signature form (which you can download from the platform) and any additional required annexes.
- Your application will be checked for completeness and eligibility before being reviewed using a standard evaluation procedure. If successful, your project will receive a Eureka label
- Your national funding body may carry out a further evaluation (performed by your national contact and technical experts) according to national rules before allocating funds to successful applicants.
- The final step is to complete and sign a consortium agreement. We recommend that you seek legal advice when drafting your consortium agreement.
Your project application will be reviewed according to our Network projects evaluation methodology.
- Is the market properly addressed (i.e. size, access and risks)?
- Is the value creation properly addressed (i.e. employment opportunities and environmental and societal benefits)?
- What are the competitive advantages of your project (i.e. strategic importance, enhanced capabilities and visibility)?
- Are your commercialisation plans clear and realistic (i.e. return on investment, geographical and sectoral impact)
- What is the degree of innovation? (i.e. is the proposed product, process or service state-of-the-art? Is there sufficient technological maturity and risk)?
- How is the new knowledge going to be used?
- Is your project scientifically and technically challenging for consortium partners?
- Is the technical achievability and risk properly addressed?
3. Quality and efficiency of implementation
- What is the quality of your consortium (i.e. balance of the partnership and technological, managerial and financial capabilities of each partner)?
- Is there added value through international cooperation?
- Is your project management and planning realistic and clearly defined (i.e. methodology, planning approach, milestones and deliverables)?
- Is your cost structure reasonable (i.e. costs and financial commitment for each consortium partner)?
4. Overall perception
Experts will list three positive and negative points to your application and finally state whether they recommend your project for public investment.
Your national funding body may carry out a further evaluation (performed by the national project coordinator and technical experts) according to national rules before allocating funds to successful applicants.
Your project application will be reviewed according to additional national evaluation processes.
In addition to the Eureka application, Swedish participants must apply to the national call on Vinnova's website.
In Israel, the Israeli partner must submit the National Application Form in accordance with Israel Innovation Authority regulations.
In addition, Swiss participants apply on the Innosuisse's website.