Plant Protein Enhancement Project

Our Crops of the Future Consortium’s Plant Protein Enhancement Project is creating the necessary tools to feed the growing demand for plant-based proteins.

Program Contact

Dr. Jeff Rosichan

Development Contact

Catherine Maxwell

This program is no longer accepting applications

Key Dates

  • Full Applications Due by October 9, 2019
  • Award Notification: Spring 2020
  • Anticipated Project Start Date: Fall 2020

What We Are Looking For

Specifically, the Plant Protein Enhancement Program seeks research on the following topics:

  1. Genomic resources and a technology toolbox for new or underutilized protein crops;
  2. Enhancing the functional and nutritional properties of plant proteins for plant-based food applications; or
  3. Performing market-based analyses for new or underutilized and/or production systems of proteins for plant-based food.

Research topics not covered by this initiative:

  • Molecular mechanisms of pathogen transmission, pathogenicity or disease resistance.
  • Food safety-related research and traceability.
  • Protein improvement specific for animal and aquaculture feed use.

All applicants must make a minimum request of $300,000.

Matching funds are not required for this program.

About the Plant Protein Enhancement Project

Plant proteins, including peas, beans and lentils, are nutritionally important protein sources.

Population growth and expanding food industry uses for animal-based protein alternatives are driving an increasing global demand.

Most commercially available plant-based protein ingredients come from only two percent of the 150-plant species on which our food supply depends. Understanding the genetics and breeding of these plants can uncover new plant protein crops and produce increases in yield, robustness and disease resistance. This research can also decrease the cost of these plants, making them more attractive to farmers.

To enhance the protein yield of plant-based staple crops and decrease costs, our Crops of the Future Collaborative launched the Plant Protein Enhancement Project. Co-funded by the Open Philanthropy Project, this competitive research program funds grants to enhance the supply chain for plant-based protein in a profitable and sustainable manner.

Plant Protein Enhancement Project Awarded Grants

Improving Protein Content & Quality in Peas

Awarded Amount $612,257   
Year 2021
Matching Funders Benson Hill, Keygene, Syngenta, University of Minnesota

Capitalizing on the Unique Viscoelastic Properties of Corn Zein for A New Commercial Plant-Based Protein

Awarded Amount $387,556   
Year 2021
Matching Funders Open Philanthropy

Increasing total protein content in pea using large-scale phenotyping and targeted breeding with genomic selection

Awarded Amount $1,012,500   
Year 2021
Matching Funders Benson Hill, Keygene, Syngenta, North Dakota State University, Open Philanthropy

See all Plant Protein Enhancement Project Awarded Grants

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