Bonus Awards

XPRIZE competitions sometimes offer bonus awards to incentivize team progress towards the competition criteria:

We are considering bonus awards for:

    Accelerating the production of animal-free, affordable growth media (for cell-based approaches). Ensuring biodiversity of crops used (for plant-based approaches) to avoid resource extraction.

Do you agree such awards would be worthwhile? Are there other bonuses you think we should incentivize teams towards?

@davidsands, @lecoutre, @shasnain, do you think these worth be worthwhile milestone awards for teams competing in an alternative meat XPRIZE competition?

Hi Nick,

thanks for raising this point and for keeping me in the loop. It will be key these milestone awards are measurable. So, I think the first one is reasonable and for the second one I am curious to learn more. Cheers, Johannes

Hi! Thank you for including me in this.

  • I find the second point on biodiversity conservation a bit more compelling - although specifying scale would be important - unfortunately this still limits the discussion to just crop production, which might be detrimental to the road map on the whole.
  • The acceleration of animal free alternatives could be worthwhile - but with an examination of their impact on the food system as a whole. What I mean by this is that if cell-based production of meat alternatives were scaled up, what implications would this have for the rest of the food system beyond just livestock production, land use, and water use. Analyses would have to go beyond LCAs
  • Worthwhile milestone awards might consider the creation/encouragement of enabling regulatory and policy environments to drive these alternative methods, creating/accelerating the 'foundation' processes that alternative meat production needs (e.g. bioreactors, growth medium production, etc.), and creating checks and balances to make sure that our current bad practices are not simply transferred over to this new technological process (e.g. outsourcing production and externalities to other countries, continued cross-continental trade, and harming livelihoods).

Some thoughts, can discuss as needed!



The future of food - is not the future of carbohydrate storage or animals or fake foods, but *knowledge *of how our food words in our bodies and independent understanding and use of foods we make available to ourselves. We can grow and harvest food at home, indoors with the main indgredients- light and substrate. We usually think of food substrate as soil, but soil is a substrate holding all the micro components that support the suspended plants on the earth, in a pot or on other plants…

We don’t need 3d printers or labs to make our food - except if we want our food to be commerically viable for those commercial producers. Look at the fungi revolution, where people are now re-learning these bases of life as excellent food sources and excellent ecological resources for issues as vast as conservation, re-conservation and restoration (think: Paul Stamets and the oil sands restored with fungi in mere days…) Fungi fit everywhere, and will grow just about anywhere - and the fungi are the basis for life along with chlorophyll and light! Our meat/animals consume the grasses and earth vitality and we consume the animals as meat - but fake food cannot have these extraordinary ingredients! One issue, then, is a world not cash-dependent, but fungi and knowledge rich! There is the wealth!

@lecoutre thank you for your thoughts regarding creating milestones that are measurable. What other milestones or innovations should be prioritized?

@shasnain it’s very interesting to hear your thoughts about incentivizing the creation/encouragement of enabling regulatory and policy environments to drive these alternative methods, creating/accelerating the ‘foundation’ processes that alternative meat production needs (e.g. bioreactors, growth medium production, etc.). With regards to scale, can you elaborate a bit more about scale as it pertains to biodiversity, and the potential upsides or downsides to this criteria?

@Janetlee thank you for your thoughts regarding fungi. How might we incentivize towards innovation in this area in terms of competition criteria?

Thanks all - we look forward to hearing your thoughts here.

@Kathleen_Hamrick - Probably the most useful thing here would be that all of this is dependent on the context and the boundaries of the analysis - what scale are the projects/milestones even about? This would influence what gets included/measured/tracked and what data is included.

Unfortunately I don’t know a lot about the most up-to-date biodiversity data, but it would come down the granularity at which data is available (and what of biodiversity is being looked at).

Here also would be useful to consider temporal scales - what methods are being used to look at what time scale, and is that an appropriate time-scale to consider given the challenges being addressed.

I’ve changed the name of this discussion to bonus awards to avoid confusion. We will most likely have milestones in the prize competition which teams must meet to qualify. Bonus awards, by contrast, are, well, a bonus.

@gmcevilly, @Amy_Proulx , @ScotBryson, it would be great to have your thoughts on this as well!

Hi Team,
@NickOttens Thanks for looping me in.
I’m extremely keen on including these elements into the competition.

Improving the production of animal-free, growth media for cell-based solutions and also any single cell organisms is a great idea. Biotechnology has an opportunity to scale at incredible speed and efficiency. There is a critical element to this success or failure however which lies in the inputs and outputs of these systems. The complexity to developing the serum replacement is extremely complex. There are many “ingredients” within this that can be created however some are simpler and better for the environment than others. Sugar based approaches using biological conversion can be very inefficient in terms of carbon utilization. Some of these process only use 1/3rd of the carbon the rest is released as CO2. Additionally the feedstocks for these sources can also be harmful and could incentivize a situation similar to what is happening with palm oil. All that being said I do strongly believe that this approach has an ability to scale faster and develop into a market that consumers will adopt much more universally than heavily processed meat alternatives such as beyond beef etc.

So in short, yes, please do include this. I’ll compete for this prize!

The biodiversity of crops used to avoid resource extraction is critical as well as an incentive to development of alternative cover crop tactics. Cover crops both remove carbon, retain soil, maintain biodiversity in microbiology in the soil and also can provide additional revenue for the farmers. Currently this is still such a new area of adoption within agriculture that it would be very helpful to have further focus here.

@themben, @Evans, do you have an opinion on this?

Growth media is currently the largest cost driver in the cultivated meat production process and is a major barrier for innovation in the sector. In 2013, Professor Mark Post of Mosa Meats produced a cultured meat burger for $330,000. By 2018, Memphis Meats reduced this cost down to $2,400 for a pound of lab-grown meat. Another startup, Future Meat Technologies, currently produces a pound of meat for $360 and wants to reduce this cost to between $2.30 and $4.50 in a matter of years. If a bonus award is offered for an animal cruelty free media alternative in the context of this prize competition, what cost should XPRIZE drive towards?

@Janetlee Mushrooms are an amazing source of protein and functional in so many ways!

Which criteria will be the most difficult for teams to meet?

Understanding bio available nutrition to humans and making that happen, insulin and the way it is needed and used in the body (how cells can access or not any of the food) insulin spiking and how insulin works in the body with food and insulin resistance when the bio availbility is NOT understood, vs intermittent fasting and autophagy, and outdoor field/soil/earth timing and processing with constant integrated nutritional return (permaculture farming). Instead of testing after the product is made, I recommend doing the health / nutrition testing all along the creation of the lab foods to insure healthy outcomes. Humans intrinsically check palatable status as a marker for nutrition/ satiety, but when the gut biome is polluted with, say, artifice and carbohydrates, the brain will crave and seek those for the gut - but the body will actually starve if the brain is in charge, so we need to make the gut healthy first to talk to the brain.

This is a wonderful idea,and we have the space and places to feed all in our parallel universe of plants on Earth… please take my comments to heart regarding nutrition in its real sense for live beings, not lab-created sawdust. Living foods, especially those based on fungi and microbiology with our basis of needed sunlight and chlorophyll based on our Earth’s trace nutrients besides the major nutrients, will be a start on success for this project; ignoring these will have an outcome of failure, disease and maybe even dead people who trusted science to feed them.

Thank you all for your feedback!

We have decided to include a bonus prize in the competition for the team that develops their analog using an animal-origin free growth medium at the lowest production cost, with a maximum threshold of $10 per liter.

In addition, we will have innovation awards for teams that place second or third place, or achieve high innovation in other capacities as determined by the judges.