'Pathways' tool Version 2 released to help students and professionals break into cellular agriculture
May 18, 2022 - 3 min read
Cellular Agriculture Australia (CAA) has updated their interactive tool ‘Pathways into Cellular Agriculture’ with the addition of non-STEM ‘Problems to Solve’. ‘Pathways’ is an initiative from CAA designed to drive more talent into cellular agriculture, an emerging industry and research field dedicated to producing animal products (such as meat, seafood, eggs, dairy, and leather) using cells rather than animals.
CAA initially developed ‘Pathways’ to assist students and job seekers in mapping technical STEM career pathways within areas of cellular agriculture research. But with the field rapidly growing, the focus has expanded to include the social, economic, cultural, and political dimensions of cellular agriculture that must be addressed if the industry is going to realise its potential once regulatory approval has been granted.
Version 2 incorporates current non-STEM research focus areas alongside those existing for STEM, creating a multidisciplinary tool that is reflective of the emerging needs of the industry and the diversity of talent needed to enter and power the field. Drawing on a range of existing publications and developed in consultation with research and industry experts, the initial non-STEM areas include public perception, policy and regulation, funding and investment, transition research, and commerce. The tool’s target user groups are high school and university students, graduates, and professionals who are curious about a career in cellular agriculture and want to explore current research focus areas.
“Students want to know what sorts of roles are out there, and what skills and knowledge will qualify them to be employed and to succeed in those roles,'' says Founder of CAA, Dr Bianca Le.
“Increasingly, professionals in adjacent industries are also reaching out to us to learn how they can apply their existing expertise to forge a new career pathway into cellular agriculture.”
Dr. Sam Perkins, CAA’s incoming CEO, adds, “The ‘Pathways’ tool acts as a bridge for people who are inspired to play a part in advancing cellular agriculture but are unsure where to begin. The tool highlights the wonderfully diverse range of talent opportunities available to passionate individuals looking to make a difference in our food system.”
The update comes at a timely stage in the development of the industry. There are currently over 100 startups in the space globally, with some companies opening the first of various pilot production facilities for cellular agriculture products. Governments around the world including the Dutch, Israeli and United States are starting to invest in the development of the technology, and begin mapping a path towards regulatory approval and commercialisation. Here in Australia, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) anticipates an application from a cultivated meat company in the next few weeks, meaning we could see cultivated meat on Australian shelves next year.
"Cellular agriculture has made incredible technology gains recently, but could still falter if we don't consider the social, economic, and political contexts. We need to start working on the social opportunities and consequences of cellular agriculture to ensure its success beyond the lab." Says Dr. Adam Cardilini, a lecturer in Environmental Sciences at Deakin University.
The ‘Pathways’ tool was based on a range of existing resources in the cellular agriculture field, and designed to be used as a comprehensive and cohesive resource to help individuals launch their future career in cellular agriculture. Although designed for Australian-based users, this tool could be replicated in many countries. CAA welcomes queries from any interested parties in developing a similar tool.
Cellular Agriculture Australia is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to accelerating the cellular agriculture sector in Australia. Their initiatives are focused on developing talent pipelines into cellular agriculture, creating a connected and collaborative community within the sector, and promoting positive awareness of cellular agriculture.