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CARMA: Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub

The EPSRC-funded Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub 'CARMA' is working to transform food production.


£12 million

Project status

In progress


1 Oct 2023 to 30 Sep 2030

A close up image of a person in a lab coat looking into a microscope in a laboratory.
CARMA Director Professor Marianne Ellis at work in the Lab. CARMA logo overlaid. The image is credited to Laurie Lapworth.

Cellular agriculture is the production of food and other consumables, traditionally grown on the land/in the sea, in a bioprocess by utilising cells.

Our vision is for a just transition to environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable food systems.

Our mission is the integration of transdisciplinary responsible approaches for novel cellular agriculture tools and technologies, into current food systems, to deliver sustainable food manufacturing in the UK and beyond.

Grand challenge 1: to design and deliver a template for an integrated UK circular cellular agriculture manufacturing value chain.


  • embed whole-life value analysis for decision making when addressing operational and technical bottlenecks for Cell Ag manufacturing, ensuring responsible innovation for sustainable and ethical integration with the wider industrial system
  • inform the strategy to move Cell Ag from laboratory to shopping basket through direct engagement with stakeholders and the public
  • inform investment and policy to realise the goal for the UK to be the world-leading and net exporter of Cell Ag products and manufacturing technologies

Grand challenge 2: to create the novel, underpinning manufacturing technologies to achieve the necessary process intensities in cost effective, sustainable and ethical ways for world class Cell Ag manufacturing.


  • design and deliver a template for a UK circular Cell Ag manufacturing value chain from the outset, informing leading-edge manufacturing technologies, people and processes
  • establish the value chain from raw materials to large-scale production that makes Cell Ag financially, ethically, and sustainably viable as part of UK Trade and Industry
  • create the novel, underpinning technologies that will achieve the necessary process intensities at scale, in cost-effective and sustainable ways

We will deliver the objectives via integrated and interconnected Work Packages (WPs).

WP 1: design of manufacturing bioreactor technologies for high yield at scale

The outputs will focus on achieving high process yield with the desired quality (nutritional profile). We will achieve this by increased cell densities, resource demand reduction (feedstocks and energy), and increased output per cell. We will do this through bioreactor design, including enhanced mass transfer of nutrients and waste, novel gas exchange, and continuous harvesting. This work package will firstly use the bioreactor technologies under development at Bath and UCL, for both tissue engineering (TE) and precision fermentation (PF) cellular agriculture.

WP 2: product purification and waste valorisation for the circular Cell Ag bioeconomy

This work package focuses on innovative high-purity, low-loss downstream processes coupled with water recycling and resource recovery. Firstly, we'll assess if separation technologies developed for traditional biotech, e.g. low-shear tangential flow filtration (TFF) or hollow-fibre perfusion can be used for Cell Ag. This is a largely unexplored area and we will begin with equipment already in use at Bath to accelerate this step. WP 2 will then focus on unmet material and process needs, increasing recovery and reducing environmental burden, matching WP1 stream loads and composition with iterations guided by WP4.

WP 3: create sustainable feedstocks with a robust supply chain for tissue engineering (TE) Cell Ag

This work package focuses on development of low-cost, low-environmental impact, ethically sourced consumer-accepted cells and culture media ingredients for cultured meat production. This will be met by efficient proliferation of cells that sustain as much as possible the natural in vivo characteristics, either maintaining or enhancing nutritional profiles for human nutritional health. This WP will provide robust and fundamental science to underpin the supply chain.

WP 4: designing a sustainable, scalable and secure future for cellular agriculture supply chains

This work package focuses on the design choices involved in scaling up the supply chain of UK Cell Ag manufacturing. Given the significant opportunity to create net zero supply chains (WEF, 2021), we will analyse future scenarios that leverage life-cycle assessment and whole-life value analysis, to provide manufacturers with a road map to building cost effective, high quality, sustainable and secure supply chains.

WP 5: understanding and influencing the social issues of Cell Ag

This work package focuses on analysing the impact of Cell Ag on society. Key issues include Cell Ag and the public, the economics of Cell Ag and the links between Cell Ag and various aspects of UK and international policy. We will deliver a multifaceted analysis of the social aspects of cellular agriculture, collecting a diverse range of empirical data - stakeholder interviews, surveys, focus groups, consumer experiments - to horizon scan future scenarios and advocate their significance within the Cell Ag community.

Interested in joining our citizens assembly? Email Dr Neil Stephens:

WP 6: engaging publics and policy

By delivering informed dialogue and deep listening about Cell Ag, work package 6 will ensure society is both engaged with this emerging field and has scope to feedback and shape its development. We will focus on communicating with citizens, media, policymakers and the most affected sectors, including farmers, food producers and sellers and their representative bodies.

Our team

Find out who we are.

Our funders and academic partners

CARMA is funded for seven years with a £12m EPSRC Sustainable Manufacturing Hub grant, and with contributions from our industrial and university partners.

Our funding structure uses a hub and spoke model for the academic partners: the University of Bath is the ‘hub’ and Aberystwyth University, the University of Birmingham, the Royal Agricultural University and UCL are the ‘spokes’.

There is ongoing opportunity for new industry partners to join, and there will be three to six additional ‘spokes’ through a competitive selection midway through the project.

Benefits of industry partner membership

  • research complementary to your priorities
  • CARMA has flexibility to address changing needs
  • early access to research developments
  • access to leading experts across the sector
  • fast networking to quickly find your R&D partners
  • influence CARMA research direction
  • influence policy
  • opportunities for three-month industry-academic projects, for existing and new partnerships
  • personal and professional development opportunities
  • quarterly progress and review meetings
    • hear about the latest research developments
    • Tell us the benefits of being involved!
  • annual conference
  • showcasing research
  • open invitation to the global community

Partner projects

Achieving a just transition to environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable food systems requires a coordinated international effort, and we are pleased to be working with like-minded consortia across the world. Details will be added here in due course.

Work with us

Current job vacancies

Contact us

Please get in touch if you would like to be added to our circulation list, or to find out more about becoming a member.