Is it possible to raise livestock sustainably? What about soy and other industrially-produced protein crops? Should we continue to raise sentient beings and consume animal-based products when cellular cultures can be grown in a laboratory? What are the social and public health impacts of policies aiming to reform the North American diet? How are emerging food commodities like insects and ‘plant-based burgers’ destabilizing traditional agriculture? What role should industrialized nations play in feeding the world’s growing population?

To date, these and other similar questions are usually tackled as distinct policy problems, and yet they all come together in the growing debate about the future of one essential macronutrient: protein.

In turn, a number of forces are shaping up to dramatically alter the way we produce and consume protein in the coming decades. These include a range of interrelated global-scale demographic, economic, nutritional, ethical, cultural, environmental, technological and financial shifts which are influencing the way we humans nourish ourselves and impact our environment.

The purpose of this research symposium is to begin to build a dialogue across these interconnected themes, by showcasing leading and diverse perspectives on the topic and encouraging discussion between them. Our aim is to work towards a more comprehensive and nuanced set of answers to these difficult questions to help guide policy and future research initiatives.