Introducing our Junior Research Scientist program

An entry pathway for graduates into the world of cultured meat

George Peppou
Mar 13, 2020 · 4 min read

Applications are currently open for our fourth intake, apply now on our website.

When I graduated from my biochemistry degree the career choices were grim. Move overseas for a long shot at exciting work, or try my luck for one of the scarce and unexciting corporate graduate programs in life sciences around Australia.

Except, I didn’t go down either of those paths. I was lucky. One day, browsing the Sydney Uni job board in my final semester I spotted a strange sounding ad looking for ‘inventors’, my childhood dream job. I applied and ended up working as the second employee at a tiny startup in Alexandria.

This one role completely defined the course of my career and how I view what is possible with technology and resources in the world today. Working in a startup taught me that so much of what’s believed about technology — about what’s possible given a certain timeframe and team size — are just plain untrue. The seemingly impossible can be built by those ambitious enough to believe they can just go for it.

I hope that many more science graduates in Australia can have the formative opportunity to work for a startup as their first, professional work experience.

That’s why, at VOW, we are launching our Junior Research Scientist Program, a six month paid internship for recent science graduates to get hands on experience in the cultured meat industry. Here is how it works.

What is this Junior Research Scientist program at Vow?

Every six months, we will bring a small number of Junior Research Scientists into Vow, place them in one of our scientific teams, and give them the opportunity to work across a range of projects. These junior scientists will gain skills and experience working on cutting edge R&D in a startup setting.

You will rotate between our R&D teams working across cell culture, media development, bioprocess and analytical work. You will be involved in the entire life cycle of experiments, from design, to gathering data, analysis and sharing results with the team.

You will learn how to undertake cell culture, develop cell lines, develop animal-free media formulations using high-throughput robotics, run bioreactors, and work with our data and engineering team to analyse mountains of data.

We will work with you from day one to map out what “great” as a Junior Researcher at VOW looks like. For those that meet this bar there will be the opportunity to join VOW full-time as a research scientist at the end of the six month program.

Visualising muscle fibers, growing outside of an animal

What is cultured meat?

The meat we know is mostly made of fat, muscle and connective tissue cells. Cultured meat is made from those exact same cells, except they’ve been taken from the animal and grown in an environment that perfectly mimics the conditions inside a muscle. Here’s how we do it:

  1. We take a small sample of muscle from an animal
  2. We isolate the cells responsible for repairing muscle, fat and connective tissue
  3. We encourage those cells to grow and differentiate in exactly the same way they would naturally
  4. Those cells are brought together to create delicious meat products

Around 40 companies around the world are working on this technology, but so far, no one has sold even a mouthful of this food yet. We are at the dawn of cultured meat.

What is Vow?

Vow is, at its core, a food company. We make cultured meat products unlike anything you have ever tasted.

At Vow, our approach isn’t to produce the meats we know. We are focused on using cultured meat technology to craft an entirely new category of food. Cultured meat, unlike animal agriculture, isn’t limited to the animals that grow fast and breed well in captivity. In fact, any animal with cells is now on the menu.

To realise the opportunity of cultured meat we are building a library of cells, from both domesticated and undomesticated species. This library forms a repertoire of ingredients that we can use to create both exciting new exotic meats or blend multiple cell types to create better flavours, textures or nutritional profiles than any animal could.

Since founding in April 2019, Vow’s small team have created cell lines from multiple species, become the first company to create food by cultivating cells from an undomesticated animal (kangaroo) and raised money from some of Australia’s most respected investors. We are now a team of 11 talented individuals spanning science, engineering and commercial functions.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for passionate, enthusiastic and humble scientists. We care more that you bring curiosity, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and tenacity than any specific technical skills.

If you are a scientist, or trained in a closely related field and want to be a part of realising the world changing potential of cultured meat then apply now on our website.

Vow.

Vow — unlocking nature’s food secrets

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store