PhD fellowship in Food Material Science

The Department of Food Science, Section of Dairy and Ingredient Science invites applicants for a PhD fellowship to understand and mitigate causes of hardening during storage of protein-rich bars, which part of the research project “MiProBar”, which is financed by Arla Food Ingredients. 

The start date is (expected to be) 1 October 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project

Protein bars constitute modern lifestyle products containing 20 to 50 % proteins (often of dairy origin), fat, carbohydrates/sugars and humectants, providing water activity in the intermediate moisture region (typically between 0.5 and 0.8) and giving microbiological stability outside the cooling chain. The ideal protein bar has a soft bite texture that does not develop hardness over a typical shelf life of about one year. However, protein bars are highly concentrated non-equilibrium systems, and in reality thermodynamically favoured physicochemical changes occur during storage, more often than not, resulting in component segregation. From a consumer perspective, this is observed as an unstable growth of product hardness that ultimately renders the product unattractive and, therefore, effectively limits shelf life.

The PhD projected is aimed at obtaining knowledge about the causes of protein bar hardening using a range of experimental techniques (among others high and low field NMR, advanced microscopy techniques, texture analysis and analytical chemistry directed at protein modifications) combined with a multi-variate data-driven approach. 

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of food science, chemical engineering or physical chemistry.

The preferred candidate has qualifications within one or more of the following fields

  • Food material science,
  • Structural food science,
  • Multi-variate data analysis,
  • Use of spectroscopic techniques on solid samples,
  • Measurement of Food Texture,
  • Design of experiments

Our group and research- and what do we offer?

The PhD student will mainly be located at the Frederiksberg Campus, University of Copenhagen. The PhD student will collaborate closely with staff from Arla Food Ingredients and staff from the INano Centre of Aarhus University and, from time to time, be stationed at these institutions.  The student will be integrated into the molecular food science group at the Department of Food Science in an inspiring environment and interact with both senior researchers, fellow PhD students and postdocs.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Jens Risbo Department of Food Science, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +45 23 98 46 50

The PhD programme

The PhD study involves A three year full-time study (Options A) within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Qualifications needed for the regular programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project. For information on eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks in both PhD programmes

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set  and scientific interests
  • Good language skills


Application and Assessment Procedure

 Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  4. A short scientific statement indicating potential causes of protein hardening how such hardening processes in proteins bars can be studied by appropriate experimental techniques.
  5. Publication list (if possible)
  6. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is 6 September 2024, 23:59 GMT +2.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process
After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above-mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 39

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Jens Risbo


Application deadline: 06-09-2024
Employment start: 01-10-2024
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: FOOD
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