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Funded PhD: Consumer co-creation of upcycled foods

Date
University College Dublin

Advertiser's description:

This 4-year PhD offers an exciting opportunity to conduct innovative consumer and sensory focused research to support the development of upcycled foods for the Irish food industry. There is a growing interest and need to make our diets more sustainable and to involve consumers into circular economy models. Beyond the prevention of food waste, the most environmentally friendly and preferred option, according to the new US Environmental Protection Agency Wasted Food Scale, should be upcycling food, therefore repurposing it for human consumption. According to Mintel, in the UK and Ireland food and drink market, there has been a 164% increase in products launched with 'upcycling ingredient' claims since 2020. Co-creating and involving consumers at early stages of new product development has been shown to lead to more innovative and suitable new products having a higher chance of consumer acceptance and success at the market.

Within this context, UCD is offering a PhD opportunity in the area of upcycled foods. This UCD funded project will focus on co-creating upcycled foods with consumers using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as focus groups, surveys and sensory analysis, with the view of developing and characterising the new food products with consumer input, from start to finish. The characterisation work will include physico-chemical, functional, nutritional and safety analyses.

The data generated will support innovation for upcycled food in Ireland with the development of new products driven by consumer insight. The PhD student will conduct the research in our laboratories and sensory testing facilities, developing skills in experimental design, data collection, statistics, and a range of laboratory techniques. There will also be opportunities throughout the PhD programme for further professional development training and attendance at national and international conferences. The successful candidate will be mainly based at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science under the supervision of Dr Simona Grasso and will also spend some time in Teagasc, Ashtown under the supervision of Dr Emily Crofton.

Requirements: Applicants should hold (or expect to hold) a primary degree (minimum 2.1) in an appropriate discipline (Food Science, Chemistry, Sensory Science, etc). Applicants with a relevant Master’s degree are also eligible to apply. For applicants whose first language is not English, the minimum requirements are outlined here.

The ideal applicant is an individual who is proactive, ambitious and an independent thinker willing to work in a creative and dynamic context. Applicants should be self-motivated and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as they will be required to work closely with consumers and sensory panellists. The applicant should also have strong organisational skills and be prepared to undertake laboratory research using a range of data collection techniques.

Yearly stipend €22000 tax free, University fees will be waived for EU or non-EU students.

Application procedure and start date: apply using this form by May 15 2024. Preferred start date is Sep 2024.

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