Phd – Consumer engagement for higher acceptance of alternative protein

16. september 2023

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  • Udsendt dato
    16. september 2023
  • Udløbsdato
    28. september 2023
  • Karriereniveau
    Alm. fastansættelse

Job beskrivelse

Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Food Science programme. The position is available from 01 December or later.

Consumer engagement for higher acceptance of alternative protein

Research area and project description
The global food chain and ultimately the global population urgently need secure, healthy, sustainable alternative protein solutions. Different approaches are suggested, and at the consumer level specifically, these solutions include a shift to a more plant-based diet and/or to protein grown in the lab.
Plant-based protein rich meals comprise meals that mimic meat (e.g. plant burgers) as well as meals, which never originally contained an animal-based meat component (e.g. dhal). Lab-grown protein comprises protein produced based on novel technologies e.g. cell-mass.

Both plant-based protein rich meals and lab-grown protein may make it possible to produce protein products with significantly lower resource consumption and our CO2 footprint when compared to traditional meat production via livestock, and can thus be key components of a future sustainable, secure and just food system.

The resultant food products may however be unfamiliar to the consumer in various respects, and in order to gain success on the market, acceptance by consumers and the catering sector is required. Alternative protein products must be seen as relevant by the consumer, safe, and to fulfill users’ needs in terms of sensory and health aspects. Initiatives are needed that work to overcome barriers and facilitate consumer acceptance of alternative protein.
The current PhD project will explore the awareness and attitudes that exist amongst naïve consumers and food professionals towards novel protein products.

Specifically, barriers and drivers for acceptance of novel proteins will be identified along with needs and wants to sensory- and functional food properties.
The project will further develop tailored engaging activities for consumers and professionals, to involve them in the innovation process and educate about novel products.

The impact of the activities on consumer attitudes will be quantified, to identify the most effective strategies (behavioural and communicative) to enhance acceptance of novel protein foods.

As such the project aims to promote and support a shift in engagement of consumers from passive recipients to active change agents

Project description. For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. Please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application.

Qualifications and specific competences
Applicants to the PhD position must have a relevant Master’s degree in Food Science, Sensory Science, Nutritional Science or equivalent.
Competencies in sensory and consumer analyses, nutritional science, cross-cultural research, and knowledge about food-related pleasures would be an advantage.

Candidates must demonstrate evidence of creativity, independent learning, and a willingness to embrace an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

Place of employment and place of work
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Food Science, Agrofood park 48, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
Please be aware, that the PhD project involves funding from Sino Danish Center/SDC, and it is therefore required that:

  • the PhD student must spend time in a Chinese research environment. The specific period depends on the funding model.
  • PhD students funded by the Danish SDC office are expected to contribute to the educational activities on the SDC Master’s programmes in Beijing during their stay in China.

See the SDC’s website on the specific requirements: Please note that it is not possible to get exemption from these conditions.

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

How to apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application.

Application deadline is 28 September 2023 23:59.

Preferred starting date is 01 December 2023.

For information about application requirements and mandatory attachments, please see our application guide.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement.


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