PhD fellow in Cheese Ripening and Microbiology

Updated: 21 days ago
Deadline: 31 Aug 2017

The Department of Food Science, Microbiology and Fermentation Section, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in Cheese Ripening and Microbiology commencing 1st October 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter.  

Description of the scientific environment 

The Department of Food Science is internationally recognized for its excellent food research and education, its impact for consumers and industry and its contribution to solving global challenges. Within the Department of Food Science, the Microbiology and Fermentation Section conducts research within food fermentation and starter culture functionality, food preservation and spoilage including biocontrol, microbial food safety and hygiene, gut microflora and probiotics in humans and animals, and microbiological quality assurance. The research covers basic and applied studies from the molecular and single cell level to the operational food production level.  

Project description 

This PhD project will address the challenges facing the dairy industry in terms of an ever increasing demand for production efficiencies and healthy products while at the same time maintaining high product quality and safety. Such challenges include the use of elevated temperature ripening in order to accelerate the ripening process (for cost reduction) and the reduction of salt levels (healthier product). Both of these measures lead to an increased incidence of cheese defects such as off-flavours, slits/cracks, biogenic amines and blowing. Elevation of the ripening temperature and/or reducing the salt levels can push the cheese ripening in a direction in which serious and costly defects can readily develop. The focus of this PhD project is to experimentally map the detrimental cheese microflora using genotypic (including transcriptomics) and phenotypic analysis methods, and to use this critical information to select the most suitable bio-protective cultures for pushing the “no cheese defect” limit beyond what is normally possible. Pilot plant and subsequent industrial cheese trials (Havarti and Cheddar cheese types) will be performed in order to translate and apply the laboratory experiments into a “real-life” dairy manufacturing environment. 

The department has a strong platform within the manufacture of fermented dairy products as well as analytical microbiology and biochemistry which will support the project tasks.   The research will be conducted in close collaboration with a number of internal and external partners, including industry.  

Principal supervisor is Professor Fergal P. Rattray,Department of Food Science, Email:

, Direct Phone: +45 35 33 12 55. 

Job description 

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are: 

  • To manage and carry through your research project 
  • Attend PhD courses 
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis 
  • Teach and disseminate your research 
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad 
  • Work for the department 

Formal requirements  

Applicants should hold an MSc degree in Food or Dairy Science and Technology with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience. 

Terms of employment  

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.  

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.  

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 312.879 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 43.219). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 

Application Procedure 

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.  

Please include  

  •  Cover Letter detailing your motivation and background for applying for the PhD project 
  • CV  
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc) 
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any 
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),  
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees 

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. 

The deadline for applications is 31st August 2017, 23:59 GMT +1. Applications received after the deadline for applications will not be considered.  

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.  

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at 


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Professor Fergal P. Rattray, Department of Food Science, Email:

, Direct Phone: +45 35 33 12 55. 

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.

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