PhD fellowship in RASOPTA at the Department of Food Sciences

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Sep 2021

A 3-year PhD fellowship is available at the Department of Food  Science (FOOD), Design and Consumer Behavour (DCB), University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark, with an expected start January 1st 2022.

The fellowship is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 956481.


The RASOPTA consortium consists of enthusiastic academic researchers and innovative non-academic partners, which together will train a new generation of scientists with expertise in sustainable and healthy fish production with minimum water consumption. Production of fish in recirculated aquaculture systems (RAS) requires experiences from several scientific disciplines, but there is need to bridge existing knowledge gaps between these disciplines to ensure a high water quality, healthy and non-stressed fish, and a supreme consumer quality of the fish.Therefore, in RASOPTA state-of-the-art training in important disciplines within RAS technology will be provided by 10 universities and research institutes and 8 non-academic partners in 8 countries. Primary goals of the training are to improve microbial processes to maintain a high water quality, to identify flavour compounds that may affect consumer preference for fish produced in RAS, and to ensure an optimum health and welfare of the fish. The research also aims at developing a DNA-based chip for early warning of quality and health of the fish. To reach these interdisciplinary goals in RASOPTA, the consortium will train 12 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in disciplines ranging from chemistry, microbiology and molecular biology, to physiology and pathology of fish.

About your project

The PhD (ESR) project at FOOD-DCB is part of a work package on microbiology and chemistry of off-flavour dynamics and will be carried out in collaboration with three other ESRs, enrolled at Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen (PLEN), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Dept. Chemistry & Pharmacy, Germany (FAU), and the research instituteFraunhofer, Inst. for Process Engineering & Packaging, Freising, Germany (IVV).

At FOOD, important tasks for the PhD student will be to identify off-flavour compounds  in marine RAS, investigate effect of novel techniques for off-flavour removal such as ozone treatment, investigate the impact of organic or inorganic off-flavours resulting from ozone treatment, design experiments to enable modelling of off-flavour removal using novel techniques, link instrumental analyses to sensory quality of fish from marine RAS, and investigate the possibilities in the use of time-resolved measurements with PTR-ToF-MS (e.g. dynamic measurements of off-flavour-producing cultures growing in the lab, or the physical location of geosmin in the intact fish).

Interactions between academic partners and between universities and industries are important elements in RASOPTA. To ensure collaboration between the European partners in the project, stays at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (advanced techniques for measuring volatiles in fish and water; co-supervisor A. Buettner) and at Atlantic Sapphire (obtaining knowledge about the RAS system, sampling of water and fish from relevant sites at relevant times) are included in the project. Duration of the stays is estimated to 3 months. 

The candidate will be enrolled at the PhD School of Science (Graduate Program in Natural Sciences, ) at the University of Copenhagen. The graduate program requires the student to obtain 30 ECTS points during the three-year period in order to graduate. Courses are shown at the PhD School of Science website (including a mandatory course for responsible conduct of research) at . Mandatory training activities in RASOPTA will contribute 12 ECTS to the ESRs.

Job description

Your key tasks as a PhD student at University of Copenhagen are:

  • Carry out an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education activities corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in activities in the RASOPTA network including secondments to other partners in the project
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge
  • Write a PhD thesis and publish scientific papers based on your research project

Eligibility criteria

- The researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of his/her host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment - unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention[1

- The researcher must be Early Stage Researcher (ESR): at time of recruitment he/she must be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent research experience)[2] of his/her research career and must not have been awarded a doctoral degree.

Further requirements

Qualifications: Master’s degree, preferably within food science, food chemistry, or a closely related field. To be considered for the position, it is a condition that your Master’s degree is equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree.

Experience: Experiences in organizing and structuring laboratory work; capacity to collaborate but also work independently; teaching and supervision of students.

Knowledge and skills: Basic knowledge on relevant analytical approaches; good communication skills; fluency in written and spoken English. 

Abilities: Interpreting scientific literature and understanding the research process are essential. Communication with non-academic staff, e.g. during secondments at industrial partners.

Other: Self-motivated and critical approach to work; willingness to learn new skills; and willing to travel and go on secondments.)

About Department of Food Science (FOOD)

Common to all of our research is that it contributes to growth, employment and solutions to global challenges such as sustainable food production, secure food supply, food and health, and the challenges within energy and the environment.

Rated as a leader in a number of research areas, our robust national and international collaborations with leading research institutions and large food and non-food industries are internationally recognized at a high level.

Our research covers food microbiology, food chemistry, food analysis, metabolomics of molecular and technological functionality, food processing technology, exploratory data analysis, gastronomy, sensory quality and consumer perception.

Terms of employment

The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School of Science at the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant in collaboration with the main supervisor.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with a) The Ministerial Order on the PhD program (2013), b) the rules and regulations laid down by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action European Training Network, c) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the EU MSCA rules and the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around 27,788 DKK /approx. 3.736 EUR (April 2021-level) plus pension and a possible MSCA supplement.

More information

More information about Department of Food Science can be found at . For further information about the position, applicants may contact Associate Professor Mikael Agerlin Petersen(phone +45-23723067; email: ), or Associate Professor Niels O. G. Jørgensen (phone +45-35332625; email: .


Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. Please observe that the three applications are individual positions and must be applied for separately. The applications must include the following documents in PDF format:

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Master of Science diploma and transcript of records. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: . Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

4. Publication list (if possible)

5. Letters of recommendation

Application deadline

Applications must be submitted before 15th September 2021, 23.59pm CET. 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 the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor. Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

You can read about the recruitment process at

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

Interviews are expected to be held in October 2021.

[1] 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol

[2] This is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is or was ever envisaged.

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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