Two PhD positions - ROBOFOOD: New science and technology of edible robots and robotic food for...

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 02 May 2021

Are you a talented graduate student who would like to realise the future? Are you interested in research that will revolutionize the way in which we think about our food and what it can do? We look for two PhD students that are inspired by the idea of creating a fully functional robot of food materials? If so, we invite you to apply for one of the PhD positions in our Robofood team!

We usually think of the material properties of foods in relation to their palatability. But food materials are highly structured and have many intriguing properties; so we could also investigate them in a wider context. In a recently funded European project we will explore the suitability of food materials for structural purposes, for sensing, and for creation motion (actuation). Together with partners in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Italy, we will then use these materials to make edible robots. These may be used to deliver lifesaving nutrients to people in emergency situations, or to help people with specific illnesses. It will make us think about foods in a very different way.

One PhD candidate will create a library of food components with suitable functional properties for robotic food applications, and studying methods to obtain those components from raw materials. For example, food materials that show responses to electrical, chemical, or thermal stimulations will be investigated. The second PhD candidate will focus on assembling food components into functional parts of the edible robots, and on assessing the nutritional profile and life cycle of the robots. For example, advanced food processing techniques such as 3D/4D printing will be employed to create robotic food. Ideally, the created robots will be completely digested or be degraded in nature after use.

To create such robotic foods, interdisciplinary research approach is required of a kind that does not currently exist. You will be collaborating closely with each other and with leading European scientists in the field of robotics, sensing and food science in this project and perform highly interdisciplinary research which will bring positive health, social and environmental impact. You will be communicating your findings which might inspire others by publishing in high-impact scientific journals, and by attending (inter)national conferences.

These two PhD position are part of a new science group that has been created by the National Sectorplan Techniek, on Additive Food Assembly. This group will be hosted by a vibrant, growing and collaborative group on Food Process Engineering.

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