PhD Researcher (Doctoral Candidate) – Consumer Perception of Urban Microalgae Protein (T150-0061)

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 23 Oct 2021

PhD Researcher (Doctoral Candidate) – Consumer Perception of Urban Microalgae Protein (T150-0061)

ETH Zurich is one of the leading universities of the world with a strong focus on science and engineering. In 2010 it established the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) in collaboration with the National Research Foundation (NRF) to do interdisciplinary research on pressing problems.

The Singapore-ETH Centre is home to a community of doctoral, postdoctoral, and professorial researchers working in three main programmes: Future Cities Laboratory, Future Resilient Systems, and Future Health Technologies. The centre provides a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment to researchers working on diverse themes, with the shared vision of translating research to practical solutions for more sustainable and liveable cities, resilient physical and social urban systems, and patient-centric healthcare systems.

In collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and A*STAR-SIFBI SEC is undertaking a research project on "Urban Single-Cell Protein Production Harnessing Emerging Microalgae-based Up- and Downstream Concepts". It addresses some immanent food security associated challenges by developing an urban single-cell protein production and R&D platform that tackles the challenge of increasing Singapore’s domestic food supply resulting from the quest for independence and a rapidly growing and steadily ageing population, covering the value-chain from primary production to food concept development.

Project background

Singapore targets increasing its domestic, independent food supply under urbanized constraints by 30% until 2030. The project aims to enable independent, domestic, resilient, and urban food/protein supply by consumer relevant bright yellow heterotrophic microalgae biomass:

  • Establish a state-of-the-art urban single-cell protein production platform using food processing side-streams to leverage supply-chain sustainability and mitigate costs employing circular economy concepts.
  • Innovate supply-chain eco-efficiency by improving microalgae production efficiency and final product affordability through pulsed electric field (PEF) processing.
  • Build an R&D platform for concrete food concept development of meat alternatives harnessing extrusion and 3D-printing for large-scale and decentralised food supply.
  • Understand the Singaporean consumers’ preferences and needs related to innovative microalgae-based food products. The project delivers affordable, palatable, and nutritious microalgae-based food products to the market. It strengthens Singapore’s food security, provides strategic and economic benefits through stimulating economic productivity, and leverages global competitiveness on the meat alternative market.

  • Job description

    As a Doctoral Researcher you will be responsible for research that aims to understand the Singaporean consumers’ behavior, palate, and need related to innovative microalgae-based food products through extended consumer studies. A close link between early testing of product concepts, product development, and understanding consumer needs will foster the economic success of final products.

    Your tasks will include:

    • Designing and conducting surveys to investigate consumers’ perception and acceptance of microalgae-based hybrid food products, both in general and for concrete product concepts
    • Designing and performing sensory tests regarding attribute perception of microalgae-based hybrid food products
    • Identification of concrete product and marketing concepts for microalgae-based foods appealing to consumers
    • Collaboration with food technologists to allow co-creation of products through iterative processes and reverse engineering
    • Communicating research outcomes at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals

    Your profile

    You will have:

    • A master’s degree (or equivalent) in psychology or in a related social science
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills in German and English are mandatory
    • Experience with conducting consumer research on the topics perceptions and acceptance of novel foods, alternative proteins and / or sustainable eating behavior
    • Experience with conducting consumer research for food industry
    • Experience with conducting sensory tests
    • Strong competences regarding quantitative research and strong expertise in statistics, specifically working with the programs SPSS and R
    • Experience with teaching, lecture support, supervision of bachelor or master-theses, and exam supervision and corrections
    • Experience with publishing in peer-reviewed journals (minimum 1 peer-reviewed publication)
    • Experience with presenting at relevant international conferences (minimum 1 presentation experience)
    • Good “people skills” when interacting in a competitive, dynamic, diverse, and international environment with other doctoral students and postdocs
    • A strong interest in working with and developing new, sustainable foods
    • Scientific curiosity and motivation
    • Ability to work independently in a multi-national context

    ETH Zurich

    ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


    We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

    • Cover letter outlining your motivation and experience in the field
    • CV including certificates (e.g. Ph.D. certificate, Master's and/or Bachelor's degree)
    • Transcript of records
    • Specific research proposal (max. 3 pages) based on strong scientific references

    Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

    For further information about our research and projects, please visit and .

    For further information: Questions (not applications) regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr. Michael Siegrist ( )

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