BitterSund - The influence of genetic and environmental factors on the sensory and bio-chemical properties, and consumer acceptance of cabbage and root vegetables


Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Food Science programme. The position is available from 1 November 2018 or later.


Title:
BitterSund - The influence of genetic and environmental factors on the sensory and bio-chemical properties, and consumer acceptance of cabbage and root vegetables


Research area and project description:
The PhD is funded by iFOOD and FOOD and is linked to research projects on the influence of genetic and environmental factors on the sensory and bio-chemical properties, and consumer acceptance of cabbage and root vegetables. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with Department of Management MAPP Centre and Department of Mathematics at Aarhus University as well as external research partners.

Background:
High intake of bitter-tasting cabbage and root vegetables may have a health-beneficial effect on type 2 diabetes subjects. The results showed that the taste is a very important driver for the intake of these vegetables, and that the bitter taste might be an important barrier for consumption among the consumers. The bitter taste of cabbage and root vegetables is due to the presence of secondary metabolites such as glucosinolates and polyacetylenes, which are at the same time health-beneficial compounds.

The bitter taste of cabbage and carrots can be manipulated by the choice of cultivar and growing conditions; and soil type, weather conditions and production methods (terroir) can affect the sensory quality. The bitter taste is highly influenced by how it is perceived and accepted by the consumers, and consumers’ choice of cabbage are affected by information about the product including cultivar and production methods (terroir), as well as physiological and socio-demographic factors related to the consumers.

In the GUDP project BitterSund ‘More healthy and bitter vegetables to the food service sector and the consumer’, the goal is to increase the health status among the Danish consumers via increased consumption of healthy and bitter-tasting cabbage and root vegetables.

Aim:
The proposed PhD will be affiliated to the BitterSund project. The overall aim of the PhD study is to explore how the sensory quality of cabbage and root vegetables is affected by different genetic and environmental growing factors, including the terroir aspect. Further, it is explored how an altered sensory quality is related to the chemical composition and influences the consumer food choice to reveal how consumption of bitter-tasting and locally produced vegetables can be enhanced.   

Work plan:
The core part of the PhD study is about the relationship between cropping methods and the sensory quality of cabbage and root vegetables. It will be studied how cultivar/species and terroir affect the chemical composition and the sensory quality of cabbage and root vegetables, and how such an altered sensory quality will affect consumer acceptance as well as the influence of cultivar and terroir aspect on consumers’ food choice. The PhD study is a multidisciplinary PhD study that cover the entire food chain (primary production of cabbage and root vegetables, product quality and consumers’ acceptance and food choice) and includes three departments at Aarhus University.

Outcome:
The experimental work is expected to result in several multidisciplinary publications in peer-review international journals, covering the following themes:

  • The effect of cultivar choice on the sensory quality and chemical composition of different types of cabbage and root vegetables.
  • The sensory quality as influenced by location or the possibilities for producing terroir cabbage.
  • Consumers’ acceptance of cabbage and root vegetables with altered taste profile and the influence of terroir on consumers’ food choice.

The obtained results in the PhD project will be disseminated to the industry and the consumers. Hence, the results will benefit the consumers and the society per se. The overall aim of the PhD study aligns with that of BitterSund to increase consumption of healthy coarse vegetables for the benefit of the Danish population.


Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants to the PhD position must have a relevant Master’s degree in biology, agronomy, horticulture or food science. Competences in horticulture and sensory science, and how cropping of vegetables influence sensory properties and biochemical compounds, statistical data analysis and an interest in academia to industry collaboration is preferred.

Good skills in speaking the Danish language is a requirement for this PhD position to enable direct interaction with the members of the trained sensory panel. Danish language skills should be described in the application and interviews will be run in Danish.


Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University and the place of work is at the team Plant, Food and Sustainability at Department of Food Science, Aarslev (food.au.dk/en). During the PhD period, 3-6 months will be spent abroad. The project is associated with the AU research center iFOOD (ifood.au.dk).


Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Science Team Leader Hanne Lakkenborg Kristensen
Plant, Food and Sustainability
Department of Food Science
Aarhus University
Kirstinebjergvej 10
DK-5792 Årslev, Denmark

Phone: +45 20 69 80 54
Email: hanne.kristensen@food.au.dk



Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section” Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.


How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to http://talent.au.dk/phd/scienceandtechnology/opencalls/
Choose August 2018 Call with deadline 1 August 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Food Science'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "BitterSund - The influence of genetic and environmental factors on the sensory and bio-chemical properties, and consumer acceptance of cabbage and root vegetables"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • The project will only be initiated if final funding (from GSST/the faculty) is secured.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.