PhD student in Protein oleogels: the role of protein characteristics in textural properties

PhD student in Protein oleogels: the role of protein characteristics in textural properties

Published Deadline Location
26 Sep 23 Oct Wageningen

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Job description

Are you getting excited by the development of novel materials for healthier food? Are you curious to understand better how properties of such food materials can be controlled? And do you have the mindset of a curious scientist? Then this position may be ideal for you.

In the group of Physics and Physical Chemistry of Foods, we are looking for an enthusiastic candidate for a four-year PhD trajectory on a project on oleogelation. Oleogelation has become of increasing interest in the last years, due to a need to replace solid fats with healthy oils in the food industry. Protein oleogels are a new class of oleogels, and consist of a continuous phase of oil and a dispersed phase of protein particles. New methods to create oleogels with different characteristics need to be developed for a wider application window. In this project, we aim to gain further insights into the relation between protein (molecular) characteristics and the properties of the obtained oleogels.

What will you do?
You will examine the role of different proteins for the development of protein oleogels, and how specific interactions between the proteins can be altered to provide different rheological and textural characteristics. This will provide more understanding how to provide guidelines on creating oleogels for industrial use.

Your tasks include:
  • obtain different fractions of proteins using extraction methods and evaluating the characteristics of the obtained proteins fractions;
  • test the suitability of these fractions to create oleogels using different methodologies described in the literature and developed within the project;
  • examine the effect of different interactions on the rheological and textural properties of such systems;
  • examine the structural features of the oleogels on mesoscopic scale by different measurement techniques (e.g. microscopy, light scattering) to unravel the link between properties at different length scales.

Who else is in the project?
You will be working together with a second PhD student, who focusses on optimizing existing methods to create protein oleogels. A good collaboration between the two PhD students is essential, and therefore we are looking for a team player with good communication skills.


Wageningen University & Research


You are curious, proactive and enthusiastic. You are capable to work in a multidisciplinary team while taking ownership of your own project. You have good communication skills, both verbally and written, to provide progress and further plans and ideas to the industrial partner on a regular basis.

You also possess the following:
  • a successfully completed MSc degree before the start of this job in the area of food technology, physical chemistry, or related disciplines;
  • experience of working in a lab is essential. Basic knowledge on food ingredients, food structures and physical phenomena is needed;
  • work in an independent and self-motivated manner;
  • a keen interest in both fundamental and applied research.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Food
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1327390-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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