2 PhD positions FunMeat: Sensory, Rheology and Juiciness of next-generation meat analogues.

2 PhD positions FunMeat: Sensory, Rheology and Juiciness of next-generation meat analogues.

Published Deadline Location
4 Jun 30 Jun Wageningen

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 30 Jun 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Job description

We have two PhD vacancies at Wageningen University to study the creation of fibrous products as a basis for the next-generation plant based meat analogues (PBMA). Reduction of meat consumption benefits both the planet and society. Current plant-based meat analogues do not fully convince consumers, among others due to a lack of attractive texture and juiciness. This project combines expertise and techniques from food technology, sensory and consumer science and soft matter physics to deliver new insights into structure-property relationships of fibrous PBMAs. The new insights can be used to rationally design PBMAs with desired sensory properties and increased consumer acceptance.

These projects will be performed in close collaboration with another University and corporates. The whole project consists of three PhD projects (one at the University Amsterdam and two at Wageningen University).

position 1: Rheology and quantifying liquid flow in fibrous meat alternatives
You will elucidate juiciness by investigating the liquid flow in PBMAs. We will investigate how serum binding and release are linked to the pore size distribution and how to quantify and control the juiciness by tuning the porosity. The flow in the porous structure of PBMA is directly linked to mechanical response (rheology) and juiciness, which will be investigated via normal force measurement and flow visualization, and linked to the microscopic and the sensory analysis as studied in the other PhD-projects. The results will be compared with theoretical modes and provides essential input for designing a new generation of healthy and juicy meat alternatives.

The project will comprise the following activities:
  1. rheology and normal force measurements on meat and PBMA;
  2. quantification of porosity and flow visualization under deformation;
  3. quantification of serum release under periodic deformation;
  4. modelling the normal force and water release in anisotropic and fibrous products via a two-fluid model;
  5. guidelines for controlling juice release of meat analogue products and translating these to new product design criteria.

position 2: Establishing structure-perception relationships of fibrous meat analogues
The aim of this PhD project is to understand the texture and mouthfeel perception of fibrous PBMA by exploring the relationships between food properties (structure, fiber length, fiber connectivity strength, mechanical properties), bolus properties, mastication behavior and sensory perception.
Enhancement of juiciness is one of the main challenges to improve the sensory quality of fibrous PBMAs. To investigate the relationships between structure, porosity, fibre interaction strength and juiciness perception, this project will focus on different stages of oral processing. The incorporation of saliva into the food bolus during oral processing is an important factor, as saliva influences structural changes of the bolus during oral processing determines mastication time and is involved in release of flavour compounds. Here, you will study the relationships systematically as the structure, porosity and fiber interaction strength of PBMAs produced by shear cell and extrusion technology.

In short, your project will consist of the following topics:
  1. preparation of fibrous PBMAs;
  2. characterization of dynamic bolus properties of fibrous PBMAs;
  3. quantification of static and dynamic sensory properties of fibrous PBMAs;
  4. quantification of structure-bolus properties-perception relationships using multivariate data analysis;
  5. translate insights to other ingredients and provide guidelines for improved product and process design.


Wageningen University & Research


We are looking for highly motivated candidates holding an MSc. degree in food technology, physical-chemistry, and/or sensory science with a strong background in rheology and sensory science, and a strong desire for multi-disciplinary work. The candidates should enjoy working within the interface between curiosity-driven and application-inspired research. A key success factor of this project is intensive collaboration between the three PhD projects, which means that candidates should enjoy collaboration with other PhD-students and the experts from the industry involved in this project.

For these positions, 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 19th 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.

Because we expect you to work and live in the Netherlands 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. We can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling.

Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.


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 and do not appreciate unasked for services from recruitment agencies. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Food
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1534863-1


Wageningen University & Research

Learn more about this employer


Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

View on Google Maps

Interessant voor jou