Industrial PhD project studentship: Novel ingredients from wheat bran for improved sustainability of the wheat value chain.

University of Nottingham

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Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Tuesday 05 March 2024
Reference:  ENG1720

About the Project

The Food Consortium Collaborative Training Partnership is looking for a PhD candidate for the BBSRC funded project ‘Novel ingredients from wheat bran for improved sustainability of the wheat value chain”. The Food Consortium CTP comprises four major food manufacturers together with the largest UK-based independent science and technology provider and trainer for the food industry (Campden BRI), and the Haydn Green Institute (Nottingham University Business School). This industry-led collaborative programme will develop highly skilled PhD researchers, support them to develop business acumen rooted into scientific understanding and problem-solving skills to solve industrial challenges, and provide an innovation ecosystem through collaboration and partnership.

As a successful PhD candidate, you will be part of a larger cohort of students with the opportunity to form strong links to industry and be part of a supportive network of peers, academic supervisors, industrial supervisors, and training partners. Business facing training will include concept development, cost/opportunity analysis and issues to consider when commercialising early-stage science and technology, using tools to help evaluate innovation and commercialisation strategies.

Mondelez, Europe’s largest biscuits maker, is aiming to play a key role tackling environmental challenges in wheat farming through a robust approach to regenerative agriculture. The company has made sustainability one of the four pillars of its long-term growth strategy through a focused set of environmental, social and governance priorities.  You will contribute to Mondelez’s vision to eliminate waste and minimise the carbon footprint of biscuit production by developing emerging ingredients from upcycled materials (by-products of biscuit production).

Project summary

The overall aim of the project will be to understand the economic and environmental impacts of a range of bran and/or stem processing routes on Mondelez’s wheat production process.

In this wide-ranging and multidisciplinary project, you will:

  • Review the state of the art in upcycling of biomasses such as stems and bran and screen potential processing routes according to criteria developed by the research team in consultation with Mondelez.  
  • Design and optimise an experimental programme to investigate selected bran and/or stem processing methods.  This will involve optimisation of the processing methods to maximise the yield and quality of the target product.
  • Characterise and assess potential applications of the products.
  • Assess the possible processing routes and products using Life Cycle Analysis and Technoeconomic Assessment of the selected methods.

The outcome of your work will be a recommendation for a new process to produce novel products from by-products of the biscuit production process, with very real prospects of uptake of your technology.

You will be supported by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in biomass processing techniques, novel ingredients and Life Cycle and Technoeconomic Analysis.

You will be based in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, and co-supervised by the Faculty the Division of Food, Nutrition and Dietietics, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham. The industrial sponsor is Mondelez, based in Reading. In addition to the business relevant cohort training that the successful candidate will be offered by enrolling in the PhD programme, they will have the opportunity to spend some time at the Mondelez site and benefit from close contact to their industrial supervisor throughout their PhD study.

Entry Requirements:

  • You will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person with strong interpersonal, communication and relationship building skills.   Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in Food Sciences, Nutrition, Chemical Engineering, Food Engineering/Technology, or a related area/subject, with a strong intellect and disciplined work habits.   An interest in sustainability is essential.  Good team working, observational and communication skills are essential with the ability to work independently and with strong project management skills. 

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of the programme. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion plan for the Food Consortium is available on request.

How To Apply and informal enquiries: 

By email to Eleanor Binner ([email protected]) at the University of Nottingham, Faculty of Engineering, including CV, cover letter, contact details for two referees and transcripts. The successful applicant will subsequently submit a standard PhD degree programme application to the University. Information on the Food Consortium Collaborative Training Partnership can be found here:

Funding Notes:

The Food Consortium CTP studentships are predominantly open to students with established UK residency. Although international students (including EU countries) can apply, due to funding rules no more than 30% of the projects can be allocated to international students. The funding will include a tax free stipend (currently minimum £18,622 per year plus a £1400 enhancement from the industrial sponsor), support for tuition fees at the standard UK rate (currently £4,712 per year) and  a contribution towards research costs.

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