PhD Positions in Clean Label Solutions for Structuring Plant-Based Foods
Wageningen University Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group

3 PhD Positions in Clean Label Solutions for Structuring Plant-Based Foods

Published on
April 28, 2021

Location Wageningen

End date Wed 19 May 2021

We are looking for

Are you an enthusiastic PhD candidate with a passion for developing research-based solutions for an important societal problem?. Do you dare to take the challenge to strengthen our team with your expertise and help address this important problem?

The positions are funded by TKI-Agrifood project: Clean label solutions for structuring plant-based foods, with co-funding from a large number of international companies. In this project we will work with food companies along the supply chain to combine in-depth academic with applied research to develop solutions for creating plant-based foods that are attractive, healthy and natural You will become a member of a team of researchers at both Wageningen University and Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR). Chair groups that are involved at Wageningen University are Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter (PCC), Physics and Physical Chemistry of Foods (FPH) and Food Process Engineering (FPE). Your assignment will be to investigate how we can better exploit the natural structuring ability of plant proteins to formulate attractive and healthy plant-based foods without additives. You will work with the researchers of WFBR, who will test the solutions that you will develop in actual food products. The three PhD candidates appointed on this project will work closely together, but each focus on a specific problem. 

  • A first PhD (PCC, FPH) will focus on the unique physical-chemistry of plant proteins to see how this can be best exploited for food structuring;
  • a second PhD (PCC, WFBR) will focus on how to combine proteins from different sources to achieve synergistic effects in food structuring;
  • finally, a third PhD (FPE, WFBR) will focus on how other molecules in plants (fibres, phenolic compounds) interact with plant proteins and help determine the final structure of plant-based foods.

We ask

  • A graduated MSc student in food technology, or a graduated student in chemistry, physics, or equivalent, with a demonstrated affinity with Soft Matter science;
  • a critical scientific attitude;
  • a strong internal drive to excel and succeed;
  • a positive and connecting team player with good English writing and oral communication skills;
  • enthusiasm for a role of science in facilitating the transition to a diet with more plant-based proteins.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • Sabbatical leave, study leave, and 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 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 € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- 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. 

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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 16th 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. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. 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 pagecontains 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, and other issues.

More information

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Laurice Pouvreau; tel: +31 (0)317488293; email:
For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips (Recruiter), e-mail:

Do you want to apply?

You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. 
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 19 May 2021. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 24 May 2021.

Equal opportunities 

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusive webpage. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University and 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, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Wageningen Food and Biobased Research (WFBR)

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research performs applied research for sustainable innovations in healthy food, fresh food chains and biobased products. Within WFBR, Dr. Laurice Pouvreau focuses on plant protein technology from the processing to the application in a broad range of food products. Laurice Pouvreau is the project leader of the Clean label solutions for structuring plant-based foods.  

Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter (PCC): at Wageningen University uses state-of the art experimental techniques, physical models and computer simulations, to link molecular structures and forces to the properties of soft materials. Within PCC, the Biopolymer Materials group of Dr. Renko de Vries focuses on soft materials made from biopolymer ingredients, including foods.

Physics and Physical Chemistry of Foods (FPH): at Wageningen University integrates physics, structure design and development, and application-driven research, to enable food innovations more effectively. We aim to a) deliver fundamental knowledge, new mesostructures, and application concepts, for academic partners, industry and society, and b) to educate students to apply such integration in their future careers. Within FPH, Dr. Paul Venema has a special interest in the phase behavior of biopolymers. 

Food Process Engineering (FPE): at Wageningen University is finding new ways to prepare food in a more sustainable way. Research ranges from molecular properties, through mesoscale interactions, to the prediction of macroscale properties of food under processing conditions. Within FPE, Dr. Julia Keppler focuses on functionality-oriented protein processing.

Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group

WFBR, PCC, FPH and FPE are part of the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group (AFSG) at Wageningen University & Research. AFSG brings together fundamental and applied scientific research. We work on creating ‘healthy food in a biobased society’ with private sector companies, research institutes and government agencies in the Netherlands and abroad. Our innovations play a crucial role in solving the major issues which affect society today. Entrepreneurship and professionalism are key in all that we do. In short, we are a major international employer offering considerable potential for your career.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR:  read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR.

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

Apply now

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