Teagasc seeks to recruit a highly self-motivated and enthusiastic Post-Doctoral researcher to an Industry-Enterprise Ireland (EI) funded project (under Innovation Partnership Programme). The focus of this position is to (1) understand the interactions between carotenoids and milk components during cheese manufacture; (2) validate and verify colour transferred from cheesemilk to the whey stream during coloured cheese manufacture; (3) characterise physicochemical and functional properties of various dairy products; and (4) incorporate vitamin D in cheese. The successful candidate will have an understanding of the basic chemistry of milk components and their interactions. Also, the successful candidate will ideally have experience in analysing carotenoids in food matrices using chromatographic techniques, such as HPLC and LC-MS/MS.

Background to Position & Project: 

The Teagasc post-doctoral programme provides training and development opportunities for early career scientists that enhances their experience of learning and equips them with the necessary skills for the next stage of their chosen career in research. 

Colour is one of the important quality characteristics of food products, which influences consumer preference, taste perception, and purchasing choice. During the manufacture of some cheese varieties, colourants are added to the cheesemilk. Traditionally, norbixin‐based annatto extracts have been used for the colouring of red Cheddar, Gouda, red Leicester, Colby, and Mimolette. However, during cheese manufacture, a significant proportion (~20%) of water-soluble annatto added into the cheesemilk is also transferred to the whey streams, which limits end-use applications for the whey. Although bleaching of coloured whey with hydrogen peroxide or benzoyl peroxide has been practised in some countries, especially in the USA, the use of these strong oxidising agents often generates off-flavours as a result of lipid oxidation and results in a loss of nutritive value due to protein oxidation. Membrane separation technology has also been explored to remove the residual colour from whey streams; however, the technology cannot guarantee 100% removal efficiency. In addition, this approach is intensive from a capital and operational costs perspective. Colour defects (fading/pinking) of the final cheese during storage and maturation are another issue when using an annatto-based colour. Studies have also reported that processed cheese tends to develop pink discolouration when cheese containing annatto is used in the process blend. Changing regulations of annatto-based colour is another concern for the dairy industry; from January 2021, annatto must now be labelled as ‘Annatto Norbixin’ in the EU according to commission regulation (EU) 2020/771. Thus the dairy industry is actively seeking suitable, cost-effective alternatives for annatto-based colour to manufacture coloured cheese.

The Teagasc Food Programme is located at two sites, with meat and cereal research carried out at the Ashtown Food ResearchCentre and dairy research at the Moorepark Food Research Centre. The programme is based on applied research covering food safety, processing, biosciences and nutrition and involves significant industry engagement. In addition to its own programme, Teagasc participates in many large research consortia (Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, Dairy ProcessingTechnology Centre, Meat Technology Ireland, Food for Health Ireland) with industry partners and other research providers in the higher education sector. The current role will be located at the Moorepark research site where both dairy production and processing research is carried out.

Background to Teagasc Post-Doctoral Programme:

This is a research-focused training role, the primary purpose of which is to provide early-career scientists with the opportunity to develop their research skills and competencies.

The PD Fellow will, while working in conjunction with senior research staff, gain insight and experience into a variety of areas including the processes of project and budgetary management, publishing in peer-reviewed academic journals, writing grant applications, and attracting external funding; the development of active collaboration with relevant national and international research communities; the development of communication and presentation skills, leadership and management skills, and overall career development.

Modules will be conducted under the supervision and direction of Dr Prabin Lamichhane in conjunction with the Head of the Department.

Duties & Responsibilities specific to this project:

  • Pilot/semi-commercial scale production of cheese and dairy powders
  • Determine physico-chemical and functional properties of cheese and dairy powders
  • Quantify carotenoids in cheese and whey streams using chromatography techniques, such as HPLC and LC-MS/MS.
  • Incorporate vitamin D in the cheese matrix and quantify vitamin D in cheese.
  • Disseminate research findings to industrial partners
  • Publish research findings to peer-reviewed high-impact journals.

Additional Duties & Responsibilities:

  • To interpret research findings and prepare scientific and popular press publications.
  • To disseminate research findings to a variety of audiences as appropriate.
  • To assist Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service Charter and Action Plan.
  • To comply with all relevant Teagasc policies and procedures.
  • Fully co-operate with the provisions made for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of themselves, fellow staff and non-Teagasc staff and co-operate with management in enabling Teagasc to comply with legal obligations. This includes full compliance with the responsibilities outlined in the Safety Statement.
  • To actively participate in the Teagasc Post Doctoral Fellowship programme and review processes, and to undertake all Post Doctoral fellowship training and associated duties as agreed in the Training & Development Plan.
  • To take up additional duties as they may arise and be assigned by management.


  • PhD in Dairy/Food Science, Analytical Chemistry or another appropriate science-related discipline.
  • Relevant research experience not to exceed 3 years’ post-PhD
  • Demonstrated research and technical expertise in analysing chemical compounds (e.g., carotenoids) in food matrices using advanced chromatography techniques, such as HPLC and LC-MS/MS.
  • Evidence of research activity (publications, conference presentations, awards) and future scholarly output (working papers, research proposals etc)
  • Excellent project management, analytical, report writing and data analysis skills
  • An ability to collaborate with team members and PhD students to help build research knowledge and skill and to guide professional development
  • Excellent communication skills (oral, written, presentation) with an ability to enable effective knowledge and technology transfer
  • Ability to generate new ideas, unique concepts, models and solutions


  • Knowledge of processes involved in the manufacture of cheese, dairy powders and emulsion
  • Experience in physicochemical and structural analysis of cheese, dairy powders and emulsion
  • Experience in quantifying vitamin D and carotenoids in food matrices using chromatography techniques (e.g., HPLC, LC-MS/MS).
  • Experience in setting own research agenda
  • Evidence of teamwork and collaboration with relevant partners
  • Experience in setting own research agenda
  • Evidence of teamwork and collaboration with relevant partners

Attachment:  PD1_I_71d2bd89-88ce-402e-abe1-fa26e97d859f.pdf

Apply now

Closing Date: 26/07/2022

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