Department of Food Science (Section of Food Analytics and Biotechnology) is offering a PhD scholarship in Metabolomics of fermented plant-based foods. The PhD project is part of the research project “PROFERMENT: Solid-state fermentations for protein transformations and palatability of plant-based foods”, which is funded by The Novo Nordisk Foundation, The Challenge Programme 2021 – Proteins for Tomorrow’s Food. Start date is (expected to be) 1 April 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Department of Food Science is internationally recognized for excellence in food science research, education, strong industrial collaborations, and dynamic international environment, where English is the primary working language. The mission of the department is to contribute a new knowledge and innovative solutions for society and industry to support sustainable food production, food security, food safety, and help to produce consumer attractive, palatable, and high-quality novel foods promoting human health and well-being. We are characterized by a high involvement in interdisciplinary research at both international and national levels.

The project

The candidate will become a member of the PROFERMENT project, which is a large collaborative project between University of Copenhagen (KU-FOOD), The Technical University of Denmark (DTU Bioengineering), and Utrecht University. The overall aim of the PROFERMENT is to gain the fundamental knowledge on plant fermentation approaches to transform plant-based materials into nutritious, savory foods.

A PhD student will focus on screening seeds of oat and yellow pea as a function of solid-state fermentation using untargeted and targeted metabolomics approaches using GC-MS and LC-MS. Solid-state fermentation of plant matrices will be performed using selected strains of Bacillus and filamentous fungi, metabolic changes occurring during fermentation will be monitored in a controlled experimental design.

The aim from untargeted metabolomics is to extend the current knowledge on solid-state plant fermentation, thus focuses on to detect as broad range of metabolites as possible. This will be followed by development of targeted methods to quantify metabolite classes of interest, not only from fermented matrices but also at the cellular level during fermentation and the extracellular deposits in the matrix, including small metabolites with significance for savoury flavour.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a candidate within the field of analytical chemistry or food science. The ideal candidate is an enthusiastic researcher with an MSc decree in analytical chemistry, food science, food engineering or in closely related fields. The candidate should have a previous experience using GC-MS or LC-MS. It is also an advantage if candidate has a previous work or research experience in one (or more) of the following areas, including metabolomics, foodomics, analytical chemistry or plant science.

The candidate should have a curious mind-set with a strong interest to learn new disciplines including omics data processing and data analysis techniques. It is also necessary to possess excellent communication, presentation, and academic writing skills in English.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?

The PhD position is in the Foodomics research group, which is a part of the Department of Food Science (FOOD), Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen. We are located in Copenhagen at the Frederiksberg Campus. Copenhagen is one of the best cities in the world to live in, and renowned for food, beer, art, music, architecture, the Scandinavian “hygge”, and much more. The Foodomics research group at FOOD offers creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. The group possesses state-of-the-art analytical facilities including GC-MS, LC-MS, NMR, and various other spectroscopic techniques.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Bekzod Khakimov, Department of Food Science,, Direct Phone: +45 28874454.

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your PhD research project under supervision
  • Attend PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

Formal requirements
Applicants should hold an MSc degree in analytical chemistry, food science, food engineering or in similar discipline. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications will also be based on your previous work and/or research experience in relevant areas. A candidate should have qualifications relevant to the PhD project and must be able to demonstrate excellent communication skills in English. If a candidate has obtained MSc in a language other than English, he/she must provide English proficiency test results equal to IELTS (≥6.5).

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any)
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 22 December 2022, 23:59 GMT +1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science.


For specific information about the PhD scholarships, please contact the principal supervisors Associate Professor Bekzod Khakimov (E-mail, phone +45 28874454).

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 22-12-2022

Employment start: 01-04-2023

Working hours: Full time

Department/Location: FOOD

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