TEAGASC PHD WALSH SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY “Development and multi-omics analysis of a novel water kefir” Walsh Scholarship Ref Number: 2022210

Background: This PhD position is funded as part of a large EU-funded project, DOMINO (Harnessing the microbial potential of fermented foods for healthy and sustainable food systems). The aim of the overall project is to determine and characterise contributions of Fermented Foods (FF) to human health. The specific component of this scholarship will seek to develop a novel plant-based kefir beverage, alongside a commercial partner.

Using synthetic ecology approaches, microbial communities will be assessed using the latest in sequencing, metabolomics and analysis practises. This will allow the rational design of the microbial community employed in the fermentation process leading to the production of a healthy and sustainable product at pilot scale.

A key component of this work will be meaningful interactions with various stakeholders across the project. This will include the application of living labs to study the impact of FF on consumers across Europe, and the application of various in vitro models for the human gut to assess the pilot product, thereby allowing the student to develop their network alongside their scientific and public engagement skills. The successful candidate will also be involved in wider Teagasc and DOMINO Education and Public Engagement activities.

The successful doctoral candidate will be supervised by Dr John Kenny, Dr Orla O’Sullivan and Prof Paul Cotter (Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork), and Prof Jennifer Mahony (UCC, College Road, Cork). They will be principally located at Teagasc, and with the potential for periods elsewhere for course work, supervisory meetings and specialist laboratory work.


Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Upper Second Class Honours) or M.Sc. in Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry or related discipline. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated, interactive and willing to learn new techniques. Preferred candidates have very good teamwork abilities and a high level of oral and written English. Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency.


The scholarship funding is €25,000 per annum, includes a flat rate stipend of €19,000 and University fees up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum, and is tenable for 4 years. We offer a 4-year PhD position starting from October 2023.

The PhD student will become part of a team that includes other PhD students, postdocs, and research technicians. The PhD student will also avail of Teagasc support structures, which offer opportunities for courses for scientific, personal and professional development.

Further Information: For further information about the project, please contact Dr John Kenny john.kenny@teagasc.ie  

Application Procedure: Applicants should submit a CV and covering letter detailing their qualifications, experience and contact details for at least two referees to both Dr Kenny at john.kenny@teagasc.ie  

Closing date 5.00 pm Irish Standard Time on Friday 14th July 2023

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