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PhD Studentship in Development of more sustainable and healthier food products

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

  Prof Maria Charalambides  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a Joint research studentship with the Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Characterisation of Materials in the field of Mechanics of Soft Solids/Rheology leading to the award of a PhD degree. 

The increasing demand for foods with reduced sugar and the use of more sustainable ingredients has led the food industry to change formulations whilst also aiming to maintain the desirable sensorial and textural characteristics of the foods to satisfy the consumer. Significant research on this topic has already taken place in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in conjunction with industry which highlighted the effect of the formulation and microstructure on the food’s breakdown during the oral process and its link to sensorial attributes for texture as well as flavour. For chocolate specifically, experimental as well as modelling studies showed that the microstructure impacts on the fragmentation during the first bite, which increases the available surface area that can come into contact with the oral sensory receptors. Furthermore, specific patterns of fragmentation impact the subsequent chain of events including the melting process, the rheological response of the food bolus (mass of food formed in the mouth after chewing and mixing with saliva) as well as the tribological response between the food and the oral surfaces. In this PhD project we will concentrate on the food bolus formation stage of the oral process. Specifically, we will investigate how reduced sugar and the incorporation of more sustainable ingredients impact the rheology, flow and melting of the food bolus. As a result of this research, new and more sustainable food products with enhanced and controlled sensorial attributes will be designed, with a positive impact on human diet and health.

You will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person who meets the academic requirements for enrolment for the PhD degree at Imperial College London. You will have a 1st or 2.1 class honours degree in mechanical engineering or a related subject, and an enquiring and rigorous approach to research together with a strong intellect and disciplined work habits.  Good team-working, observational and communication skills are essential.

To find out more about research at Imperial College London in this area, go to:

For information on how to apply, go to:

For information on the centre for doctoral training visit the website

For further details of the post contact Prof Maria Charalambides +44 (0)20 75947246. Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae and a cover letter to Prof Charalambides, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry.

Closing date: 30th June 2023

Funding Notes

The post is supported by a bursary and fees (at the UK student rate) provided by the EPSRC and is co-sponsored by Nestle.
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