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Understanding hop flavour in beer using high throughput volatile compound analysis

Project Description

Host Institution : University of Otago, Department of Food Science, Dunedin, New Zealand
Partner Institution(s) : Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all’Adige, Trento, Italy
Supervisor(s) : Dr Graham Eyres, A/Prof Pat Silcock, Prof Phil Bremer, Dr Franco Biasioli
Start date : 1 March 2020, or as soon as practicable
Duration : 36 months
Funding : NZD 42,000 base stipend + domestic tuition fees per annum for 3 years. Note: stipend will be subject to EU/NZD currency fluctuation.

Note: International PhD students pay tuition fees at the New Zealand domestic rate, provided that the students reside in New Zealand and study under a New Zealand student visa.

Project Description:
Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) are a key component of beer, responsible for imparting distinctive aroma and flavour characteristics. Terpene-related compounds and polyfunctional thiols are considered to be key contributors to hop flavour in beer. Yeast induced transformations generate a range of hop derived compounds and chemical profiles depending on the yeast strain and fermentation conditions. The aim of this research is to understand the dynamics of compound release and yeast induced transformation from hops during beer fermentation and how this influences hop flavour in beer.

This PhD project will focus on measuring the change in volatile profile during fermentation using a range of analytical techniques. This PhD project is part of a research programme funded by the University of Otago and FEM (Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy). The student will be supervised by Dr Graham Eyres, Pat Silcock and Prof Phil Bremer at the University of Otago and Dr Franco Biasioli from FEM.

It is expected that the candidate will spend 18-24 months in Dunedin, New Zealand and 12-18 months conducting research in Italy (may be split into blocks of 6 months, to be determined with the successful candidate).

Personal attributes and behaviours
• Good interpersonal skills.
• Good communication skills in both the academic and industrial environments.
• Demonstrated ability to undertake self-directed research activities.
• Demonstrated ability to write scientific publications.
• An understanding of food science, beer production, fermentation and sensory science.
• Experience in analytical chemistry techniques; in particular gas chromatography and mass spectrometry is desirable.

Documentation to include in your application
• A detailed CV
• The names and contact details of two referees
• A certified copy of an academic transcript
• A PDF copy of your research dissertation or thesis (if available)
• A written statement (300-500 words) outlining why this project interests you and how you meet the selection criteria
• Evidence of English language ability, according to the University of Otago policy (
• Further documentation may be required upon request.

Contact Information:
Interested candidates who meet the eligibility criteria should contact Dr Graham Eyres () or A/Prof Pat Silcock ().

The application closes on 31 January 2020, or as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be paid a NZD$42,000 base stipend and domestic tuition fees for 3 years.

Eligibility: Equivalent of a New Zealand 1st class Honours degree or a MSc degree (both with a significant research component) in either food science, food technology, or chemistry with a minimum GPA in the A range (US equivalent). A strong publication track record is also preferable.

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