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Understanding the sensory perception of topically applied products


   School of Biosciences


About the Project

The cosmetics industry relies on consumer’s evaluation of their products to understand if they are desirable. However, understanding consumer perceptions of cosmetic products is complex, including measuring psychophysical reactions, such as, emotional response. Furthermore, little research exists systematically exploring the relationship between sensory perception of haptic/tactile properties of cosmetic products and physical rheology (psychorheology). Therefore, the aim of this PhD research is to investigate sensorial properties of topically applied skin creams in relation to their consumer liking, emotional response and rheological properties. Predictive models will be generated from resulting data to inform industry regarding the practical feasibility of various formulations. The successful candidate will gain a multidisciplinary experience, learning aspects of sensory evaluation methodologies, product formulation and characterisation, consumer methods, emotional response evaluation and predictive modelling of emotional and sensory responses to stimuli. As data will be collected from human subjects, a desire to work with people is a key requirement. In addition, as part of the program, the student will be expected to participate in business skills and personal development training provided by the Boots Company. A placement of a minimum of 3 months will also be provided, giving the student the opportunity to choose their own technical and/or business training from across a number of business areas including, claims, regulatory, packaging innovation and consumer insights.

Applicant Qualification Requirements

Applications are invited from suitably qualified students in science (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, food science, nutrition) or engineering related subjects. Experience in sensory and consumer science and/or rheology is desirable but not essential as full training will be provided. Attainment of at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) is essential.

In addition to the academic requirements for the project the following skills and behaviours would be highly advantageous:

A curiosity to expand your knowledge of business practices and how research insights can be translated into consumer applications.

An appreciation of the benefits of stakeholder management.

Strong communication skills with the ability to tailor information to the needs of different audiences. 


Funding Notes

This studentship is a BBSRC Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) with The Boots Company PLC and the University of Nottingham. This will provide a stipend (currently £15,609 per annum) and full payment of Home/EU tuition fees (currently £4,469 per annum). The successful applicant will be registered for the degree of PhD in the School of Biosciences. Due to limitations on funding rules, applications are invited from both UK and non-UK residents. However, non-UK applicant would require to cover the shortfall for the tuition fee differences.

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