Comparative characterisation of structure and digestibility of plant-based proteins in relation to processing.


The PhD position is located at the department of Molecular Sciences at SLU within the recently established centre on Plant-based Protein for Health and Wellbeing - PAN Sweden.

The Department of Molecular Sciences at SLU, where the employment is located, currently consists of approximately 110 employees and provides a high quality infrastructure including consisting of plant cultivation facilities, advanced microscopy and molecular biology, X-ray and NMR. The Department provides the scientific community, trustee and the public with knowledge about chemical compounds and biological processes, as well as their importance to society and its development. The department conducts research, teaching and environmental monitoring in the field of inorganic, physical and organic chemistry, biochemistry, natural product chemistry, food science and microbiology. 

The work is in collaboration with the highly interdisciplinary research centre of PAN Sweden where our aim is to couple material science with food and medical science in order to clarify the relationship between processing, food microstructure, bioavailability, digestion and fermentation on health. Our vision is that sustainable-produced food with health benefits will be the consumers preferred choice. We will achieve the vision through collaboration with Örebro University, SLU, Chalmers, Uppsala University and RISE together with food industry partners.

We are looking for a PhD student who is willing to conduct research on how structural characteristics of foods and biomaterials affect their properties. The candidate needs to have a genuine interest in interdisciplinary research bridging between physico-chemical properties of protein and fibres to their impacts in foods on nutrition and health. The candidate is also willing to work in collaboration with the PAN-industrial partners.

The main aim is to characterise various plant-based proteins and a meat protein in terms of structure, digestion and bioavailability in a meal context. This will enable prediction of health benefits as well as taste and texture attributes.

The main objectives of the PhD project are:

  1. To systematically characterise the (micro)structure as well as viscosity/texture of the model proteins in relation to different processing techniques.
  2. To establish the relationship between these characteristics, antinutrients and characteristics of the meal matrix with the in vitro digestibility of the model proteins and bioavailability of micronutrients.

Specifically, this position is suitable for the early-stage researcher with a drive to carry out research in the field of material, food and nutrition and medical sciences, with an emphasis on the development of responsive materials based on protein and polysaccharides and their use in digestion and fermentation of food.   


The successful applicant for the position as PhD student should hold a Master of science in chemistry, physics, materials science, food technology, food science, biotechnology or similar. Knowledge on the structural properties of foods and techniques to study such is central for employment. Experience in microscopy (light, confocal, electron) and rheology is meritorious. Personal qualities such as sense of responsibility and ability to independently perform duties as part of a research team will be valued. Mandatory experiences and skills include experimental laboratory work, scientific writing skills and ability to work in interdisciplinary projects. It is meritorious to experience of the food industry. Well written and spoken English is required. 

Place of work:


Forms for funding or employment:

100% employment as PhD student 4 years. 

Starting date:

According to agreement. 


We welcome your application no later than 2021-04-10, use the button below.

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or

has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher

education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement.Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the dissertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the applicant's qualifications,certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.

Please observe that applicant/s chosen to participate in an interview shall hand in certified true copies of

certificates, diplomas and transcripts from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) and transcripts in connection to the interview. If the applicant is a foreign citizen we require a certified copy of the page in your passport with your personal data and photography.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at 

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use

and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject

areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture. SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala. SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact person

Maud Langton