Doc­toral Stu­dent in Food Science, Cer­eal Beta-Glu­can Research

Helsinki, Finland
Thursday, 25 June 2020
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 2 August 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The doctoral student position is for a fixed term position starting in 1 September 2020 for a fixed term of one year, with a possibility of a three-year extension depending on availability of additional research funding. The doctoral thesis project will be part of an Academy of Finland funded project (BETAFUN, 2019-2021). Additional funding for the doctoral project will be applied from the University of Helsinki, Foundations or the Academy of Finland. Successful candidates are expected to work full time on the PhD thesis and to complete their thesis in four years.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, located on the Viikki Campus, promotes the sustainable use of natural resources and human wellbeing through scientific research and research-based teaching. The Faculty’s key areas of education and research are food, agricultural, forest and environmental sciences, and economics in relation to these areas. The Faculty has 3,200 undergraduate and postgraduate students and employs 500 experts.

The doctoral student position offered will be in the Department of Food and Nutrition, which is one of the six departments at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. The Department provides research based education at higher level in Finland and is responsible for BSc and MSc Programmes in Food Sciences and MSc Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour. The Department is also responsible for the teaching of chemistry at the Faculty. Up-to-date laboratory equipments and facilities including processing plants are available for research. The Department values its good connections to food industry.

Research Topic: Understanding the structure-function relationship of cereal beta-glucan

The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in western countries is high, but recently this concern has also grown in developing countries. The consequent economic burden calls for diet-based solutions as a long-term preventive measure. Cereal beta-glucans are unique dietary fibres, having health claims approved for both cholesterol-lowering and blood glucose-attenuating effects. These effects have mainly been attributed to the viscosity of beta-glucan in small intestine, which is a function of concentration and molecular weight. However, the studies on the relating health functionality and viscosity of beta-glucan have shown contradictory results, which indicates that the mechanisms behind the physiological functionality of beta-glucan are yet to be unravelled. Additionally, there is a need to clarify the possible role of phytate co-migrating with oat beta-glucan in the functionality.


The appointee should either already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment, or apply for the right and obtain it within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. If the candidate does not already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, it must be applied for separately. (

We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled student who would like to pursue a PhD in Food Science. The successful candidate will join a dynamic team of researchers at University of Helsinki with vast experience in the chemistry, functionality of cereal beta-gluan. The PhD candidate will be co-supervised by experts of oat related nutrition studies at the Food Chemistry and Food Development research of the University of Turku. A background in Cereal chemistry and technology and current knowledge on cereal fibres physicological and technological functionality will be an advantage.

Education, experience and technical skills:

  • Master Degree in Food Science, Nutrition or analytical Chemistry
  • Knowledge of in vitro and in vivo related to gut functionality
  • Fluency in English and excellent writing skills.

Personal attributes and competencies:

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, experienced in working within multicultural and multidisciplinary environment.
  • High motivation for academic research, having initiative and capable of working independently as well as in team environments.

The salary of the successful candidate will be based on level 2 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary will be ca. 2200-2300 euros/month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.

Applications should include (in a one pdf-file):

  1. CV with Master Thesis Topic
  2. contact details for two references,
  3. Cover letter with a brief overview of your experience cereal chemistry and technology,
  4. motivation letter.

Please submit your application as a single pdf file using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for the position. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application via the SAP HR portal. The deadline for the application is August 2nd 2020.

Additional information can be obtained from Adjunct professor Ndegwa H. Maina (

Due date

02.08.2020 23:59 EEST