Sensory Specialist – Bishops Stortford (United Kingdom)

Job Title:  Senior Sensory Specialist

Reports To: Sensory Manager Woodside

Country: United Kingdom
Bishops Stortford

This Sensory & Consumer guidance role is part of the Diageo Innovation R&D community based at Woodside in Hertfordshire. The team is a critical partner to the liquid developers and the broader innovation and supply teams including packaging and long term research in the development and maintenance of our Innovation projects.

Role Summary

This Sensory & Consumer guidance role is part of the Diageo Innovation R&D community based at Woodside. The Sensory & Consumer Guidance (SCG) team is a critical partner to the liquid developers and the broader innovation and supply teams including packaging and long term research in the development and maintenance of our Innovation projects. This role has the responsibility for sensory research and development work to achieve project and technical objectives. The successful candidate will have the responsibility to set up and run projects from both a sensory science perspective as well as with internal consumer panels and external agencies in the form of consumer research. They will be involved with all aspects of the sensory assessments which could include leading and running descriptive panel sessions (including preparation and pre training), preparing for consumer testing, collecting and statistical analysis of  data through to reporting findings to relevant stakeholders (R&D teams, Marketing, Insights etc.) Independent working is required.


Qualifications and Functional Capabilities Required

  • BSc or Masters in Sensory, Behavioral Sciences (experimental psychology/ psychophysics or related field) with 2+ years relevant practical experience.
  • Solid understanding of key sensory and consumer methods: focus groups, quantitative in-hall test, descriptive profiling, preference mapping, discrimination tests. Knowledgeable around adherence to scientific test methods in providing unbiased data.
  • Solid skills in executing sensory testing protocol (question if issues are seen), panel training (reference identification, gaining group consensus, developing a thorough ballot) gained through education or on the job training.
  • Excellent organisational, interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to tailor and convey results in an easy to understand way reflective of target audience.
  • Ability to function independently as well as work within a team, demonstrating flexibility and ability to coordinate small projects whilst holding the tension with developers and stakeholders on proper use of sensory.
  • Strong skills including MS Office, Sensory software (Compusense preferred), ability to handle, analyse and interpret data (XLSTAT preferred) from descriptive statistics, ANOVA and multiple comparisons, PCA, discrimination testing analysis.
  • Ability to innovate and bring new methods to the team is desirable.
  • Pro-activeness to voice opinion with a team
  • Is able to adhere to specified governance procedures in the serving of alcoholic beverages
  • Full Driving licence preferred


Technical Leadership Expectations


Organizational Impact and Influence

Takes direction from manager to understand the core activities for their role and deliver on expectations.  Conducts tests/ experiments using established sensory / laboratory procedures and consistently follows best practice.  Is a team player and provides hands-on help to technical team members.  Once trained, assumes responsibility for the operation of relevant scientific equipment and maintains personal work area for safety and cleanliness.  Is comfortable adapting and working within changing environment. Seeks to own personal development; demonstrates a willingness to learn.  Demonstrates good relationships internally with cross functional partners and externally with suppliers.  Seeks to understand and work within the appropriate legal and regulatory governing bodies including Diageo policies.


Decision Making / Problem Solving

Recommends solutions to get the job done.  Able to anticipate some key issues and integrate technical knowledge with data to form recommendations.   With guidance, is able to diagnose problems and determine recommended next steps.  Can determine when to manage work independently and when to seek support, particularly on technical challenges/ issues.  Seeks and utilizes technical information from colleagues and external sources to achieve agreed experimental or project objectives.  Can readily identify existing sensory methods to address questions and offer suggestions on adapting methods if different solutions needed.


Communication Skills

Effective individual and group communicator with ability to lead and moderate group discussions & meetings (key deliverable will be to bring a panel to a group consensus). Clearly communicates research results to management and peers across different functions, both verbally and in writing.  Able to defend research/ development approach.  Maintains accurate, complete records within laboratory notebook and other record retention procedures.


Independent Judgment

Able to manage workload and proactively seeks advice when priorities are unclear.  Formulates detailed experimental procedures/ designs within specific project deliverables.  Able to interpret basic results and report conclusions with recommendations to line manager and project team.  Able to recognise unexpected or significant experimental/ development findings and share with line manger to determine next steps.   Seeks clarity when dealing with ambiguity.
Opportunities for Growth

  • Broaden technical & sensory experience by working on variety of different projects, with different challenges
  • Work across global regions with Europe and Africa being main area of impact with global opportunities available dependent on skill set and project availability
  • Growing in role to operate more independently and work on more technically complex projects
  • Grow in statistical analysis capabilities
  • Opportunity to lead basic projects building team leadership skills and interaction with cross functional partners.
  • Explore and develop Sensory research methods
  • Develop Sensory insights to influence and support new R&D projects
  • Grow and develop impact and influencing skills as you share sensory pov across various functions and levels.

Further information

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