Marie Curie PhD position at the Sense Test, Lda

Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Application deadline: 15/06/2021 at 19:00 – Europe/London


We are looking for an Early Stage Researcher (PhD) starting in September 2021.

For this position, your host organisation will be the Sense Test, Lda (, at Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal. You will be given the opportunity to work within a network of international partners in the context of the EC-funded Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Network (ITN) TRANSIT (website TRANSIT).

Sustainable food production has become a worldwide priority. Sustainable technologies (high hydrostatic pressure-HHP, pulsed electric field-PEF, ultrasound-US. and nonthermal plasma-NTP) provide clean-label, nutritious food products and solutions to antimicrobial resistance. TRANSIT will train young scientists who will be capable of creating a transformational change to drive the utility of sustainable food technologies through interdisciplinary action. TRANSIT is a research and training programme aiming at integrating microbiology, food processing technology, cost-benefit analyses, quantitative microbiology, and consumer sciences.

TRANSIT will provide a unique combination of hands-on research training, non-academic placements, summer schools and workshops on research-related and transferable skills by the academic and non-academic partners of the consortium.

This ESR project aims to ensure that the application of the technologies is met with strong and widespread market demand, it is essential to take consumer trust, desires and preferences into account as early as possible in the development process. Therefore, strategies to increase trust, as well as sensory quality and consumer acceptance will be quantitatively assessed to address the adoption of such technologies.

PhD position:

A research project with high value, to be supervised by Prof Luís M. Cunha (Associate Professor at University of Porto) and co-supervised by Professor Lisa Methven (Full professor at University of Reading), where you will work with:

  • Evaluating risk perception and increasing consumer trust in new products from innovative technologies:
    • Consumer acceptance and perceived added value of food products, namely from the nutritional and health-related point of view, will be tested in several EU countries.
    • Dimensions of risk perception will be evaluated through qualitative research.
    • Testing through appropriate methods, such as online choice experiments on food presentation and labelling, and evaluation of different priming strategies (which narrative to use), will be used to increase trust.
  • Survey consumers’ willingness to pay for new products:
    • Consumers’ willingness-to-pay and market demand for new products treated by the studied technologies, determining purchase probabilities across new products (and even minimally processed/fresh-cut alternatives) over experimentally varied shopping (e.g., retail store aisles, online grocery stores) and consumption (e.g., relevant meal/snack occasions and settings) contexts.
    • Choice-based conjoint tests and consumer lab studies will be investigated while considering individual consumer characteristics (by purchase patterns and socio/psychometric variables).
  • Evaluation of consumers’ emotional response to new products:
    • Consumers’ emotional response will be evaluated by combining extrinsic and intrinsic methods.
    • These will be complemented with the evaluation of perceived well-being associated with the new produce
  • Sensory evaluation of new products:
    • The impact of different processing conditions on organoleptic properties will be assessed following proper experimental designs (central composite design, incomplete block design).
    • Sensory mapping and description of produce undergoing different processing conditions will be obtained through the use of emerging sensory profiling techniques.
    • Selected produce will also be evaluated following dynamic sensory profiling techniques.


  • A full-time position for 3 years.
  • A fully financed research project: Exact salary will be confirmed upon and will be based on € 26,698 per annum, to be paid in 14 instalments and mobility allowance of €600/month. Additionally, researchers may also qualify for a family allowance of €500/month depending on the family situation. Taxation and Social (including Pension) Contribution deductions based on National and company regulations will apply (see the Marie Curie Career development information).

Eligibility criteria:

As the project is funded within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), researchers can be of any nationality but need to demonstrate transnational mobility. To be eligible applicants must satisfy the requirements that apply to all Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researchers, therefore on the date of appointment (their start date) applicants:

  • must not have more than 4 years of research experience;
  • must not hold a PhD;
  • must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work or study) in the country where the post is based for more than 12 months in the previous 36 months;
  • must be available to start the PhD in September 2021 and must work exclusively for the project during the employment contract;
  • must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree to enrol in the graduate school.

Selection process:

  • Applicants will be reviewed without regard to sex, race or nationality. Applications from female scientists and engineers and ethnic minorities are particularly encouraged;
  • Applicants must fulfil the EC eligibility criteria set by the European Commission (see above);
  • Important: to apply, upload a 1-2 page CV (please specify your residence/workplace in the last 3 years), 1-page motivation letter (please mention the PROJECT TITLE and briefly address each skill as listed above, and address your research interest in relation to the research project), full university transcripts (with overall and individual grades) for both undergraduate and MSc Degrees;
  • All other formats and document content (e.g., longer CVs) will NOT BE CONSIDERED for the application process. All documents to be submitted in pdf format, named with a clear identification of contents and candidate’s first and last name (ex: CV_JohnDoe; MotivationLetter_MarieJane);
  • Applications must be sent by e-mail to:, indicating the Project name and the applicant’s name in the message subject. All attached pdf files must be legible and free of virus.
  • By sending your CV, motivation letter and University transcripts, you agree that this information – while kept strictly confidential – will be processed and stored by the Sense Test, Lda for the time span of the recruitment process;
  • Include the names and contact information of up to two referees in your application; if possible add letters;
  • Selection will be made through structured skill-based review evaluation from CV, motivation letter and grades. After selection for the shortlist, an (online) interview conducted by at least two people (if possible from the TRANSIT network) will follow. Additional information may be requested for the (online) interview;
  • As there are multiple positions available in TRANSIT (, applicants are advised to indicate whether they have applied to or plan to apply to other positions in this consortium.

Further information:

Further information (not for submitting applications)

For more information about this position, please contact Dr Luís M. Cunha (Associate Professor at FCUP), supervisor of the PhD project, e-mail:

For more information about the contractual aspects, please contact Mr Rui Costa Lima, Managing Partner at Sense Test, e-mail:

Share this