PhD opportunity: Exploring the association between temperature and sweetness perception. University of Nottigham, UK

Sweet snacks and dessert tend to give consumers a great pleasure and satisfaction, but often it also gives consumers a guilty emotion after consumption due to its high calorie content. The global sugar reduced/free sweet food market continue evolving due to increased number of health-conscious consumers, which does not only give consumers the indulgent sensation, but also offer a guilty-free emotion after eating. Therefore, innovations are constantly needed in sugar substitute’s solution to introduce sugar-reduced products without compromising its taste. It is well known that temperature interact perceived taste and flavour during consumption, for example, cold beverage taste less sweet than drinking at ambient temperature. However, the mechanism behind sweetness and temperature interaction is not fully understood. This information is important as it can be used to inform new product formulations. Therefore, the aim of this PhD research is to gain a fundamental understanding of mechanism behind the interaction between sweetness and temperature in a model temperature-sensitive food product and investigate the key factors affecting sweetness perception, as well as to explore the temporal profile of different formulated products. The successful candidate will gain a multidisciplinary experience, learning aspects of sensory evaluation methodologies, product formulation, analytical flavour measurements, consumer methods, emotional response evaluation and predictive modelling.

In addition, as part of the program, the student will conduct two three-month placements to gain technical trainings provided by Unilever across a range of different business areas, and have the opportunity to work with product category expertise at Unilever’s Pilot Production Facilities on product formulation.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to

Applications are invited from suitably qualified students in science related subjects, with experience in sensory and consumer science.  Please see eligibility criteria at the following link: 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 details:

Home and international students are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Funding is available for four years from late September 2023. The award covers tuition fee (£4,596) at the home rate plus an annual stipend which was (£17,668) for 2022. This is set by the Research Councils. Please note that successful international candidates will be put forward for a University Fees Difference Scholarship to cover the difference between the home and international fee.

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