Purpose of a thesis project
Your thesis research project is an important part of your study. In the past years you have gained knowledge in food science with the aid of teachers and supervisors during lectures, laboratory classes, computer classes, etc. You learned obtaining information by literature searches, internet searches, performing experiments, evaluating your results and writing reports and/or giving presentations. Also, you have started to a certain extent to develop a scientific way of reasoning on how to solve problems. The purpose of a thesis project is to further develop this skill to analyse and solve a problem in a scientific way. In addition, a thesis project also perfectly serves the objective of obtaining knowledge/insight in a specific area of research.
A thesis project at the Laboratory of Food Chemistry
Bachelor thesis projects seek a balance between laboratory work and desktop study (data analysis, literature), depending on the topic and your own preferences. You can design and conduct your own experiments within the framework of your supervisor’s research, or perform data (from literature study or gathered within the laboratory by your thesis supervisor) analysis followed by (a modest amount of) laboratory work for which you design your own experiments based on the outcome of the data analysis. You will work in a small thesis ring, to learn from other students, which will come together multiple times.
Master thesis topics comprise laboratory work in which you design your own experiments and generate data yourself, followed by interpretation of these data and condensing them into a scientific report. Thesis rings will come together once every two weeks, to improve your writing skills.
Thesis in general
After you have chosen a research topic, you will start-up the project together with your supervisor. The supervisor is usually a researcher from our Laboratory.
A thesis research project in Food Chemistry is related to a specific
(bio)chemical food product or biomass conversion issue, which on its turn is related to an industrial application. In this way we do not solve an industrial problem, as this is the task of our graduates once they work in industry. Instead, we aim at understanding the mechanisms behind the problems and we aim to approach this in an academic way. With this knowledge/insight students are enabled to address (yet unknown) future problems, once they are graduated.
Within the Laboratory of Food Chemistry we focus our research on a limited number of topics. By doing so we are able to maintain our internationally well recognized position. This is also of benefit for students, as on the one hand their research project is well embedded and on the other hand it is a good reference regarding future employment. As a consequence the number of areas of research possible for thesis projects is somewhat restricted. In addition, to guarantee an optimal supervision, it is not always possible to choose the subject of your interest. This can be due to the fact that other students have also chosen the subject and for optimal supervision we want to restrict the number of students per supervisor.
Choosing a thesis project
First, formulate for yourself what specific knowledge/skills you want to learn during the thesis project. If you are e.g. interested in enzymology use this aspect for making your choice.
Second, is the background of the subject motivating you? If you do not like the background of the subject it will decrease the chance of success. Be aware that although it might be interesting to work on an industrial problem or product, it is the underlying way of performing research that is most important. By doing this you are, as stated above, enabled to address any industrial future problem. In order to acquire a solid background in food chemistry this can usually be trained better if one works with specific components of food rather than with the complete food product itself.
To apply for a thesis project, you should participate in one of the thesis rounds that take place every year. Twice a year we have a thesis round. Every thesis round consist of (1) an information meeting about the procedure, (2) an open house of all participating chair groups, (3) the application for your top 5 preferred topics and (4) the assignment of students. In the information meeting you will get all information you need to about the application procedure. Your study advisor can tell you more about the dates at which these meetings take place. During the open house, you can meet the thesis supervisors of the topics of your interest and you can get additional information about these topics. After the open house you can specify your top 5 preferred thesis topics in a digital "thesis platform" (will be explained in the information meeting). All students that applied in the thesis round will be divided over the available thesis topics based on their preference.
I am sure you will be able to find a subject that fits you. Many students have preceded you and enjoyed their thesis projects.
The staff of Food Chemistry