Every day we are enjoying food together with our family or friends and food helps us to stay healthy. But how can we prepare foods that are better balanced so that you will prefer them over ‘unhealthy’ products and how can we make these products in a sustainable way? Finding answers to these questions is the goal of the Food Engineering group. We warmly invite you to help achieve our dream. A thesis at the Food Process Engineering group is preparing better foods in a better way.
Our research is very divers. Some examples are:
- preparing tasty vegetable protein products
- studying how solid food products are digested in the stomach to design healthier products
- micro-engineered systems to produce emulsion products with unprecedented quality
- nano-structuring of emulsion based products for better bioavailability
- developing milder drying processes which are energy efficient
- precisely measure the effect of processing on biopolymers with new designed instruments
Most of our work is in good collaboration with major food industries that are present in The Netherlands and abroad. But we also work together with a range of national and international academic groups of the best universities in the world. These collaborations can help you in your future career. In June 2015, our research was evaluated by a team of globally leading experts. They found our research excellent on all aspects, acclaiming the innovativeness of our work, our combination of fundamental and applied research, and our state-of-the-art experimental infrastructure. So you can be assured of the quality of your thesis project.
Interesting in taking up these challenge? Read the complete invitation of professor Remko Boom.
What should you know before starting a thesis project in food process engineering?
Selecting a topic
If you would like to start a thesis project, it is wise to check out the possibilities beforehand. You could do this by exploring our website (http://www.wur.nl/fpe) or by reading the thesis booklet (a paper version can be obtained from Marjan de Lange, secretary Food Process Engineering, room K.2.13, Axis-X, building 118; students that prefer a pdf of the thesis booklet have to send a request via email to Anja Janssen).
You will find out, that most thesis projects are supervised by PhD students or Post-docs, but also by an assistant professor (UD-er in Dutch). In all cases, you will take part of the research of your supervisor and you will conduct research on a sub-project.
For selection of a BSc thesis (BLT) you are free to choose between all available topics (check with your study advisor, whether he/she agrees on your choice). For an MSc thesis, the topics can be restricted, dependent on your study and specialization. If you are not sure whether the topic you like fits within your specialisation, please contact your study advisor.
If you are interested in doing your thesis project outside of the university, at a research institute for example, you have to discuss this possibility with the prof. Remko Boom. This step is necessary in order to guarantee the quality of your research experience: the project and the supervision should meet our department standards.
After reading the thesis booklet it is advisable to make appointments one or more teachers. During an informal meeting you'll get a better idea about the possible projects and the availability of these projects. After this meeting you can make appointments with the supervisor(s) of the project of interest. Subsequently you can make the decision about where to start your project. Also now it is best to meet with your future supervisor and to discuss about the length, contents, starting date and location of your thesis project. However, before you actually start you should have the necessary prerequisites: for a thesis of 18, 21 or 24 credits you will need to have completed After reading this booklet it is advisable to make appointments one or more teachers. During an informal meeting you'll get a better idea about the possible projects and the availability of these projects. After this meeting you can make appointments with the supervisor(s) of the project of interest. Subsequently you can make the decision about where to start your project. Also now it is best to meet with your future supervisor and to discuss about the length, contents, starting date and location of your thesis project. However, before you actually start you should have the necessary prerequisites: for a thesis of 18, 21 or 24 credits you will need to have completed Food Production and Preservation (FPE-21306) or Food Engineering (FPE-20306). For larger theses (27-30-33-36-39 credits) you will need to have completed either Transfer Processes (FPE-31306) or Food Structuring (FPE-30306) or Sustainable Food and Bioprocessing (FPE-30806). Make sure to check the thesis contract.
You do not have to register via SSC for the thesis. It is sufficient to agree with your supervisor on the starting date.
If any questions still remain after having read this, you may approach the contact person for the theses: Anja Janssen (Room K.2.10b). For the information presented above and more, you can also go to the Food Process Engineering website: http://www.wur.nl/fpe. We hope you'll not only learn a lot during your thesis project, but that you will also have a great time in our group.
Currently we have thesis topics available on:
Food Micro Technology (contact Karin Schroen)
Structuring and Emulsification
Enzyme Reactions and Bio-Separations (contact Anja Janssen)
Enzyme Conversion and Kinetic Modeling
Creating New Food Structures and Functional Ingredients (contact Atze Jan van der Goot)
Structured High-Protein Foods
Unraveling Structures to Extract Valuable Ingredients
Process Analysis using Exergy
Dry Food Processing (contact Maarten Schutyser)
Dry fractionation of Food Ingredients
Fractionation from Concentrated Suspensions
Drying of Foods
Emulsions, Encapsulation and Interfaces (contact Claire Carabin-Breton)
Interfacial Behavior of Food Proteins
Nano-engineering of Interfaces
Encapsulation of Food Micro-ingredients
More detailed information is given in the thesis booklet(a paper version can be obtained from Marjan de Lange, secretary Food Process Engineering, room K.2.13, Axis-X, building 118; students that prefer a pdf of the thesis booklet have to send a request via email to Anja Janssen).
FPE is having their group meeting on Thursday mornings, starting at 8.30h. We expect all group members (as a thesis student you are seen as one of our group members) to attend the plenary group meetings. It is our habit that new group members present themselves by mentioning your name, your research subject and the name of your supervisor.
After 1.5 months you will have an evaluation meeting with your direct supervisor. During this meeting you may discuss with your supervisor about the supervision and also your supervisor will give feedback on your functioning. The purpose of this meeting is to improve collaboration, not to judge! During your project you will have regular meetings with your supervisor to discuss results. The frequency of these meetings will be determined together with your supervisor.
Guidelines for the evaluation meeting
After 6 week student and supervisor have an evaluation talk. Goal is to discuss each others functioning. Also how the thesis goes according to expectations of both parties. It’s no judgment.
Setup of the talk
First the student explains what he or she wants to discuss. Then the supervisor does the same. Last to be discussed are the issues that come forward and together we can look at solutions.
More in depth
Student starts about how he thinks the supervisor functions and what can be improved like for example:
- Too much involved
- Supervision practical work
- Theoretical explanation
First student explains thoughts and feelings about next topics and then the supervisor.
- Time of working
- Organization of the research
- Literature research
- Contact with colleagues
Does the thesis meet the expectation? No practical things are discussed here, but it is about general matters like:
- Defining the subject
- Feasibility of goals
- Routine work or new things?
At the end of the talk clear appointments are made of how to handle certain ‘problems’ and after three weeks a quick revision is done.
If you have finished your final report, your thesis work will be evaluated during a final meeting with your supervisors and the examiner. During this meeting you will get questions about the contents of your thesis project and your report. Afterwards you will receive a grade. The evaluation forms are available for download.
The grade is then reported to the student administration by Marjan de Lange. Note that you do not have to register in advance for a thesis.
When you finish your practical thesis work:
- put equipment and chemicals back in place or discard as prescribed.
- notify lab head of your departure.
- clear working area and clean up for next user.
- delete your user files on network drives.
- Make sure that your supervisor has a copy of your datafiles, lab journal and other relevant data.