Royal Greenland skalrejer

From Bachelor of Engineering student to PhD student

Wednesday 27 May 20


Hanne Aarslev Jensen
Industrial Ph.D.-student
National Food Institute


Timothy John Hobley
Associate Professor
National Food Institute
+45 45 25 27 06


Lisbeth Truelstrup Hansen
Head of Research Group, Professor
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 62 78


If you have questions about the Bachelor of Engineering:
Contact Timothy John Hobley

If you have questions about the PhD programme:
Contakt Hanne Aarslev Jensen or Lisbeth Truelstrup

The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, has enrolled its first PhD student, who comes with a Bachelor of Engineering background. The aim of the PhD study is to optimize the quality of Royal Greenland’s cooked at sea, shell-on prawns.

When Hanne Aarslev Jensen for the first time walked through the doors of the Technical University of Denmark, DTU, as a Bachelor of Engineering student, she never aspired to complete a higher research degree. Her goal was to gain hands-on skills that would enable her to make a difference in a food business by helping to solve some of their practical challenges.

Nevertheless, the 27-year-old has just started in an industrial PhD programme where she will help Royal Greenland with optimizing the quality of the company’s sea-cooked, shell-on prawns. This has all come about because she got hooked on studying and decided to add a Master of Science degree to her Bachelor of Engineering qualifications, which is an option available to anyone who has achieved a Bachelor of Engineering degree.

Shortly after Hanne Aarslev Jensen was able to call herself Master of Science in Engineering (Food Technology option), the National Food Institute accepted her as the institute’s first PhD student to come with a Bachelor of Engineering background.

She believes that being an industrial PhD student provides a great opportunity to live out her dream of making a difference: The aim of her PhD study is to help Royal Greenland find ways of preventing the loss of quality that can occur in sea-cooked shell-on prawns such as changes in colour and flavour.

Off to a different start due to corona

When Hanne Aarslev Jensen started her job in April 2020, she was due to go directly into the laboratory. However, when Denmark shut down in mid-March because of the corona situation so did most of DTU's laboratories. So she instead began life as a PhD student by reviewing all the literature on prawns that she can get her hands on to learn about ways in which prawns are caught and processed as well as how microorganisms and storage conditions can affect their quality.

In Hanne Aarslev Jensen’s view the changes were a blessing in disguise, as the work on a literature review will provide her with a great starting point from which to launch her research in the laboratory and in the field, when that becomes possible. The fieldwork will include trips to Royal Greenland’s factory in Germany and the prawn trawlers in Greenland.

Bridge between businesses and academia

Royal Greenland has conducted research and development projects in collaboration with the National Food Institute for several years, including several PhD projects. One of the advantages of industrial PhD projects is that the student builds a bridge between the company's needs and the university’s laboratories and scientific expertise in solving complex problems such as optimizing the quality of the sea-cooked, shell-on prawns.

Many opportunities for Bachelor of Engineering graduates

Studying for a Bachelor of Engineering in Food Safety and Quality equips students with broad, interdisciplinary competencies in production, microbiology and chemistry. They also learn how the quality and safety of our food is ensured and examined throughout the production chain.

Most Bachelor of Engineering in Food Safety and Quality graduates secure jobs in roles such as analytical staff in the food industry or control staff in the pharmaceutical industry or in the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s regional laboratories. The degree also provides admission to Master programmes at DTU and the University of Copenhagen and—as Hanne Aarslev Hansen has shown—can also be the first step on the path to a PhD position.

Read more

An industrial PhD student is employed by a company and divides her/his time between the university and the company for the purpose of solving practical and technical challenges of commercial relevance. Read more about industrial PhDs on DTU’s website: Industrial PhD.

You can also go to DTU’s website for more information on the Bachelor of Engineering in Food Safety and Quality (available in Danish only)