Read interviews with students and graduates from the MSc programme in Food Science and Technology:


Mark Knigge, MSc graduate from Food Science and Technology, University of Copenhagen

Application Scientist and Team Manager at Chr. Hansen, Mark Knigge, who graduated as dairy engineer from University of Copenhagen in 2015.

What does your job as an Application Scientist at Chr. Hansen involve?

I am responsible for one of our cheese segments, Cheddar, i.e. for the cultures and enzymes we sell to Cheddar cheese productions around the world. Cheddar production typically takes place in England, Ireland, the United States and Australia and I am primarily in contact with our salespeople, but also our customers, who are the companies producing Cheddar cheese.

If customers are experiencing different kinds of cheese production problems, it is my job to make sure we get to the bottom of it. Typical problems can be that the cheese tastes wrong, or has the wrong texture or the wrong pH. When you supply an important ingredient, which the culture is in a cheese production, it is often blamed if the production does not go to plan and we also provide advice and guidance when it is not related to the culture.

I can imagine that the customers can be quite challenged when they contact you?

Yes, it can often be about an issue that the customer needs to be resolved quickly. Our salespeople are very skilled and can solve a lot of problems themselves, so we usually avoid the very long trips to the US and Australia.

Altogether, I probably have about 30 travel days a year and if a problem is to be solved by our team, it is typically because the customer needs to have some tests done that the company does not have the ability to perform themselves. Then either I would travel to the company or we would have them send samples that we would analyse in the laboratory.

Another type of task is helping the customer optimise the process. For example, at Chr. Hansen we have helped develop a new instrument that we use to measure how the milk goes from liquid to solid form (coagulation) after adding the rennet enzyme to the milk.

I have visited four or five Irish dairies to measure their productions, where the instrument helps us understand why the products are slightly different from time to time, thus helping to make them more uniform.

Cheese producers ultimately want a process that is as streamlined and uniform as possible so that products meet specifications. Otherwise, the cheese may have to be sold cheaper. So it is very much about helping companies optimise the process and make the products better.

You are also the Team Manager for four Cheese-Makers in your pilot plant in your Application and Technology Center – what does that job involve?

Here my role is to plan the work and make sure that my team has what they need in terms of time in the dairy and equipment so we can produce our experimental cheeses. The experiments are an important part of the development of new cultures and enzymes to be tested in, for example, yoghurt and cheese.

At the moment, we are in the process of setting up a new team, which is why I am also involved in the production. One of the best things about the job is helping people develop.

Do you use what you have learned in your education every day?

Yes, I certainly do, but I was surprised at how many other skills come into play when you are in a company. I think that work is 50% academic qualifications from the study programme and 50% personal qualities. For example, it is the personal qualities that come into play when working with people from all sorts of different cultures and when you have to resolve conflicts.

Cheese production at Christian Hansen

As Team Manager, Mark Knigge is also involved in the production in the pilot dairy at Chr. Hansen

My job is incredibly exciting and challenging on many levels and I quickly realised that for me it is important that the basic elements, like quality, are in place.

Most businesses are commercial, so you have to earn your salary. And as a recent graduate, you can be surprised at how much the commercial takes up in everyday life. In my job, it means that you often find yourself in a dilemma over whether to do something fast relative to doing it well and it is actually something that makes the job exciting, as it requires good communication skills to convince an eager salesperson who has the customer on the other end.

Another thing is that, as a dairy engineer, you have the academic and theoretical approach, but in everyday life there is often something practical that needs to be organised before you can start to talk about the more theoretical.

When I started at Chr. Hansen two years ago, I would, for example, look at the effect of cultures in terms of flavour development and aroma. But before that can happen, I have to make sure that everything works in relation to the way we make cheese. Therefore, there has been another starting point, where we have begun to look at whether we might have to use a purer milk, so we are able to measure the true effect of the culture – and not the effect of the culture along with some microorganisms that were present in the milk from the beginning. Things can therefore take a little longer than you imagine from the beginning.

What do you like most about the job?

The best part is getting to geek out in a little niche – and here I mean geek in the most positive way. By understanding something in detail you are also equipped to improve it.

What drives me every day is that we can do it even better. We can improve something that may seem a trifle, but means quite a lot in the bigger context of an industrial production. So where I am, I think we can go quite far in collaboration with our customers. Many choose us because we have a lot of input into how they can optimise their process even more and turn some buttons, making it all just a little bit sharper.



Tobias Emil Jensen is a food engineer and master brewer from the University of Copenhagen. He is the founder of EtOH Spirits, used to own a beer brewery, and is a former brewer of soft drinks and cocktails. 

Tobias Emil Jensen, food engineer and master brewer from University of Copenhagen

Why did you choose to do a BSc in Food Science at the University of Copenhagen?

Because I find the chemistry of food fascinating! Why are some foods red, and others viscous, while some food items separate when boiled? I’ve always been interested in what makes food food. In year 9 I did work experience at the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen, where I did some experiments involving putting boiled ham in a UV light cupboard.

The great thing was that I was in a laboratory – but it was not about chemicals, it was about seeing what was in the food.

What makes food chemistry so interesting?

In my master’s thesis I wrote about the aromas found in hops, and how they can be affected by microorganisms etc. One amazing fact is that you cannot define the taste of a beer based on a particular aroma, but that 400 different aromas in a highly complex interplay with your nose and brain combine to produce the taste. A beer might taste like straw and grain with a scent of lemon and grapefruit.

It’s incredibly beautiful that it can take me hours to try to quantify some of the aromas, but it only takes my nose and brain a split second to get an impression of what it tastes like, and whether I like it or not. So it’s the complexity of something as simple as food and beverages that makes it fascinating for me.

How did your interest in beer arise?

After completing lower secondary school, I started at Det Frie Gymnasium, a private upper secondary school based on very democratic principles, and where students have a lot of influence. The students proposed that the school should invest DKK 8,000 in a home beer brewing system. Many of the teachers supported the idea because the system could be used when teaching a number of subjects: mathematics, physics, social science, chemistry and biology. There was a great deal of interest in it, and the system was purchased.

So while others played music, brewing beer became our hobby. This wasn’t something I thought about much when I applied to do Food Science. It was only in my second year of the programme that I started to think that perhaps we could turn beer brewing into more than a hobby.

How did you become a master brewer?

It was pure luck. I was doing an internship as a food engineer at Scottish brewery BrewDog, when I heard that a master brewer programme was likely in the pipeline. I grabbed the phone and got hold of the right people, so that my internship could count towards the new master brewer programme. I had to write a different kind of report in addition to the report I had to write to become a general food engineer. So I’m both a food engineer and a master brewer.

What do you think is special about the Food Science and Technology programme?

It’s an extremely broad programme. In my job today, I can talk to brewery suppliers and discuss the design of pumps, boilers, steam generators and power relays. I also understand the entire microbiology of beer, and know why beer begins to taste like cardboard if there is a fault in production.

I’m not as specialised as the chemical engineer, the microbiologist or the sales manager, but I have a broad understanding of topics like production, process, taste – and even economics, as I did a lot of economics as part of the master brewer programme.

How do you use your studies in your work each day?

I’m always looking for new ingredients for our beer – such as fruits or herbs. If I want to use cloudberries, I have to work out how they are best expressed in a beer. Whether they should be fermented, matured, boiled or extracted in alcohol. There is a whole microbiological cosmos of yeast strains and bacteria cultures, all of which can add a beautiful touch in a beer, if you just know how to bring out exactly the taste you want. The theories have to be tested in practice, and I draw on my knowledge from the programme every single day.

I do VAT accounts and tax, and host beer tastings and seminars, but I also get the opportunity to use my training a lot of the time. Last year we launched 40-50 new beers, and we also have an idea about making bottled cocktails and soft drinks. Making recipes is also still my hobby. When I eat dinner or drink a glass of wine, I automatically think about how it tastes, and which grape the wine was made from and which yeast strain has been used etc.

I’m always keen to do something new. ‘To Øl’ is an experimental brewery where we do a lot of innovation. We need to always be on our toes, and we make regular trips abroad to see what’s happening in the beer industry in other countries.

Would you be able to use your degree elsewhere in the food industry?

My expertise is in liquids, and in our new business, Tapperiet Brus, I will draw on my knowledge to make soft drinks and bottled cocktails. This is a new field for me, but fun to jump into. The soft drinks have to be organic and unpasteurised to get the pure taste.

So I feel I have all the challenges I could want. But maybe one day I’ll start making whisky. I like to dream about that. Buy a property in the country and make whisky to be stored in oak barrels for decades! 

Since this interview, Tobias has founded EtOH Spirits, which produces whisky with a maturation time of only 7-14 days, in part through the use of heat and ultrasound.




RoisinJane Godkin from Ireland studies Food Science and Technology where she has chosen the Dairy Specialisation.

RoisinJane Godkin, MSc student at Food Science and Technology

RoisinJane has come to the Faculty of Science from Dublin Institute of Technology, where she has finished her bachelor in Nutraceuticals, which is a study combining nutrition studies with pharmacy:

“I wanted to experience a new culture and a new city, so I went online and found the Master of Science programme Food Science and Technology at the University of Copenhagen. I really liked the course description and the fact that I could specialise in dairy. Ireland has always been known for its good milk, cheese and grass-fed cows, so I would like to get a good job in Ireland as a specialist in this field one day.

Easy to Get Help From Lecturers and Students

As an international student, I find the lecturers are very helpful. I get a lot of one-on-one time with them and you can have your say. And I often engage in debates with the lecturers and fellow students in an open and comfortable environment.

Also, there is always somebody who can help you with all the practical questions you have when you move to a new place. But of course, it is also important to get out of your comfort zone as an international student and not be afraid to approach people.


In the beginning, there can be some challenges though. For example, when I started on the programme I got a course that was taught 100% online. I had never done that before. 

There was also a change of exam style: In Ireland I had only had written exams. Here, there are many oral exams where the teachers are so lovely but it is something entirely different. There is also a lot more group work. In Ireland you work alone and it’s a bit more competitive. 

Close Contact With Industry, Excursions and Access to a Diary Pilot Plant

The course with the dairy specialization is very unique. You get the option of doing a paid internship and there is a dairy pilot plant on campus. Here students get a chance to use the equipment and have practical exercises on a weekly basis.

And the courses are really good, the lectures keep it relevant by bringing in the newest research, explaining to you why you are learning what you are learning and how you can use it in the real world. 

As a student, you also have close contact with the industry. Industry professionals are brought in as guest lectures, there are many networking-events where you can meet potential future employers and there are spot-events for students where you get help to find different job options in your field, make a good resume and so on.

We also go on a lot of excursions to different production sites and see the supply chain from first hand. You get familiar with the whole chain: from the cow being milked to the actual production.

Job Opportunities

I want to join a graduate programme if possible. There are some options out there. It will give me work experience in all aspects of the field so I will get to see what my strongest points are. I am particularly interested in the production side of things and manufacturing of dairy products, so I hope to work my way to consulting to the food industry.



Louise Bjerrums passion is food chemistry. That is why she would like to become a product developer in the food ingredient business upon graduation from the Food Science and Technology programme.

Photo of Louise Bjerrum

In highschool, she was very fond of chemistry and math, but she did not want to study chemistry exclusively as she finds it much easier to understand chemistry when it is related to something else. That was why she found the combination of applied chemistry and food science in the Food Science and Technology programme very attractive.

“Food Science provides you with knowledge about the content of food and what different processes do to food on an overall and detailed level”, Louise says.

In Touch With Real Life

Louise is enrolled in the Dairy Technology specialisation in which she and her fellow students experiment with and produce different products in a research dairy in order to get a sense of the products they will be working with upon graduation.

When studying food science, the form of instruction varies, but almost all courses include exercises in the lab. This way of studying appeals to Louise, who likes the combination of lecturers, laboratory work and theoretical case studies. In her opinion, it is easier to understand theory when it is applied. Additionally, she appreciates the way students get in touch with real life as in integrated part of the programme.

“There is a great link between the programme and the industry. Often, we get to visit different companies in the food industry which provides us with a clear idea about our job opportunities upon graduation”, Louise says.

Unique and Involving Study Environment

Louise moved 300 kilometers from the western part of Denmark to Copenhagen to study Food Science and Technology and she felt at home at the University of Copenhagen.

”The study environment here is really special”, Louise says.

She has experienced that the secret behind the unique and social study environment is the fact that students come from all parts of Denmark and the entire world. Actually, she feels that her fellow students have become like family to her and due to a very busy study programme and her many non-curricular activities, sometimes she feels that she does not have time to visit her family. One of the non-curricular things Louise has been involved in for the past three years is guidance of first year students at the Faculty.

Additionally, Louise emphasises the contributory influence that students have on their own learning and study programme. Her experience is that students are taught to develop a critical approach to theory and that student input, initiatives and critical questions are taken very seriously.

An example of this is that she has been a student representative in the study board. One of her key issues was the creation of additional elective courses in the Food Science and Technology programme. Even though it is not all student initiatives which are realised she still appreciates the relatively small distance between students, professors and management at the faculty.