The first International Food Quality and Health students graduate

14 July 2022

The first cohort of students that joined the International Food Quality and Health Master’s degree programme in 2020 have graduated.

It is so great to see that the graduates have done well and that they have enjoyed the programme. They deserve a lot of praise for their dedication to making it a good experience for everyone. We started the process of building the programme back in 2016 and worked hard through all the many steps it takes to get a programme running, so it is amazing to finally see the first group of students graduate,’ says the Head of the Programme, Professor Derek V. Byrne from Aarhus University.

A broadened horizon

Zhao Ailin joined the first cohort and for her it was challenging, but also a satisfying journey achieving a Danish degree from Aarhus University. All students on the programme obtain a double degree from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Aarhus University.

Of course, I am happy that I have achieved the Danish degree and it has been a great experience. I have learned a lot from studying in English and learning from the way they teach in Denmark. Also, I think the programme is excellent. In the first year, I gained a lot of interesting knowledge that broadened my horizons and understanding of food science,

and in the second year, I was able to concentrate on my particular interest in environmental contaminants in fish,’ says Zhao Ailin, who is yet not quite done studying. In Denmark a master’s degree takes two years to complete whereas in China it takes three years, meaning that Zhao Ailin now has her Danish degree, but will spend one more year writing her thesis to obtain her Chinese degree.

When I have completed my Chinese degree, I dream of continuing to do research within food science as a PhD student in Denmark,’ she says.

From farm to fork

The whole programme has a chain view – from farm to fork if you will – that goes from the start of the food production chain and all the way to the end through production safety, quality, nutrition and marketing up to how you get everything to work for the consumer. This is primarily taught throughout the first year, whereafter students can specialise in an area of interest during the one-year-thesis,’ says Professor Derek V. Byrne.

Søren Valsøe Hansen successfully defended his thesis in June after a busy two years of studying International Food Quality and Health, and he believes the competences he has gained live up to the essence of the programme.

It makes a lot of sense to have acquired an understanding of the entire food journey. You obviously don’t become an expert in all the fields, but during the thesis I could immerse myself deep in my field of interest. Sometimes it was challenging, when for instance we did a month-long course on marketing, which I haven’t been acquainted with previously, but everything turned out to be super interesting’ says Søren Valsøe, who spent his second year working on his thesis in a collaboration with ENORM, a Danish company that specialises in making more sustainable animal feed from insects.

Like Zhao Ailin, Søren Valsøe would like to continue as a PhD student, if possible, continuing the work he did during his master’s thesis.

Photo: Søren Valsøe Hansen with classmate Chanette Frederiksen after defending their theses.