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Call for Research Concept Notes: African superfoods – Increase added value and food applications using enzymes

Mon 23 Dec 2019
Call for Research Concept Notes

 Nestlé Research (Enzymes’ Group) in collaboration with the Department of Food Science and Technology at KNUST invites outline proposals for studies of up to 12 months duration which will add value to African superfoods through improved nutrition and food application using enzymes.

The challenge

Among African super foods, teff, amaranth & millet are receiving increasing popularity among consumers, due to their nutritional qualities and their gluten-free aspects. Plus, less known grains and plants like fonio, moringa & kenkiliba could be new emerging trends. The current production of these grains is limited. If the use and applications in foods increase, their demand will be higher, thus there will be an opportunity for creating shared value with local farmers. The aim of this project will be to evaluate the potential of incorporating these ingredients in plant-based drinks, porridges/ complementary gruels and baked products. For these applications, enzyme technology is key since it enables the processability, texture, taste and nutritional aspects, enabling nutrient content claims in the final applications.

What are Superfoods? Superfoods mostly refer to foods with exceptional health benefits that are produced and sold with a low ecological footprint and positive social benefits to local populations.


The study is suitable for one master thesis student (9 - 12 months), who will be based in KNUST. The supervision of the work will be done in collaboration with the Enzymes’ Group, Nestlé Research Lausanne.

Expected Outcomes:

  1. Fundamental understanding of the selected ingredients: nutrient and macronutrient composition.
  2. Develop new processes based on enzyme technology to extend their use in more food applications and therefore create shared value for local producers.
  3. Create new concepts and prototypes relevant for Nestlé applications (RTD, porridges, dough based products)

The call for concept notes

This call seeks to explore the application of processing and enzymes or related technology in adding value to superfoods available or grown in Ghana. We seek high quality research on at least one of the following research themes:        

  1. Detailed characterization of these ingredients in terms of nutrient composition as well as Identification of current limitations in the processing/ treatments methods (literature search, processing factsheets & analysis if needed).
  2. Investigation of endogenous enzymes present in the plant sources and potential to activate them during the process
  3. Evaluate the addition of food grade enzymes to improve processability, texture and taste
  4. Prototyping: plant based drinks, porridges/ complementary gruels and baking applications

Eligibility criteria and important considerations:

  • Applicant must be currently enrolled in a masters program at KNUST
  • Research studies may be of 6-12 months duration

Evaluation criteria

  • quality of the concept note and proposed research 
  • relevance and “value addition” with regard to utilizing African superfoods
  • internal capacity for high quality research
  • clearly specified objectives, relevance and potential for impact

Format of concept notes

Please submit a concept note of not more than 3 pages (single spaced) that clearly states:

  • problem statement
  • context (including what is known already)
  • objectives and research questions
  • study design and methods to be used
  • expected outputs, outcomes and impact
  • timeframe

Review and selection process

The following process will be adopted:

  1. Applicants are invited (through this call) to send their concept notes and CVs by 12th January, 2020 and according to specified eligibility and evaluation criteria, and format
  2. Concept notes will be screened against these criteria and quality filters by a review team to select a shortlist.
  3. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by representatives from Nestle and KNUST
  4. The selected research proposals will then be announced.
  5. Studies will start no later than 1 March 2020.

Concept notes should be emailed to Dr. Faustina D. Wireko-Manu at and