Sarah Fancourt studied a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds

Sarah Fancourt

Can you briefly describe the area you are researching? 

I am researching scientific and technological strategies to reduce food waste. Food waste is a massive issue, with UK households wasting around 20% of all of the food they buy.

I am looking at ways to reduce wastage whether by educating the consumer through campaigns and initiatives, innovative packaging and labelling developments, the use of coatings/films as well as technological advances in pathogen inactivation and methods to increase consumption of defected produce.

What made you choose a research degree?

I graduated in July 2014 with a BSc Food Science and Nutrition. I really enjoyed my undergraduate degree and while undertaking my final exams the opportunity to carry out further research in an area of interest became available.

I applied instantly and my final year research project provided me with suitable background to be advantageous in attaining the PhD position.

I have always thrived on knowledge and I knew that I had enough self-motivation and determination to be capable of doing a PhD.

What is it that makes you passionate about the subject you study?

At school I always enjoyed food lessons, both the practical side and the science behind it, which lead to me gaining work experience in this field during my school holidays. My enthusiasm for the subject then grew from this point.

Studying food science is boundless because research and development never stops!

I like that advances in the food industry impact on everyone and food is a topic that everyone can relate to and talk about, on some level.

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose the University of Leeds because of its prestigious reputation for food science.

When I went to Open Days all the staff and students were friendly and I knew that the teaching was of a very high standard.

I also loved the University as a whole – the union looked great and I loved the city. I did my undergraduate degree here and am still here now, 5 years later, so you can tell I like it!

How would you describe student life in Leeds?

Student life in Leeds is whatever you want to make it! For me, there is never a quiet moment!

There are always things to do, whatever you are interested in. Leeds is a very fun, busy city, with no shortage of bars, clubs, restaurants and shops.

What do you think of the academic facilities and support services?

There is an excellent student support network, as well as many opportunities to develop your research and interpersonal skills.

If you are not sure how to get the help you need, someone will always be able to point you in the right direction and the postgraduate development record is a useful tool for research students.

What do you like best about the School?

The people!  All the staff and my supervisors are very helpful and supportive and although very busy people, always make time to help you.

What university social/sporting activities have you become involved in during your spare time?

This year I have joined two societies: sign language and HOMED.

I have made some new friends through sign language and am currently studying for my BSL level 1.  

I am really enjoying my PhD so far, but it is nice to take some time out and do something different, as well as meeting some new people.