Early Stage Researcher, Weronika Filipowska, conducted a two month internship at Boortmalt as part of the EJDFoodSCI Program and PhD research project. This is a short interview about her involvement in the programme, her research and her work at Boortmalt.
What is special about your PhD program?
I am doing a PhD within the European Joint Doctorate (EJD Food Science) program, which is a joint partnership between six renowned European universities and four global malting and brewing companies. I carry out my research work at KU Leuven in Belgium and at the University of Nottingham in the UK. Furthermore, industrial mentors from Boortmalt and FlavorActiV are involved in my research. The EJD Food Science program, involving the eight early stage researchers, focuses on a combination of scientific research and innovative doctoral education. The knowledge and skills in malting, brewing and project management have been provided to us in a form of lectures led by experts in the field, practical brewing classes, as well as by an industrial secondments in the rapidly growing malting and brewing industry. If I were to compare the EJD Food Science with a “regular” doctoral program, this multicultural and multidisciplinary training gives me a clear view on the collaboration between universities and businesses. It allows me to build a network by active participation in numerous conferences and brewing fairs, as well as teaches team work by close collaboration with seven other early stage researchers.
Being successful in the project requires a certain set of skills that all of us need to polish – flexibility, problem solving, fast learning, project managing, overcoming cultural differences, being goal-oriented, etc. The program is very demanding, but it also brings a lot of satisfying and remarkable moments!
What is the main focus of your research?
The topic of my thesis is: “Determination of critical factors in malt production related to the flavour stability of final beer”. In other words, I am investigating how malting technology could influence the beer aging process. It is an analytical and technology driven doctoral research. Analytical, because I optimised a method for quantification of beer staling markers, which can be found in malt. Technological, because I am comparing different malting technologies and I am trying to unravel the crucial factors related to the formation of beer staling markers. Additionally, the environmental impact of malting is essential to my research. My goal is to design a malting schedule, which allows to kill two birds with one stone – reducing energy and/or water usage during malting and obtaining malt with a lower beer aging potential. The work is still ongoing, so keep your fingers crossed!
What did you do during the industrial secondment at Boortmalt?
During my stay at Boortmalt I have been developing a malting regime allowing to obtain malt with relatively low beer staling potential, while maintaining the high brewing quality. I closely collaborated with the Innovation Centre team applying their expertise on the micro-malting technique in order to prepare malt samples. Additionally, for a couple of weeks I became a part of the Quality Control team in order to collect analytical data for my research project, to learn about performance of malt quality analysis and to follow the quality control protocols on the malting site. In the meantime, I have been participating in the production of malt on the industrial scale. The two months at Boortmalt were an amazing learning experience. I could compare the previously gained theoretical knowledge with the practical approach. I had a chance to familiarise myself with malting on different scales. It was also an exciting personal challenge –I could work on different positions, at different departments and I could collaborate with various teams – Innovation Centre, Quality Control, Malting plant operators, Engineering Support, IT, Sales etc. These experiences helped me to learn more about myself and about the structure of the global malting industry.
What are your impressions of working at Boortmalt?
It was an amazing experience that has broadened not only my knowledge about malting, but also my view on the dynamics of the industry. Every day brought many challenges and required multitasking, what definitely made the work more interesting and exciting. I really liked the working environment and social interactions at Boortmalt – from the first day I felt fully integrated. Everyone was very helpful, motivated and skilful. Many thanks to Irina Bolat for her mentorship and to all Boortmalt teams for making my stay an unforgettable experience!
How would you sum up your experience at Boortmalt in one sentence?
To be the best, learn from the best.