Dr.Becki Clark

A sensory specialist with over eight years’ experience training high impact taste and odour panels in a variety of sectors including foods, beverages and non-food consumer goods. Specializing in developing analytical sensory and consumer panels globally, supporting sensory capabilities in North America, South America, North Asia, South Asia and Europe. I have a doctorate in multi-modal flavour perception in beer, and have published scientific papers in the field. As a passionate sensory professional, I remain active in fundamental taste and odour research using brain imaging techniques to investigate cortical processing of sensory stimuli and population differences in sensory perception. My personal goal is to communicate scientific sensory research and sensory best practice, helping to produce world class data.

Specialities include: sensory analysis, taster training, consumer science, functional magnetic resonance brain imaging, and experimental design.

Key skills
– Specialized knowledge and active researcher in the area of fundamental sensory perception  and population differences in flavour perception including sensory phenotyping and genotyping.
– Experience developing sensory panels globally.
– Experienced trainer of professional tasters in the areas of beer and water.
– Multidisciplinary sensory experience with skills in physicochemical flavour interactions, multimodal flavour perception and cortical processing using functional magnetic resonance brain imaging techniques.
– Excellent communication skills at all levels; invited to speak at national and international conferences, post -graduate lecturing, student outreach events and consumer seminars in the  area of sensory science and beer flavour perception.
– Dedicated to communicating sensory knowledge and research through delivery of over 10 specialized sensory events and conferences in the UK.

Career history
January 2014 – present
Sensory Support Specialist
Cara Technology Limited
Leatherhead, UK

Cara Technology Limited is an ISO9001:2008-accredited company which helps companies develop and implement sustainable sensory testing programmes. The company develops and manufactures AROXA flavour standards for use in beer, cider, wine, water, spirits, soft drinks and various foods. We provide independent assessment of taster competence through our Taster Validation Schemes. Our SensCheck sensory management software has set the standard for real-time sensory testing in food and beverage production environments.  The company services customers in more than 170 countries. I am a specialist in training high impact taste and odour panels using AROXA certified flavour standards in beer and water. I am passionate about the training and development of sensory panels from initial screening of suitable individuals to developing the skills of existing tasters to a professional and analytical level. I am motivated by their success and by the output of sound and reliable scientific data. Since joining Cara technology I have achieved an average score of 5 out of 5 in anonymous delegate feedback for all training delivered to customers.

February 2013 – Present
Research Fellow – Sensory Science
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, UK

The University of Nottingham is a leading UK University for Food Science and Sensory Science research and is home to a world leading team of physicists at The  Sir Peter Mansfield Centre for Magnetic Resonance, which is the site of the first whole-body human 7T magnetic resonance scanner in the UK. The University of Nottingham’s Sensory Science Centre has established expertise in developing sensory protocols and combining sensory and instrumental techniques to measure and monitor sensory stimuli. It has a purpose built sensory facility with access to analytical labs in the Food Sciences Division, making it one of the best-equipped laboratories investigating all aspects of flavour perception across the globe. My postdoctoral research fellowship focuses on how taste is represented in the primary gustatory cortex by developing methods using high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at ultra-high field (7T) to map the fine gustotopic representations of prototypical tastants in the human primary gustatory cortex in the insula, together with the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex for taste. The purported tastes of ‘metallic’ and ‘fatty acid’ taste are being studied, along with investigations into how prototypical tastants differ with taste phenotype, genotype and phantom thermal taste.

November 2011 – December 2013
Global Consumer Technical Insights Specialist
Unilever R&D, global
Wirral, UK

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast-moving consumer goods separated into three global divisions – foods, home care and personal care. As global consumer technical insights specialist I translated my technical sensory expertise obtained in the food and beverage industry to the personal care category where I was responsible for developing new and improving existing sensory capabilities both internally and externally (with third party suppliers). Internal and external sensory panels were responsible for testing over 1000 products and / or prototypes per year within the hair care department. This resulted in the successful launch of hundreds of products into multiple global markets.

November 2008 – June 2011
Sensory Assistant
Sensory Dimensions
Nottingham, UK

Sensory Dimensions is a leading sensory science and consumer research consultancy offering a full range of sensory and consumer research solutions in the food, beverage, personal care and other fast moving consumer goods industries. My role as sensory assistant expanded my skills and experience into consumer recruitment and database maintenance, large scale consumer testing using quantitative methods and insight generation using qualitative methods.

September 2006 – September 2007
Product Developer
Northern Foods
Worksop, Nottinghamshire, UK

Food manufacturers Northern Foods have now joined the 2 Sisters Food group supplying poultry, red meat, fish, chilled foods, bakery and frozen products to the retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors. As product developer in the chilled food sector, I was responsible for developing new products from concept to launch ensuring acceptable product quality throughout.

June 2004 – June 2005
New Product Development Technologist
Greencore Group
Warrington, UK

Greencore group plc is an international manufacturer of convenience foods providing a wide range of chilled, frozen and ambient foods to major retail, manufacturing and foodservice customers. During my role at Greencore as new product development technologist I was responsible for product quality panels and product benchmarking.

– University of Nottingham: PhD 2011, Sensory Science, Food Science, Bioscience – Thesis entitled ‘Multi-modal flavour perception: the effect of sweetness, bitterness, alcohol content and carbonation on the flavour perception of beer ‘. Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES, UK
– Manchester Metropolitan University: BSc (Hons) Food Science and Nutrition, 2006 – First Class Honours

Memberships and professional appointments
– Member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST), UK.
– Member of the Professional Food Sensory Group (PFSG), UK.
– Member of the European Sensory Science Society (E3S), EU.

– 2011 – Pangborn PhD Student Travel Award
– 2010 – Institute of Food Science and Technology, Professional Food Sensory Group Student Travel Award
– 2009 – Faraday award in food processing from Food Processing Faraday Partnership LTD.
– 2006 – Margaret Weddle award for “Best Student” as a result of achieving the highest results in Cohort at MMU.

Presentations and publications
– Eight symposium presentations and posters and National and International conferences including European Brewing Convention Congress, Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium and EuroSense.
– Peer reviewed publications in: Journal of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and Chemosensory Perception.

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