Prof Sharma gets COMFOCUS Fellowship for EU Project 

Shoolini University celebrates the achievement of Prof Somesh Sharma from the School of Bioengineering and Food Technology, who has been awarded a Fellowship by COMFOCUS in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research project. 

Prof Sharma’s research focused on consumer preferences for yoghurts in the Slovakian market, a study that holds significant potential for the future of food consumer science. This initiative, funded by the European Union, aims to promote open science in the field, ensuring its resilience and adaptability. 

The university supported this project with a grant of Rs 50,000, demonstrating its commitment to fostering research excellence. Additionally, Prof Sharma received a scholarship amount of 2985 euros from COMFOCUS for his work. He expressed his gratitude towards Shoolini Chancellor Prof PK Khosla for the continuous support and guidance provided to all researchers on campus. 


COMFOCUS is a European powerhouse, uniting universities and research institutes with one powerful vision: To make food consumer science future-proof through Open Science. The project aims to provide the academic and private research community with transnational access to high-quality services and resources of nine excellent research laboratories using cutting-edge technologies. 

The Application Process 

To be considered for participation, applicants must submit a concept note as an abstract through the COMFOCUS website. Professor Somesh Sharma submitted his concept note on August 19, 2023. Applicants can choose from nine laboratories under COMFOCUS based on their interests. Professor Sharma opted for laboratories in Ireland and Slovakia. His concept was accepted by the Laboratory of Consumer Sciences at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia. 

What he did in Slovakia 

During his 21-day International Faculty program in Slovakia, Prof Sharma investigated consumer preferences for yoghurts in the Slovakian market, focusing on factors like fat content, health benefits, and visual appeal. This innovative research employed cutting-edge technology like face readers and eye-tracking equipment. Various types of yoghurts, including those with probiotics and non-probiotics, were chosen from supermarkets. They were categorised into traditional yoghurts and yoghurts prepared by multinational companies with probiotic characteristics. 

In the study, participants were first asked about their age, gender, and dietary habits. They then tasted different yoghurts while their eye movements and facial expressions were closely monitored using specialised devices. These included a face reader and an eye tracker, which helped to pinpoint which aspects of the packaging caught the consumers’ attention and how they responded to various flavours and textures of the yoghurts. 

Talking about the project, Prof Sharma said, “This research is groundbreaking. By utilising eye-tracking and face-reading technology, we’ve gained invaluable insights into consumer behaviour towards yoghurt packaging and their preferences for flavours and textures. This data is key to revolutionising product development, refining marketing strategies, and elevating consumer satisfaction within the yoghurt industry.” 

Prof Sharma expressed his gratitude to Shoolini Chancellor Prof PK Khosla for the continuous support and guidance provided to researchers on campus. 

Wrapping Up 

Professor Sharma’s visit to Slovakia extended beyond his research. He also participated in discussions to establish a robust academic collaboration between Shoolini University and the Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra. This collaboration builds upon the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities, further strengthening the exchange of faculty and students.

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Shoolini Team
Shoolini Team
The Shoolini University Blog offers a range of articles on career options, opportunities and the latest industry trends. Articles cover areas of agriculture, pharmacy, biotechnology, microbiology, management, media, liberal arts etc.

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