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A passion for science

Written by: Lorraine Mullaney, Sub Editor at
Published on: 2 May 2014

Ethan Harris, Food Scientist at MondelezA passion for science and an innovative mind-set are the most important quality you need to learn how to do the technically complex work at Reading Science Centre, says trainee food scientist Ethan Harris

What skills do you need to be a trainee food scientist at Mondelēz?

In terms of academic qualifications, I only needed an A-level in Chemistry, Biology or Physics or the equivalent. More generally, the most important things you need are a real passion for science, because the work we do is technically complex, and an innovative mind-set, as innovation is business critical for Mondelēz.


Other useful skills include attention to detail, adaptability and diligence. With science – and food products – things rarely work exactly how you expect or want them to on the first try. So, you need to be able pay attention to the processes from start to finish, and figure out what changes need to be made. And if at first you don’t succeed, try again!  

If you could offer one tip to applicants, what would it be?

Do as much research on the Reading Science Centre as possible so that you can really show off your knowledge of the industry and sell yourself in the interview. This should include having viewpoints on some of the scientific innovations the facility has created, or is currently working on.

Why is the food industry a good place for young people to work?

The food industry offers young people a really varied and exciting experience, with a wide range of roles and products to explore. It’s also an industry that’s seeing a lot of change at the moment, and young people have an important role to play in bringing a fresh mind-set and new ideas to shape this process of change.

In terms of science, why would the food industry be a better career than, say, pharmaceuticals?

The thing I love most about my training at Reading is that I get to work across a variety of disciplines, which includes food and pharmaceuticals as well as Microbiology, DNA & Protein, and Product and Ingredient Innovation. The work we do at the Reading Science Centre is a completely different part of the scientific field, and one that I wouldn’t have even thought of when I was younger. The work the teams do for Mondelēz is really exciting – we’re  involved in the scientific process of creating some of the country’s most loved and well-known products. We’re also responsible for researching innovative new ideas and techniques and it’s so exciting to know that my work jump starts the new product development journey.  

What’s Mondelēz’s culture like?

The culture at Mondelēz is really supportive. Coming in as a trainee, I had no idea what to expect, but everyone has been so friendly and helpful and eager to let me get stuck in!