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Kiwifruit Microtopography and its Relationship to Quality and Storability

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Andrew East
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Kiwifruit quality at-harvest or after a period of storage varies significantly. One of the contributing factors to this variation is the weather conditions which the fruit is exposed to during development. There is an opportunity to manipulate variability at the time of fruit grading through the application of non-destructive measurement techniques that provide information about current or future fruit quality, based on fruit attributes at or near the skin. In recent research by Massey University, fringe projection has been identified as a potential methodology to extract data from fruit skins due to its ability to describe microtopography of the surface.

Massey University’s Centre for Postharvest and Refrigeration Research seeks a PhD candidate to thoroughly evaluate fringe projection as a method to extract unique fruit data and relate these properties to fruit quality and/or storability. This project will be conducted with newly acquired equipment and primarily with G3 (SunGold™) kiwifruit, although the ability to adapt the technology to other applications will be encouraged. Applicants are expected to have previously demonstrated interest and experience with both new technologies and quantitative image processing. The successful candidate will join a team of 3 academics, 1 postdoc, and 5 PhD students working on kiwifruit physiology, and storage prediction problems. The role is based in Massey University’s Manawatu campus in Palmerston North with the Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology.

In order to be eligible for this project applicants must hold an appropriate Masters or Honours degree which may feature:
o Experience with image processing and analysis and automated extraction of quantitative data from images
o An aptitude and affinity to independently learn, modify and adapt new technologies to solve problems and/or provide new insights and information.
o An ability to understand, statistically handle and respect the reality of variability in large biological data sets
o have a competency of presenting research results in both written and oral format, for both scientific and industrial audiences

Other competencies which would be seen favorably by the selection team include:
o previous experience or proven interest in fresh fruit industry supply chain problems
o a valid driver’s licence
o proven experience of working in a collaborative team environment
The PhD candidate will be supported with a stipend ($26,500/annum) and payment of fees for a period of 3 years. Additional funding is available for experimental, travel and research costs during the PhD project. Interested candidates that are currently completing their degree may be considered, under the consideration that the position is required to be filled by May 2016.

Interested applicants should send a c.v. and a cover letter to project leader, Dr Andrew East ([Email Address Removed]). An additional 1 page essay on how the candidate would suggest tackling the research problem should also be provided. Potential candidates are welcome to contact Dr East by email should they have further questions. Final date of application is January 31st 2016.

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