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Quantifying, understanding and mitigating microbial and chemical food safety risks in horticulture (HortAssure)

School of Biosystems Engineering

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Dr E Cummins No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Irish horticulture industry is critically important to the growth and development of the Irish agriculture sector. The sector has seen significant expansion with an emphasis on vegetarian and vegan diets. Globally, it has been observed that, with increasing consumption of fresh produce, there’s also been an increase in foodborne diseases associated with these products, particularly as many are consumed without cooking. Appropriate hygiene measures at all stages of production are therefore critical and it is essential to ensure the horticulture industry is supported and directed on how best to provide product safety assurance. A careful balance is required to provide assurance of microbial safety without breaching maximum residue limits for disinfectants. The successful candidate will focus on the development of a probabilistic exposure assessment model to assess the persistence of chemical hazards and the survival potential of selected microbes throughout the reday to eat (RTE) product production chain, from processing, storage to final consumer foods. The project will provid science based guidance to regulators and growers alike, to improve on farm practices for the overall betterment of the Irish horticultural sector.

The project is conducted in conjunction with the Ashtown Food Research Centre (Teagasc, Ashtown) and Technological University Dublin (TUD) and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The project will involve significant liaison between project partners.

Applicants for this scholarship should ideally have:
• A good honours degree in either: Chemistry, Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural Science, Biosystems Engineering or equivalent.
• Solid foundation and technical knowledge of environmental processes.
• A good knowledge of computers (Excel, Word, PowerPoint). Knowledge of simulation modelling, risk/exposure assessment would be an advantage.
• Good interpersonal and communication skills.
• Excellent written and spoken English is essential. Evidence of language prolificacy will be required.
• Be self-motivated, enthusiastic and willing to learn new concepts and ideas.

Funding Notes

A competitive PhD scholarship (covering student stipend and EU fees) for the duration of the project (4 years) is offered to the successful applicant. Interested applicants should email a complete CV and letter of application to: [Email Address Removed]
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