TEAGASC PHD WALSH SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY: SensSpec – Application of advanced spectroscopic systems and chemometric techniques for predicting the sensory quality of meat: Walsh Scholarships Ref Number 2022028

Background: Sensory attributes (e.g. tenderness, flavour, juiciness) are key factors influencing consumers desire to purchase and consume red meat. The food industry has a need for accurate, fast and cheap scalable technologies to assess the overall acceptability of meat products to better predict consumer satisfaction in the marketplace. Sensory attributes of red meat are typically evaluated by trained human panellists, which can be time-consuming, costly, and lacks the flexibility required for successful commercialisation in the today’s fast-paced industry environment.

Instrumental methods for objective evaluation of meat eating quality are also available but present similar disadvantages to trained sensory panels. Spectroscopy techniques, specifically hyperspectral imaging, have considerable potential to provide accurate predictions of meat eating quality in a more cost-effective and timely manner. In this project we aim to record spectral and hyperspectral data of meat samples (beef and sheep) using different instruments and develop prediction and classification models (i.e. ML, DL) of sensory traits to allow for the forecast of eating quality of meat during commercial meat production.

Requirements: Applications are invited from graduates holding or expecting BSc Hons (minimun 2.1) degree in Animal Science, Food Science, Food Engineering, or a similar discipline. Applicants with a relevant M.Sc. degree are also welcomed to apply. Demonstrated experience of the following areas: meat, spectroscopy, sensory, statistical data analysis will be advantage. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and have good communication skills (oral and written). An applicant, whose native language is not English, must display an adequate proficiency in English. The minimum level required for TU Dublin research programmes is International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.0 or equivalent for the overall average score and a score not lower than 5.5 in each category.

Award: The scholarship funding is €24,000 per annum and includes University fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum and is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information: The successful candidate will be registered with Technological University Dublin, under the academic supervision of Prof Jesus Frias and it is envisaged that the candidate will begin in October 2022. They will primarily be based at Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15.
For further information please contact Dr Alessandro Ferragina: Alessandro.Ferragina@teagasc.ie or Prof Jesus Frias: Jesus.Frias@tudublin.ie.

Application Procedure: Applicants should submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae addressing requirements and detailing relevant qualifications, experience and the contact details of at least one academic referee, simultaneously to Jesus.Frias@tudublin.ie and Alessandro.Ferragina@teagasc.ie. Please specify “SensSpec application” in the subject of the email. Closing date: 5.00 pm Friday, 05 August 2022
Interviews will be held with potential candidates shortly thereafter.

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