AOR-25 PhD Development of smart sensor systems for on-farm and in-process prediction of processability of milk for difference applications

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    Tyndall National Institute
    Agricultural sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/02/2020 17:00 - Europe/Athens
    Ireland › Cork

AOR-25 PhD Development of smart sensor systems for on-farm and in-process prediction of processability of milk for difference applications

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term


The Science Foundation Ireland/Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine: VistaMilk Centre for innovative Smart precision pasture-based dairying, brings together a number of major Irish research providers to facilitate the development and deployment of new knowledge, new ICT technologies and new decision support tools to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire dairy production chain. To this end, Vistamilk will develop new, and advance existing, electronic monitoring and sensing technologies to transform an already world-class dairy sector into a global leader in sustainable Agri-Tech and also provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for research, education and innovation within this domain.

VistaMilk will specifically address pasture-based dairy production, improved processability and the generation of novel, higher-value-added products through the creation of new sensing and actuation paradigms. Particular focus will be given to developing state-of-the-art sensor based analytical techniques applied to largescale, sensor data-sets delivered by advanced network and communication technologies. VistaMilk is a consortium of 4 main academic partners and 35 industry partners which will be the most inclusive and comprehensive research centre of its kind in the world. The academics are leaders in their fields and the industry partners come from a range of key companies from across the value-chain in the all important ICT and dairy sectors in Ireland.

Tyndall National Institute is a core partner in the VistaMilk Centre and is leading the Smart Sensor Systems hardware development. In addition, Tyndall has a portfolio of other Agri-tech projects. As one of Europe’s leading ICT institutes, with over 500 people and a capital infrastructure in excess of €200m, Tyndall is now focusing its research in microelectronics and front end sensor development into “making smart things for the Internet of Dairying”. We now wish to recruit a PhD student to undertake the chemical nanosensor development aspect of this related project.

Purpose of the role

The importance of the transition and transformation of nitrogen compounds throughout the milk supply chain is considered of paramount importance as it is a nutritional driver for most product streams in the Dairy factory, e.g., cheese/fermented foods, protein ingredients and their co-products etc. Behaviour of proteins in complex Dairy processes, and also in the body post consumption, creates opportunities and challenges for the Dairy processor/consumer. Proteins and their propensity for interaction both with themselves, with other nutrients, and in particular during processing, govern efficiencies and end product functionality and quality; the stability parameters viscosity and gelation are determined by milk composition.

The project will initially evaluate the potential of combinations of electrochemical, mechanical and spectroscopic sensors to provide real time monitoring of milk initially at milk processor level, with a targeted role out to farm level post design/operational qualification. The aim is to use these multiplatform sensors to predict process-ability by measuring changes in protein structure at the molecular level, i.e., predict destabilisation when heated and/or concentrated; ultimately, the correlation between functionality and datasets these data will be used to feed back across the supply chain to design the optimal chemical composition of milk for development of new Dairy products. Communication platforms will be tested using the in real time Dairy processes at pilot plant level, as an experimental test beds

Key Challenges

  • Develop approaches to selectively modify pH in milk solutions.
  • Develop electrochemical impedance methods for detecting milk coagulation in real-time
  • Combine the developed approaches with existing spectroscopic approaches
  • Demonstrate analysis in real time in laboratory settings and working with other team members to transfer these protocols to enable real time detection in the field.
  • Working with a multidisciplinary team, integrate these sensor devices with instrumentation (under development) and develop a portable diagnostics tool.

The successful student will receive training in all research methods required and will work alongside experienced professional researchers within the Nanotechnology Group, attend conferences and publish in high impact journals. The research is supported by a suite of equipment and laboratory facilities within the group that are amongst the best in Europe.

Essential criteria

  • Applications are invited from scientists and engineers who hold an honours (2.1 or equivalent) undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics, materials science, agricultural science or a closely related discipline.

Desirable criteria

  • Experience in undertaking electrochemistry at micro and nano or micro electrodes on silicon chips is desirable.

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Dr. Alan O’Riordan at alan.oriordan@tyndall.ie

Closing date for application is 15th February, 2020.

An annual student stipend of €18,500 applies for this successful candidate for this position. Yearly University academic fees will paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

Application Instructions : Please click here to Apply

Postgraduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency as per UCC regulations (https://www.ucc.ie/en/study/comparison/english/postgraduate/). Certificates should be valid (usually less than 2 years old) and should be uploaded with their application. In special circumstances the panel may consider a prior degree in English (e.g. Master thesis written in English) as evidence of English language proficiency.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Tyndall National Institute
T12 R5CP
Lee Maltings, Dyke Parade

EURAXESS offer ID: 480666


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