Combining human senses, instrumental techniques, and artificial intelligence, this industry-engaged PhD project will use rapid sensory assessment methods along with a unique absorbance, transmittance and excitation-emission matrix (A-TEEM) technique and machine learning to model mouthfeel attributes based on chemical composition, in the development of objective metrics that permit the optimisation of mouthfeel specifications throughout the winemaking process. The novel approach will be supported by untargeted metabolite profiling with high-performance liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry to provide greater understanding of the chemical composition underpinning mouthfeel and the processes that drive desired characteristics.
The project will involve internships at E. & J. Gallo Winery in the United States that come with a generous allowance and travel funding. These internships will apply and refine the learnings from the project in an industry setting during the harvest period. This will require chemical and sensory analysis of must and wine samples, to correlate A-TEEM and other chemical data with mouthfeel and taste parameters using machine learning algorithms.
The ideal candidate will be a domestic student (i.e., Australian or NZ citizen or Australian permanent resident) possessing a high quality Honours or Masters degree in analytical chemistry or food chemistry who has an interest in spectroscopy, modern analytical instrumentation, data modelling, and beverage production. An expected commencement is February/March 2023.
The student must:
- be an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident, or a New Zealand citizen;
- meet University PhD admission requirements;
- be able to commence the Program in the year of the offer;
- enrol as a full-time PhD student; and
- be eligible and available to travel to E. & J. Gallo Winery's sites in the United States in 2024 and 2025 for the internship placements.
Recipients will receive a Research Training Program Scholarship stipend at the amount of AUD$29,863 per annum (tax free 2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.75 years. The successful candidate will also undertake two full-funded internship placements with the industry partner; for more information about these please contact Associate Professor David Jeffery, at the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.
Applicants are required to submit an expression of interest (EOI), including a current CV to Associate Professor David Jeffery, with the title 'E. & J. Gallo Winery PhD Scholarship' (firstname.lastname@example.org).