Postdoctoral Researcher – NIR/Spectral Expert

Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

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Job description

Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology, College of Sciences

This postdoctoral research position requires an NIR/spectral expert to work with the Food and Postharvest group at Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology (MIFST) and Massey AgriTech Partnership (MAP). This fully funded, two-year postdoctoral position is part of the Spectral Separation project within the Food Industry Enabling Technologies programme (FIET) funded by MBIE. You will work in a vibrant applied research community on a campus crammed with research institutes.

Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology is looking for an NIR/spectral expert to lead and conduct in lab and field trials for using NIR/Hyperspectral imaging to segregate diseased potato tubers and select honey frames with particular characters. You will work with spectral experts from AgResearch and the Precision Agriculture team at Massey.

An ideal candidate will have an expertise in reflectance spectroscopy and image analysis with strong skills in predictive modelling and complex data analysis. Familiarity and understanding of complex food processes within food industry is an advantage. You will have an experience and energy to work in multidisciplinary research teams. Skills to establish key industry relations has prime importance for this role. Your leadership and problem solving skills will be the key to success for this job.

For confidential discussion contact Prof Richard Archer ( or Dr. Abdul Jabbar (

Job description
Purpose statement
The Spectral Separation project aims to develop industrial solutions of using hyperspectral imaging for segregation of potato tubers with potato-tomato psyllid disease, and for selecting honey frames with honey of particular character. You will work with spectral experts from AgResearch and the Precision Agriculture team at Massey. For the potato sub-project, you will also work with the postharvest technology team with support from Potato New Zealand. For the honey sub-project you will work with food technologists and companies within the NZ honey industry. Yours will be the central role ensuring each application learns from the other and that all information is trapped and suitably reported.

Responsible to
Richard Archer – Project Leader
Abdul Jabbar – Project Co-Leader (potato)
Marlon Reis – Project Co-Leader (honey)

Key accountabilities
 Drive both sub-projects of the Spectral Separations project.
 Conduct laboratory trials, perform data analysis, develop predictive models.
 Work with the wider team and the partner company to lead towards the development of installed equipment in the two industry settings: potato grading line and honey extraction line.
 Collaborate with industry to conduct validation trials in industry. This will involve significant time away from Palmerston North.
 Establish and maintain good industry relations.
 Actively participate in group meetings of the Postharvest Group, MIFST and FIET.
 Actively engage and represent Massey University in relevant industry platforms.
 Co-supervise and guide PhD candidates in relevant areas.
 Keep trial information and data up-to-date
 Prepare quarterly reports for the partner companies and for FIET, present at the annual FIET colloquium and NZIFST conferences.
 Publish at least one journal article.
 Any other duties as requested by your manager from time to time.

Person specification
 An applied PhD in reflectance spectroscopy, image analysis or relevant field.

 Experience of predictive modelling and complex data analysis.
 Proven track record of successfully delivering high standard science outcomes.
 Familiarity with biological systems, ideally food.
 Familiarity and sympathy with industry; ability to work under industrial conditions.
 Experience working in multidisciplinary research teams.

Personal attributes and behaviours
 Skills to understand complex processes within the food industry.
 Extraordinary people skills to establish key industry relationships.
 Excellent problem solving skills.
 Excellent project management and documentation skills.
 Good communication skills in both the academic and industrial environments
 Demonstrated ability to write technical reports, research papers and give engaging presentations.
 Ability to work independently
 Ability to create working relationship in a highly diverse research team

How to apply

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Massey University (Māori: Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa) is a university based in Раlmеrstоn Nоrth, Nеw Zеаlаnd, with significant campuses in Аlbаny and Wellington. Massey University has approximately 35,000 students, 17,000 of whom are extramural or distance-learning students, making it New Zealand's second largest university when not counting international students.Research is undertaken on all three campuses, and more than 3,000 international students from over 100 countries study at the university.