PhD scholarships and Postdoc positions available

An energising scholastic environment

The Institute provides a challenging, yet supportive, scholastic environment for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows. Our students come from institutions all over the world to be part of our world-class learning environment. The Institute has an express objective of populating industry and academia with thoroughly trained high-achieving scientists. Many of our graduates go on to top positions in industry and academia.

The Institute offers training and employment opportunities for postgraduate students, post-doctoral fellows and overseas research interns. It also runs a Visiting Fellowship programme for scientists who are leaders in their field.  Postgraduate Scholarships are for full-time study towards Masters or PhD qualifications. Internships for overseas students are for a period of three to six months

If you are interested in a position within the Riddet Institute see below for any current opportunities for employment and studentships, or contact us with your expression of interest.


Below there is an opportunity for a PhD in Sensory Science (1) and a Masters degree in Protein Digestibility (2):


1. Riddet Institute PhD fellowship –Sensory Science

Title: Individual variation in Taste perception: Investigating sensory perception in Thermal Tasters and its impact on food choice behaviour.

This Sensory and Consumer Science PhD scholarship is based at the Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North, and is funded by the prestigious Riddet Institute. It is centred on the hot topic of individual variation in taste perception. Taste phenotypes such as Prop supertaster status have been widely studied particularly in relation to its impact on food choice behaviour.  This PhD is focused on the more recently discovered taste phenotype called Thermal Taster Status where by 30-50% of the population perceive a taste when their tongue is stimulated by temperature.  These individuals also appear to perceive some other oral sensations as more intense.  This PhD will build on Professor Hort’s recent work on the impact of thermal taster status on sensory perception and food choice behaviour.

We are seeking an outstanding PhD candidate to investigate Thermal Taster Status.  This will involve validating a thermal taste phenotyping protocol to use to recruit participants for further investigations concerning the sensory perception of Thermal tasters and their food choice behaviours.



  • Presenting a research seminar and written report to gain confirmation of PhD programme registration one year after starting.
  • Meeting regularly with supervisors to discuss plans and results.
  • Presenting plans for research and experimental protocols to supervisors for review prior to carrying out research.
  • Designing and completing sensory and consumer investigations with volunteer participants.
  • Day to day involvement managing and interacting with participants and adherence to Ethical practices.
  • Carrying out data analysis.
  • Writing a PhD thesis, including an extensive literature review, 3-5 research chapters and a general discussion.
  • Submitting manuscripts to journals, including a mini-review article and at least two research articles, before the thesis is submitted.
  • Complying with Health and Safety Policies as set by Massey University, and at all times have consideration for the safety of yourself and others in the workplace. Ensuring legislative compliance, (e.g., Department of Labour, HSNO, EPA Animal Ethics) and appropriate data security.


About you

You will have:

  • A relevant Master’s or Honour’s degree with First or Second Class Honours (Division 1) in Food Science, Nutrition, Food Technology, Psychology or an associated subject with a grade sufficient to gain entry into a PhD. The qualification must also include a substantive research project.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills (IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent required, if English is not first language).
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Diligence, resilience and enthusiasm
  • Previous experience in sensory evaluation preferred



The three-year studentship, funded by the Riddet Institute, includes an annual tax-free stipend of NZD$30,000 plus tuition fees. As the successful candidate you will be enrolled and located at Massey University in Palmerston North, and will

  • have the opportunity to take part in leading edge research;
  • be a part of a successful multidisciplinary research team;
  • develop your career as an independent researcher.

 PhD Supervisors: Professor Joanne Hort


How to Apply

For further information on the PhD opportunity, please contact and Professor Hort will be happy to discuss the research opportunity further with you.

Closing date for applications is 31 July 2018 with the ability to start the PhD before end October 2018.

Please send your application in the form of a (1) covering letter addressing why you are the ideal candidate, (2) your CV and (3) your academic transcripts to Mrs Terri Palmer (




2. Masters Degree in Protein Digestibility

Title: The effect of processing on mollusc muscle texture and protein digestibility in vitro.

Location: Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand 

Supervisor: Dr Lovedeep Kaur 

Co-supervisor: Dr Mike Boland

Duration: 1 year

Remuneration: $12,000 (NZD) per annum (tax exempt)

The Opportunity 

A scholarship is available for a Masters project at the Riddet Institute- a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by Massey University. The research work carried out by our group on the protein digestibility of beef meat has shown that it is affected by processing methods, parameters, muscle microstructure and other components of the food matrix. This project is an extension of the meat work to mollusc muscles. Our hypothesis is that selective denaturation of muscle proteins will enhance the nutritional and sensory attributes of muscle based foods.

The effects of new processing technologies such as sous vide, pulsed electric field, shockwave processing or enzyme treatments, alone or in combination with conventional cooking, on mollusc muscle microstructure, texture and protein digestion in vitro will be investigated.

Candidate Requirements 

• The scholarship is for persons who are enrolled or eligible to enrol full-time for the thesis research component of their Master’s degree, or the 180 credit Master of Food Technology including a 120 credit thesis.
• Some experience in undertaking research in the above mentioned areas (including literature searches, laboratory work, and analysing data) is preferred. 
• Strong academic record 
• Ability to conduct research within an interdisciplinary team environment 
• Strong initiative, interest and enthusiasm 
• Good time management and organizational skills 
• Sound communication skills 

Candidate should also meet the requirements for entry to Masters studies at Massey University ( 

Applicants should send a copy of their curriculum vitae, statement of interest; and the names and contact details of three referees to: Dr Lovedeep Kaur. E-mail: