Institution Name: 
Massey University
Type of institution: 
Contact person: 
W McNabb
- -
New Zealand
Contact email: 
Job description: 

The Riddet Institute is a world-best research centre in food and nutritional sciences, providing fundamental scientific understanding and training for a new generation of science leaders. The Institute integrates partner organisations (Massey University (host), Auckland and Otago Universities, AgResearch and Plant & Food Research) and disciplines, leading a “NZ Inc” approach to food research, and generates knowledge and capability that transforms the New Zealand food industry.

We are seeking high-achieving researchers to undertake three postdoctoral research projects as part of the Riddet Institute CoRE programme. This project is specifically around modelling the physical processes that underpin digestion of food broadly in modelling digestive processes

Applicants must hold a PhD in a suitable discipline and demonstrated experience of previous postgraduate research relevant to one of these three topics. Applicants must clearly specify the project they are applying for and describe why they are the best candidate.

Main Supervisor: Professor R. Paul Singh, Riddet Institute, University of California Davis, California, USA

Other Supervisors: Harjinder Singh, Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand and Dr Gail Bornhorst, Riddet Institute, University of California Davis, California, USA.

The Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Officer will form part of a multidisciplinary team in the empirical modelling of the breakdown of food in the gastrointestinal tract with research being undertaken at the Riddet Institute in Palmerston Nor th, New Zealand and at the University of California Davis, USA.

The essence of this project will build on existing work to develop more advanced mechanical stomach and intestine simulators to dynamically mimic the physio-chemical actions of the human stomach and intestines. These simulators will be validated against in vivo data and utilised to characterise the digestive properties associated with different dietary

Advanced computational models of food particle breakdown will also be developed using information from mechanical simulators. Model development will utilise finite element, lattice Boltzmann and smooth particle hydrodynamic approaches to develop a rigorous understanding of the mechanical stresses to which complex and realistic food digesta
systems are exposed. The successful candidate will have completed a PhD in food, chemical or mechanical engineering or related disciplines with preference given to someone with expertise in computational modelling, equipment and process design engineering. Appointment will be for a 2 year term.

Applicants please send your CV including a statement of your research interests and goals and at least two referees, plus your university transcripts when uploading your application to the following website:

Email enquiries regarding the position can be sent to

Purpose statement

The Postdoctoral/Research Officer position is dedicated to the Riddet Institute CoRE research programme and specifically to a project on modelling the physical processes that underpin digestion of food. The programme is funded by Riddet Institute CoRE research programme.

The roles and responsibilities of the Fellowship relate to the project objectives, and the Fellow will also be expected to contribute to the scholarly and collegial endeavours of the Riddet Institute. Please note that this project includes research to be undertaken at the Riddet Institute, Palmerston North, New Zealand and at University of California Davis, California, USA.

Responsible to

Professor R. Paul Singh

Key accountabilities

Research Strategy and Delivery
• Contributes and develops high quality research plans, outputs and
achievement of project milestones relevant to modelling physical
processes underlying digestion within budget.
• Contributes to funding applications in the area of modelling
physical processes underlying digestion that attract significant revenue
and offer solutions to existing and new customers.
• Contributes to work that provides solutions to complex/unique
problems and results in the generation of new knowledge, IP, patents,
policy and products.
• In collaboration with staff across the Riddet Institute, identifies
new opportunities for delivering food solutions that will grow the NZ
economy and which advance scientific knowledge and theory.
• Displays a collaborative work ethic, including a team approach that
draws on knowledge and capability from across the Centre of Research
Excellence to deliver best outcomes.
• Where needed, to undertake specialist training and/or carry out
research projects in the area of digestion and nutrient uptake kinetics
in overseas laboratories.

Scientific Excellence
• Consistently delivers high quality, relevant research through publication in appropriate international journals.
• Provides mentoring and coaching to postgraduate students (where
relevant) to enhance the development of capabilities in nutrition,
digestion and modelling these processes.
• Contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge by presenting
at conferences, serving on journal review panels, chairing conference
sessions etc.
• Maintains an active involvement in the wider food and nutrition
research communities which extends, protects and promotes personal,
Riddet Institute and University of California Davis recognition both
nationally and internationally.

Other Projects and Health and Safety
• Undertakes other reasonable duties as and when required
• Ensures legislative compliance, (e.g., Department of Labour, HSNO,
EPA Animal and Human Ethics) and appropriate data security.
• Complies with health and safety policies as set by Massey
University, the University of California Davis, and legislature and at
all times, makes safety of themselves and others in the workplace the

Required Knowledge: 


PhD in food, chemical or mechanical engineering or related disciplines


• Demonstrated experience in research related to food, chemical or mechanical engineering or related areas with preference given to someone with expertise in computational modelling, equipment and process design engineering.
• A proven track record of publications in high-quality international journals.
• Knowledge of food, chemical or mechanical engineering would be advantageous.
• Experience with computational modelling, equipment and process design engineering would be advantageous.
• Uses “best” scientific methodology for all research, including literature searching, hypothesis-based experimental design and statistical analysis, and follows rigorous documentation procedures for all research. Has a good understanding of intellectual property and experience with “big data”.
Personal attributes and behaviours

• Takes responsibility for effective and timely completion of own work.
• Creative thinker, inquisitive, is able to visualize and describe innovative ideas and solutions.
• Is able to interpret, evaluate and analyse data, information and processes to support outcomes and make feasible proposals or recommendations.
• Works co-operatively with other team members to meet collective goals or performance milestones.
• Understands limits of own authority and knows when to consult or inform others.
• Works effectively with a wide range of people.
• Sets and models a culture that leverages differences and supports diversity.
• Communicates clearly and concisely.
• Proactively works to build and maintain internal and external relationships and networks to share knowledge and achieve goals.
• Demonstrated ability to write technical reports and research papers.
• Behaves in a fair, honest, consistent and ethical manner
• Challenges unacceptable, unethical behaviour.
• Honours work commitments.
• Respects confidentiality.

Expiration date: 
Sunday, 26. November 2017
Required Language(s):