Food Imaging/Digitalisation Scientist

Location: Food Research Centre, Teagasc, Ashtown, Dublin 15, D15 KN3K
 Salary:  Research Officer with a Salary Scale of €38,558 to €74,094
Closing Date: 05/03/2024 12:00 PM Recruitment Start: 26/01/2024
  Permanent Full Time


Job Description

Permanent .  A panel may be formed from which future similar vacancies may be filled; such a panel will remain active for a maximum period of 12 months.

Basic Function:    

Teagasc seeks to appoint a Research Officer who is skilled in imaging, optical sensors and associated machine learning approaches relevant to food characterization, who will: (a) develop a research programme to underpin digitalisation adoption in the food processing sector, with emphasis on meat, but also including a range of prepared consumer foods (PCF); (b) contribute to the management and leadership of the Teagasc meat and PCF quality research programmes; and; (c) contribute to the ongoing industry-led Meat Technology Ireland Centre. The successful candidate will take an innovative approach to conduct research on the potential for imaging/spectral imaging and vision systems in food characterization, process monitoring and automation for red meat and PCF. Ensuring the collection of high quality data, the candidate will also be responsible for coordinating and participating in laboratory and in-factory trials. Securing external collaborative public research funding in the important area of food industry digitalisation will be an essential aspect of the role, as will maintaining contacts with industry and carrying out industry commissioned research and development projects. In addition, they will play a key role in ensuring the scientific excellence of the research programme in the Food Quality and Sensory Science Department. 


Teagasc has an expanding research programme in meat and food digitalisation and is seeking to support this through the recruitment of an excellent scientist, experienced in imaging, sensors and state of the art data analytics methods of relevance to critical food industry challenges including sustainability, efficiency and the need for increasing automation. The successful candidate will be required to build competence in this particular area of research, in collaboration with Teagasc colleagues, external collaborators and relevant stakeholders.

The mission of Teagasc is to assist the growth and development of the Irish food industry through excellence in research, advice and training. The multi-disciplinary campus at Ashtown, Dublin 15 consists of research and analytical laboratories and food processing pilot plants with an international research community in a collegial environment. Researchers at the centrecollaborate both nationally and internationally with other institutes and universities in publicly funded research and development projects and industry contracts. Of pivotal national importance, the centre works closely with the food industry to ensure that outputs from the research programme contribute to supporting sustainability and competitiveness of the food sector. Teagasc Ashtown also has a well-established international reputation as a centre of excellence in meat science. Alongside in-house facilities for spectroscopy, including molecular spectroscopic equipment (NIR, Raman, NMR), a recently established Meat Industry Digitalisation Suite includes a state-of-the-art helical CT scanner for 3D visualization of foods, a wide array of spectroscopic and imaging (spectral, thermal, 3D) equipment and a robot cell. The researcher will also have access to advanced computational resources, which compliment current facilities that support the meat science programme. These include pilot plants, extensive laboratories with all equipment needed for comprehensive food quality analysis, a sensory science suite, instrumental textural analysis, rheology, proximate analysis facilities, and HPLC, GC-MS, cryostat and light microscopy, genomics and proteomics suites. 

Job Objectives

  • To build competence in imaging technologies with relevance to food characterization, process analytics, digitalisation and automation in the Irish food processing sector.
  • To design and manage research projects, to address challenges in digitalisation and automation in food processing and publish results in the scientific and popular press, at conferences and to stakeholders.
  • To build a team of post-doctoral researchers and post-graduate students in the area of food imaging and digitalisation. 
  • To actively seek national and international external funding with the objective of supporting your research programme and building critical mass.
  • To contribute to and actively engage in strategic planning within the Food Programme.
  • To carry out such other duties as may be assigned by the Head of Department, Head of Programme or Director of Research from time to time.
  • To assist Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service Charter and Action Plan.
  • To actively participate in the annual business planning and Performance Management Development System (PMDS) processes.
  • Fully co-operate with the provisions made for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of themselves, fellow staff and non-Teagasc staff and co-operate with management in enabling Teagasc to comply with legal obligations. This includes full compliance with the responsibilities outlined in the Safety Statement.
  • Any other duties as may be assigned from time to time.

* This job specification is intended as a guide to the general range of duties and is intended to be neither definitive nor restrictive.  It will be reviewed from time to time with the post holder.

Skills Requirement






  • Candidates must have a QQI Honours Level 8 degree in Science/Food Engineering or a related discipline.


  • Research MSc or PhD in a relevant discipline.


Note: While a PhD is an essential requirement for this post, equivalent research experience may be deemed acceptable solely at the discretion of the Director of Teagasc.

  • Post-doctoral experience in application of digitalisation methods to address research questions relevant to food processing will be a distinct advantage.

Skills & Knowledge

  • Proven understanding of a range of imaging and machine learning techniques, relevant to food digitalisation.

  • Documented evidence of machine learning approaches and skills.

  • Relevant research experience with imaging or spectroscopy hardware relevant to food processing digitalisation.

  • Demonstrated chemometric analysis skills.

  • Demonstrated ability to manage research projects.

  • Research skills: literature reviewing, experimental design, data management, statistical analysis and experiment implementation.

  • Excellent inter-personal skills.

  • Demonstrated dissemination skills: verbal, written, scientific and technical report writing skills.

  • Ability to initiate and lead a research programme.

  • Strategic awareness, innovation and change management skills.

  • Engaging and consultative leadership skills that demonstrate best practice in people and programme management.

  • Computer literate, with proficiency in the use of MS Office, Word, excel, Powerpoint and Outlook


  • Familiarity with a wide range of AI approaches.

  • Familiarity with deep learning methods and relevant tools and programming environments, e.g. Python, TensorFlow, SciKit, R.

  • Skills in imaging and computer vision processing skills.

  • Skills in deep learning for large data sets.

  • Aptitude for multidisciplinary approaches.

  • Understanding of food processing industry methods.

  • Track record in attracting research funding.

  • Proven record of scientific communications.

  • Proven record of supervision and mentoring of students/early stage researchers.  

Behavioural Competencies

  • Capacity to successfully develop collaborative links with national and international research organisations and stakeholders.

  • Ability to work on own initiative and to work as part of a team, including consulting, collaborating and building relationships with key stakeholders.

  • Strives for high quality of work and demonstrates commitment to the programme.

  • Flexible approach to work with an ability to prioritise tasks effectively.

  • Ability to communicate effectively to enable knowledge and technology transfer.

  • Demonstration of innovation within previous research.

  • A results-driven individual with a strong focus on goal-setting, performance delivery and accountability.

  • Commitment to teamwork and collaborating with colleagues as per our Teagasc Together ethos.

  • A proactive, solutions-focused approach to work with an ability to adapt to changing requirements.

  • Ability to set clear standards, to lead by example, with a quality customer service focus.


As this role may involve driving vehicles, candidates must satisfy and continue to satisfy during employment with Teagasc, legal requirements to drive a car unaccompanied on Irish public roads.

 Note:  The ‘essential’ qualifications, knowledge, skills and behavioural competencies outlined above are ‘must-have’ which will be used in the selection process.

Note:  Alternative location(s) may be considered solely at the discretion of Teagasc management.


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