An important part of the SafeFish remit is to build capability in food safety and market access for the Australian seafood industry. To assist with this, SafeFish offers post-graduate grant and summer student placement opportunities to encourage blue sky and/or applied research projects around priority issues on the SafeFish agenda, whilst simultaneously building our researchers of the future.
A $10,000 pa supplementary grant is available to Australian post-graduate students undertaking a research project relating to food safety or market access of Australian seafood. Example research areas include contamination of any hazard (microbial, chemical or physical) in seafood either produced or imported into Australia, public health aspects, risk assessment, risk management or risk communication, supply chain/processing activities that impact food safety, traceability, seafood fraud related to food safety, or other high priority topics deemed acceptable to the SafeFish partnership. Applicants may apply for access to the grant for one to three years.
In February 2022 a notice for the grant was sent to 43 Australian Universities and sent directly to relevant researchers/consultants. There were 6 applications received which included research focusses on (3) vibrios and (3) microplastics. The successful candidate selected for the 2022/23 period was Ms. Claire Hedges who is currently working with the National Measurement Institute (NMI) and Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU) focussing on an improved method for vibrio detection.
The SafeFish post-graduate grant will be made available again for the 2023/24 period. Interested applicants should contact the secretariat for more information.
2022/23 Successful applicant: Claire Hedges, RMIT University/National Measurement Institute
Rapid Detection and Identification Techniques for Pathogenic Vibrio spp. in Australian Seafood
Vibrio spp. in seafood represent an interesting research opportunity due to their ubiquity in marine environments and occasional implication as pathogens. Claire’s project will explore and develop rapid detection and identification techniques to improve measurements of pathogenic Vibrio spp. in foods. Her research also seeks to expand knowledge of Vibrio spp. in a local context through a market survey of ready to eat seafoods, including oysters. This project will advance vibrio research in Australia by providing information about locally isolated strains. The studies on existing and new methods for detection and identification will inform measurement improvements, an identified need by SafeFish to improve risk management by the seafood industry. Information arising from Claire’s work will inform future research and assist with responding to outbreaks of illness associated with these pathogens.
To assist with building capability and understanding in seafood food safety in Australia, SafeFish also have the capacity to offer two 4-week summer placement opportunities per year to assist with delivering components of the SafeFish work program. For more information, please contact the Secretariat for more information.