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Kim Chance Fellowship research focuses on technology for food quality.

A research project to develop portable infrared scanning technology to assess food quality has won a University of Western Australia PhD student a fellowship from the State Government to further his research.


University of Western Australia PhD student Jorge Silva is the recipient of the Buy West East Best Kim Chance Fellowship Award for his research project to develop low-cost spectroscopic infrared scanning technology, to assess food quality. The Kim Chance Fellowship Award was established in recognition of Mr Chance’s devotion to agriculture, and for his tireless and selfless efforts to improve the lot of farmers, the wider agricultural sector and regional communities.


The $10,000 fellowship, funded through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, provides financial assistance to a PhD student whose research can advance agriculture in WA.

The award will support Jorge, a student in the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at UWA, to travel to the University of Georgia, Athens, USA to gain hands on experience in food quality and safety assessment using infrared scanning technology.


Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan congratulated Jorge on receiving the fellowship and said she was keen to see his innovative technology used within our food industry here in WA.


“WA has some of the best produce in the world which is recognised for quality and freshness,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“Buying local food drives the economic growth of WA and also supports our growers, producers, businesses and their communities.”

UWA PhD student Jorge Silva, recipient of the Buy West Eat Best Kim Chance Fellowship Award, with Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Buy West Eat Best program manager Melissa Worthington.

Jorge will have the opportunity to work in a world-leading laboratory, and build US research connections with WA.

This innovative project aims to develop a portable, low-cost spectroscopy system for assessing the quality of food across the supply chain.


The technology is targeted at farmers, food processers, and retailers to support existing food safety practices, so only the best quality food reaches the consumer.


 “This project will improve the quality control measures used to detect faecal contamination in poultry and surface contamination on vegetable crops, which will greatly benefit the WA food industry,” Jorge said.

“This will also positively impact the health and wellbeing of consumers, by avoiding the consumption of contaminated food.”


Ms MacTiernan said our food industry already had in place strict guidelines and practices to ensure the safety and quality of our food.


“However, the development of this infrared technology to make information on quality easier and quicker to access, will benefit both the consumer and the broader agriculture and food industry,” she said.

Preliminary trials will be undertaken with poultry within the next two years, with the aim of having the technology to market within five years.

Katrina Bowers