New Microwave Tech for Food Processing

Technology development and neural network optimization of an innovative solid-state microwave system for food thermal processing

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Solid-state microwave (SSM) technology has the potential to overcome the limitations of magnetron generators by virtue of the precise control possible of the energy parameters that govern uniform heating. Innovation in the design and control systems is needed for it to be utilised at commercial scale in food industry. The requirement is to be able heat up the food product uniformly across a conveyor line to a desired temperature for pasteurisation or sterilisation purposes. This study will apply a software based multi-physics simulation to model coupled microwave and thermal heat transfer in food processing. The research will optimise design parameters of phase and frequency modulation, and power control of microwave energy for different designs of energy emitting waveguides or antennae. The numerical simulation will be tested in a pilot system applying an artificial neural network to control and optimise heating uniformity for delivering high quality and safe foods with extended shelf life.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Dariush Zare


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to domestic and international applicants
  • Applications are open to applications from relevant engineering or food processing degree
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants need to be competent in mathematical modelling and computation of heat transfer processes
  • Track records of peer-reviewed top journals
  • Competency in modelling using professional software such as COMSOL and ANSYS
  • Competency in computer programing such as MATLAB or Python
  • Competency in Artificial Neural Network (ANN) modelling

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants must have completed a Bachelor Degree (honours) in a relevant field (e.g., Food & Biosystems, Mechanical or Chemical Engineering)
  • Candidates should meet UTAS academic and English language entry requirements for the PhD
  • Applicants with a Master by research or Masters by coursework with significant research competency will be given priority in the selection process

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Dariush Zare to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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