Major Research Funding Received by UCD Biosystems Engineering Professor Da-Wen Sun in 2009

Professor Da-Wen Sun, Professor of Food and Biosystems Engineering, from UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine has recently been awarded with research funding of €1.14 millions for two major grants from the EU and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The EU 7 Framework Project “MINICRYSTAL – Method for Improving the Quality of Frozen Foods by Assisting the Freezing Process and Reducing the Size of the Ice Crystals” is based on UCD technology of ultrasound-assisting freezing developed by Professor Sun. With previous fundings from UCD President Research Award, and SFI Research Frontier Programme, Prof Sun and his team have shown the promising ability of using power ultrasound to initiate ice nucleation and to control crystal size distribution in the frozen food product during immersion freezing process, leading to shorter freezing time, increased freezing efficiency and improved product quality. This new EU project of €1,086,610 with UCD share of €462,989 involve in 3 RTD Performers and 6 SMEs from 6 countries, and will design and develop a prototype system for its industrial validation in food freezing facilities, which will be cost-effective, easy to operate and readily integrated with commercially available freezing equipment.

The DAFF FIRM Project “Rapid, Objective and Quantitative Determination of Meat Quality by Non-Destructive and Non-Contact Hyperspectral Imaging System” is one of the only three successful UCD projects funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food under the recent round of FIRM programme. This new FIRM project led by Prof Sun is in collaboration of Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre with a total grant of €835,519, of which UCD shares €676,919. Prof Sun is an international leading researcher in computer vision application in food quality evaluation, and he has in the past received substantial amount of funding for his research in the area. The new FIRM project will expand his research beyond the visible light range by adapting hyperspectral imaging technique to develop a novel screening imaging system that will be able to assess the quality of meat, especially tenderness. The system will be a rapid, non-destructive and non-contact system and will be of great interest to both industry and consumers.

Prof. Sun joined UCD in 1995 and has published over 180 peer reviewed journal papers, more than 200 conference papers, and 9 edited books with over 5,000 printed pages. In recognition of his significant contribution to food engineering worldwide and for his outstanding leadership in the field, Prof. Sun was awarded the International Commission of Agricultural Engineering (CIGR) Merit Award in 2000 and 2006 and was named “Food Engineer of the Year 2004” by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In 2008 he was awarded the CIGR Recognition Award in honour of his distinguished achievements in the top one percent of agricultural engineering scientists in the world.