The Playford Trust is delighted to partner with Thomas Foods International (TFI) to offer a PhD scholarship to a student undertaking innovative research that maybe of interest to TFI. The scholarship is valued at $9000 a year, for 3 ½-years.

The TFI group of companies generates annual turnover in excess of $2 billion and employs more than 3000 people globally.

It is Australia’s largest 100% family owned meat-processing company and is represented in the United States through its subsidiary company Thomas Foods International USA. The subsidiary services the entire North American market, has distribution centres across numerous states and is the continent’s largest importer of Australian chilled beef and lamb.

Other businesses within the TFI group of companies include Thomas Foods International China, a 100% company-owned distribution business based in Shanghai; food retail label Thomas Farms; meat wholesaler Holco; ready-to-cook meal business Thomas Farms Kitchen; and sustainable seafood export business Thomas Cappo Seafoods, a collaboration with Cappo Seafood.


Aplications have closed.

Selection Criteria
The Playford Trust will consider nominations from students studying at one of the three South Australian universities, and it reserves the right to accept or reject any or all of the nominations. Thomas Foods International and the Playford Trust will jointly make the final selection. The decision will be based on the following selection criteria:

Applicants must be:

  • an Australian citizen, or holder of a permanent residency visa, and resident in South Australia

  • intending to spend a significant part of their career in South Australia, or likely to provide a benefit to the State

  • a high achiever, with an excellent academic record

  • of good character. Preference is given to students that display leadership potential.

  • It is essential the applicant’s supervisor or an academic referee (e.g. dean of school/faculty, or lecturer) provides a supporting comment about the student’s achievements, character and leadership potential.

Applicants must be ready to commence their PhD in 2021.

Their work must focus on one of the priority areas supported by the Trust, and involve an innovative project that may be of value to TFI.

Areas of interest include:

  • food technology, meat processing, food hygiene engineering or some aspect of feed lock operations

  • automation, engineering, robotics, machine learning

  • processing – machinery and efficiencies

  • smart tracking – e.g. tracking of stock as well as tracking the parts to the original carcass

  • meeting export requirements and preferences (as TFI are expanding into new markets)

  • reproductive biotechnology – modifying animal traits, genetic characteristics, getting to market quickly

  • smart packaging

  • work health and safety, and sanitation innovation

  • development of value-added products from agricultural waste – e.g. TFI grows potatoes.