Professor Steven J.R. Underhill - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Professor Steven J.R. Underhill

PhD Qld., BSc(Hons) Qld.

  • Director, Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research
  • Professor, Horticulture
Email
Telephone
+61 7 5456 5142 or 0412 140 032
Office location
IC1.28a
Campus
Sunshine Coast
Professor Steven J.R. Underhill

Professor Steven Underhill specialises in subtropical and tropical postharvest horticulture systems in developing countries, based on poverty alleviation and livelihood development outcomes.

His current research program focuses on the South Pacific (Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Kiribati) where he works with smallholder farmers to improve their postharvest handling and quality management systems. Working closely with colleagues at the Fiji National University, the University of the South Pacific, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and the World Vegetable Centre, Taiwan, much of his research is conducted in the Pacific.

Ongoing research covers a diversity of research topics from sensor-based postharvest handling assessments, postharvest infrared thermal imagery, smallholder farm postharvest capacity building, through to dwarfing-orientated genetic research in breadfruit. All collectively orientated towards supply chain development in transitional economies and wider food security/poverty alleviation benefits.

Prof Underhill is currently Professor of Horticulture and Director of the Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research (ACPIR) at the University of the Sunshine Coast, holds a Principal Research Fellow position at The Scientific Research Organization of Samoa, is an Adjunct Foundation Professor of Horticulture at the School of Natural Resources and Applied Sciences, Solomon Islands National University, and an adjunct Professor of Horticulture at the Fiji National University.

In 2010, he was awarded an Australian Day medal for services to Queensland Primary Industry. He is currently a member of:

  • International Society for Horticultural Science commission – Quality and Postharvest Horticulture
  • International Society for Horticultural Science working group – Litchi, longan and other sapindaceae fruit

Research Grants

Since joining USC in July 2010, Prof Underhill has been progressively developing an international portfolio of research projects.

 Title of the project and investigators
 Duration
 Funding       body
Amount

Enhanced fruit systems for Tonga and Samoa (Phase 2): Community based citrus production - Underhill, S.

2021 - 2024 ACIAR

A$1,230,000

Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative Phase 2 (PARDI 2) - Underhill, S., Thomson, L., Southgate, P. and Mahony, I.

2017 - 2021 ACIAR

A$1,600,000

University of the South Pacific twinning scheme - Underhill, S.

2020 ACIAR

A$45,000

COVID-19 impacts on food access in the Pacific - Underhill, S. 2020 ACIAR

A$36,300

COVID-19 impacts on food access in Samoa and Tonga - Singh-Peterson, L., Prasad, S., Ika, E., Hunter, T.D., Nath, P., Underhill, S. and Halavatau, S.

2020 IFAD

A$30,000

Improving regional institutions' capacity on postharvest management - Underhill, S.

2019 - 2020 UN-FAO

A$47,384

Enhanced fruit production and postharvest handing systems for Fiji, Samoa and Tonga - Underhill, S.

2015 - 2020 ACIAR

A$2,431,942

Gathering evidence and supporting multi-stakeholder engagement on the role of diets and food systems in the prevention of obesity and non-communicable diseases in Pacific Island countries (Fiji) - Craven, D., Burkhart, S. and Underhill, S.

2020 UN-FAO

A$221,000

Assessment study on post-harvest loss along Tonga's fruit and vegetable chains - Underhill, S.

2019 UN-FAO

A$43,203

Improving banana crop productivity in northern Australia - postharvest - Nguyen, H.H., Zhou, Y. and Underhill, S. 2017 - 2020 CRC

A$150,000

Analyzing post-harvest loss along Tonga's fruit and vegetable chains - Underhill, S.

2018 UN-FAO

A$68,968

Policy measures for the reduction of food loss/waste along fruit and vegetable value chains (Solomon Islands) - Underhill, S. 2017 - 2018 UN-FAO

A$22,904

Towards more profitable and sustainable vegetable farming systems in North-western Vietnam - Underhill, S.

2018 ACIAR

A$11,000

Scoping review and capacity needs assessment of school food programmes in the Pacific Islands - Burkhart, S. and Underhill, S.

2017 - 2018 UN-FAO

A$153,465

Improving the capacity of smallholder farmers to market a consistent supply of safe, quality food - Underhill, S.

2016-2018 UN-FAO

A$209,658

Bundaberg resilience 2017 - Singh-Peterson, L. and Underhill, S.

2017 Bundaberg Council

A$14,000

Strengthening post-harvest management capacities of pineapple producers (Vanuatu) - Underhill, S. 2016-2017 FAP

A$52,907

Postharvest losses and food safety risks in Samoa’s fruit and vegetable chains - Underhill, S.

2015 - 2017 UN-FAO

A$249,000

Supporting a diverse and sustainable fruit industry in Tonga - Singh-Peterson, L., Manuel, P., Berrell, L., Landman, W., Underhill, S., Halavatau, S. and Manu, V. 2014 - 2015 ACIAR

A$54,550

Improving the capacity for evidence-based monitoring and development - Underhill, S. and McNish, A.

2014 - 2015

UN-FAO

A$39,980

Development of a mass propagation system for elite varieties of Piper methysticum (kava) - Taylor, M. and Underhill, S.

2014 - 2015

ACIAR

A$51,680

Developing an integrated participatory guarantee scheme in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable production of high-value vegetable crops - Carter, J and Underhill, S.

2011 - 2015

ACIAR

A$605,000

PARDI – Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development InitiativeUnderhill S., Stringer R., Prasad B, Bryceson K., Wallace H, Southgate P.C., Hine D., Sisifa A.

2010 - 2015 ACIAR

A$10,000,000

Research areas

  • Postharvest horticulture technologies
  • Postharvest horticultural systems in developing countries
  • Food security and food loss
  • Poverty alleviation and livelihood development outcomes in the Pacific Islands

Professor Underhill provides supervision to Honours and Higher Degree by Research students.

Teaching areas

  • Pacific horticulture
  • Tropical postharvest handling technologies
  • Pacific Food Security
  • Horticultural supply chains in development countries
  • Poverty alleviation and livelihood development
  • Small-holder farming systems in developing countries
  • Sapindaceae fruits

Professor Steven Underhill's area of expertise includes horticulture and agriculture of include food loss, Pacific horticulture, Pacific university partnerships and engagement.

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