As we are confronted with climate change, real-world applications are needed to combat the variability it brings to our lands and people. This includes the effects of bushfire smoke contamination in vineyards on the quality of wine produced, and the sustainable production of nutritious vegetables using soilless systems as a result of reduced arable land. Thus, for the final instalment of “What maketh a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne”, we present two PhD candidates taking on the challenge of detecting smoke contamination in vineyards, and developing sustainable soilless culture systems. Vicky Summerson Wine Science The development of an in-field detection system for the assessment of smoke contamination in grapevines using near-infrared spectroscopy and infrared thermography If she were to narrate her journey…