Junior Research Scientist on food systems and health


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The joint INRAE-AgroParisTech Physiology of Nutrition and Eating Behaviour (PNCA) research unit comprises three teams, including the PROSPECT team (4 researchers/teaching-researchers and a research engineer), which conducts research in nutrition & public health, focusing on the relationship between animal and plant protein consumption, nutritional security and the prevention of chronic diseases. The team has largely developed approaches for modelling changes in food consumption (diet simulation and optimisation) and their impact on nutritional risk in the short (nutritional security) and long term (incidence of chronic diseases); it also assesses other aspects of the sustainability of diets using multi-criteria approaches (environmental impacts, other health risks, etc.). The team is particularly interested in dietary transitions towards a more plant-based diet, and is seeking to identify the most influential dietary and nutritional factors as barriers and levers to sustainable transitions. You will join the team to take part in its work, and in particular to develop a new interdisciplinary research theme on the sustainability of food systems.

In order to develop this topic, the team wishes to invest in integrating the characteristics of the upstream food system (production and processing), in the spirit of using Human health as a driver of food systems evolution.

Working within the team and in interdisciplinary external collaboration (at local, national and international levels), your work will be part of a prospective study of the transition toward more plant-based diet and will consist of analysing the obstacles and levers at the level of food systems. You will be analysing the importance of variations in the quality of agricultural raw materials and the actual or potential formulation of foods, projecting their health effects at a population scale. To this aim, you will benefit from the approach initiated in the team by conducting research into the substitutability of ingredients and its repercussions on the nutritional and health value of diets. Interdisciplinary works would be raised on bio-fortification levers. Finally, in the longer term, you could consider combining simple food science models with models of the impact of diets on nutrition and health.

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Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Competition opened to candidates holding a doctorate (or equivalent).

A PhD in epidemiology or public health is desirable. Engineering science skills, including programming skills (such as SAS, R or Python), are required.

Agronomic engineering competences would be an advantage for the smooth running of the interdisciplinary project.
Fluency in English is desirable, as is long-term international experience: successful candidates who have not already had such experience will be required to undertake a period of study abroad at the end of the placement year.

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2024-ALIMH-4
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 32
Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

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