FDNC Food and Nutrition Data Scientist

Applications Close: 05 January 2023

Salary: Salary on appointment will be within the range £33,050 to £40,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience for the SC6 level post, and £42,050 to £51,950 per annum for candidates who meet the SC5 level criteria.

Contract Length: Full time, 3 years

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with an interest in embracing cutting edge computational tools in the study of food composition, food intake and wider nutritional research to drive our food data science capabilities within the Food Databanks National Capability at the Quadram Institute.

The Food Databanks National Capability (FDNC) is the leading national provider of new and continuously updated data, knowledge and tools relating to food composition, intake and food systems for use by different end-users including academia, industry, healthcare, government, consumers.

We are working closely with QIB and external scientists to support higher-resolution nutrition data, new dietary tools, and integration of food & microbiome data to underpin high-quality research in plant-based diets, personalised nutrition & health, and in food safety of transforming UK food systems.

FDNC compiles and publishes nutritional data (CoFID) on foods eaten in the UK which underpin high-quality science in support of current and emerging national needs in nutrition (food composition and intake), health (e.g., obesity, healthy ageing) and sustainability (environment, food security). This includes the Government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey, which is used to inform public health policy.

We are also responsible for developing and maintaining eBASIS, a database of non-nutrient plant-derived bioactive compounds with putative health benefits in foods, supported by peer-reviewed evidence.

The role

Primarily, the post holder will be expected to expand our food data science capabilities, which depending on priorities may include identifying new foods and recipes, gap filling missing nutrient data, linking with environmental sustainability data, modelling nutritional data across food systems, and work with our data users in industry and academia in projects related to linking/aggregating/matching data.

Some current examples to demonstrate the diversity of projects we are involved in include working with European partners on machine-learning algorithms for personalised nutrition (FNS-Cloud project), working with the Department of Health and Social Care on delivering accurate nutrition information in their BetterHealth apps, working with a nutrition SME on allergen flagging in restaurant menus, and developing an iron bioavailability calculator for plant-based recipes.  Work will also include development of new web-based tools (e.g. RShinny apps) around CoFID data for a variety of users (clinical professionals, researchers, public) for diverse purposes (e.g training, public engagement, policy engagement etc).

Secondarily, the post holder will manage our plant-bioactives database (eBASIS), and in particular improve new data capture (e.g. through natural language processing) and improve functionality and accessibility of a new user-facing web-app interface for researchers.

Central to this role will be the ability to interact with our food and nutrition stakeholder communities by maintaining good working relations with our existing network, developing new collaborations, share best practice, adopt cutting edge food and nutrition-related data tools, and be a champion of our activities.

The post is available at an SC6 level, however candidates with demonstrable ability to lead on grant submission/publications in the area of food data science and an ability to initiate collaborations with external centres will be considered at an SC5 level.

The ideal candidate

This post will be well-suited to a graduate in Data Science/Computational Science with a strong interest in nutrition, or a Food Science/Biological Science graduate with a strong interest and experience in computational biology/data science. You will have a BSc in a relevant area, and a PhD or MSc with equivalent relevant experience.

You will have prior experience with Python/R programming and developing RShiny apps. You will have experience in analysing large data sets, preferably around food/nutrition/health, and visualising complex information for both specialised and lay users. Experience in modelling nutrition data and natural language processing skills will be an advantage.

You will also have good organisational skills, an ability to work independently and a demonstrable ability to interact and collaborate with researchers from different disciplines (e.g. nutrition science, data science, ICT).

Through our collaborative network you will have an opportunity to apply your existing skills or develop new skills in natural language processing, and machine-learning approaches in food and nutrition data.

Additional information

Salary on appointment will be within the range £33,050 to £40,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience for the SC6 level post, and £42,050 to £51,950 per annum for candidates who meet the SC5 level criteria.  This is a full-time post for a contract of 3 years.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our application website or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450814 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk quoting reference 1004369.

We are committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all sectors of society.  The Institute supports equality of opportunity within the workplace and expects all employees to share and display these values.  To support our commitment, we have a range of family, faith and diversity friendly working arrangements to help all staff achieve excellence in their area of work.

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.

The closing date for applications will be 5 January 2023.

The Quadram Institute Bioscience is a registered charity (No. 1058499) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.