Research Scientist – Modelling intakes of iron and zinc bioavailability in European populations

Applications Close: 08 July 2024

Salary: £35,300 to £43,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience

Contract Length: 24 months, full time

We are looking for a highly motivated Postdoctoral Scientist to join the Food and Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure (FN- NBRI) at Quadram Institute, based in Norwich UK.

This post will work as part of the Zero Hidden Hunger project (Tackling micronutrient malnutrition and hidden hunger to improve health in the EU). They will be modelling intakes in multiple large-scale national dietary datasets and collaborate with international partners to deliver cutting edge research in sustainable diets.

The Food & Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure (F&N-NBRI) is a national coordinating ‘hub’ in nutrition and health and the leading national provider of new and continuously updated data, tools and services vital for UK public health, research and innovation.

We have recently been successful in securing funds from Horizon Europe (and Innovate UK) to estimate bioavailable iron and zinc intake from UK and European population data. The project is Zero Hidden Hunger (ZHH) – Tackling micronutrient malnutrition and hidden hunger to improve health in the EU and is running from 2024-2028.

In Europe, 61–97% of women of reproductive age have a dietary iron intake below 15 mg/day. Dietary iron found in foods as haem iron (mainly animal origin) is more efficiently absorbed than from foods containing non-haem iron (mainly plant origin). There are also dietary factors affecting iron absorption which can be either enhancing (e.g. meat, ascorbic acid) or inhibiting absorption (e.g. phytic acid, soy protein, certain polyphenols, calcium, oxalic acid).

Similarly, fractional zinc absorption is influenced by the amount of ingested phytic acid. As our diets are changing to more sustainable sources it is important to model this transition and estimate its effects on micronutrient intakes so that we can achieve optimal combinations of foods to maximise bioavailability.

The role

The post holder will be responsible for activities such as:

  • Compiling data of dietary factors that are influencing iron and zinc bioavailability using literature and our available bioactives composition databases
  • Estimating iron and zinc bioavailability intakes in large-scale national consumption survey data from the UK and other European countries
  • Modelling scenarios of future dietary intake as we transition to diets from sustainable sources
  • Disseminating project results to project partners, the scientific community and the public.

The ideal candidate

This post will be well-suited to a PhD graduate in Nutrition, or related disciplines with a strong interest in food and nutrition. The ideal candidate will have demonstrable deep knowledge of food data, including composition, intake and analysis and will have experience in statistical modelling applied in dietary intake settings, preferably using R/Python. They will have excellent communication skills directed to a variety of audiences, strong interpersonal skills, and be highly motivated and organised to work independently.

Additional information

Salary on appointment will be within the range £35,300 to £43,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time post for a contract of 24 months.

For further information and details of how to apply can be found on the HR website, or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450814 or quoting reference 1004690. This role meets the criteria for a visa application, and we encourage all qualified candidates to apply.  Please contact the Human Resources Team if you have any questions regarding your application or visa options.

Interviews will be held on either 17 or 19 July 2024.

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 8 July 2024.

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