Research Associate - Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS)

University College London - Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research

A Research Associate post is now available for a suitably-qualified researcher to join the Wellcome Trust funded project Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS). This project is a collaboration between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), University College London (UCL), the University of Aberdeen and several other institutions in London, along with our collaborators in South Africa (UKZN, Durban) and India (PHFI, Delhi).

The role holder will use biodiversity indicators to evaluate the responses of biodiversity to land use change driven by alternative food systems at a global scale, and will apply the Madingley General Ecosystem Model to explore responses of biodiversity and ecosystems to agricultural land use change at regional scales (with a focus on Southern Africa). The postdoc will work most closely with Dr. Ben Collen and Prof. Georgina Mace.

The appointment is available from October 2017 and is funded for 36 months in the first instance.

The Project:

The overarching objective of the Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) programme is to provide policy makers with novel, interdisciplinary scientific evidence to define future food systems policies that deliver nutritious and healthy foods in an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable manner. The project comprises two linked research components: (1) Data gathering, analysis and scenario modelling, using a variety of statistical, analytical and experimental methods to identify key interactions at the global, regional and national level, including collecting new, integrated data in diverse sites in India and South Africa. Analysis of local evidence, informed by work with secondary data, will enable a granular understanding of the local realities of the food environment-health nexus. (2) Policy design and evaluation. SHEFS will characterise the policy context in which food systems operate in low and middle-income country settings, and identify food system policy options with the potential to improve population health and reduce environmental impacts.

The successful candidates must hold a PhD degree in ecology, conservation biology, computer science, or related discipline, and will ideally have experience with ecological modelling methods (e.g., spatial modelling, ecological networks) and/or biodiversity indicators. Essential and desirable qualifications, experience, skills and knowledge are detailed below. Please ensure you read the full details on the role and person specification carefully before applying for the post as candidates must meet all essential criteria to be considered.

Applicants should apply online. To access further details about the position and how to apply please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

For any queries regarding the application process, please contact Biosciences Staffing on and quote the reference number 1169126

For informal enquiries about the post, please contact: Dr Ben Collen on

Closing Date: 27 October 2017

Latest time for the submission of applications: 23.59.

Interview Date: TBC

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