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Food Science and Nutrition Researcher

Location: Palmira, Colombia

HarvestPlus is an interdisciplinary, global alliance of more than 200 scientific and implementation partners in over 40 countries that seeks to reduce hidden hunger and provide micronutrients to billions of people directly through the staple foods that they eat. We use a novel process called biofortification, based on conventional plant breeding, to achieve higher levels of micronutrients in high-yielding, high-profit varieties of key staple foods.

HarvestPlus is a joint venture between two CGIAR Centers, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Cali, Colombia and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, D.C. Both Institutions are committed to reduce hunger and poverty around the world through their research activities.

HarvestPlus and CIAT are seeking applications for a Food Science and Nutrition Researcher. He/she will lead the nutrition research related to biofortification and manage the nutrition quality laboratory based at CIAT. The position will be based at CIAT Head Quarters in Cali, Colombia.


• Manage the NQL lab, develop new methods and keep current methods up to standards, assure quality assurance, contribute scientifically to the work, discuss opportunities for analysis with the breeders, oversee analyses and report of samples from the breeders, conduct retention studies, attend to visitors and train other labs on similar methods.

Nutrition related activities:

o Develop and conduct acceptability studies with biofortified crops
o Provide nutrition input to other areas of HarvestPlus in Latin America (communication, marketing, impact)
o Supervise the development of technical information of all biofortified released crops in LAC
o Provide leadership to the integration of biofortification into national food and nutrition security plans, policies, projects and programs in LAC 

Food Science activities:
o Develop and conduct retention studies with biofortified crops
o Development of new recipes with biofortified crops
o Development of process and products having biofortified crops as ingredients

Administration and management activities:
o Interface between CIAT and HarvestPlus in Food Science (read and contribute to proposals, books, papers)
o Translate scientific evidence into understandable language for HarvestPlus staff and CIAT breeders in Latin America

• PhD or Master’s degree in Food Science & Technology or Nutrition with core competencies in applied Food Science & Technology
• PhD (2 years) or MS with 5+ yrs. of experience in related positions
• Experience in applied food science applying and incorporating food chemistry/biochemistry and analysis, food safety and microbiology, sensory and consumer science, food engineering and processing within a food systems and value chains framework in practical, real-world situations and problems.
• Experience in food chemistry and analysis, including laboratory management.

The candidate shall demonstrate understanding of the chemistry and biochemistry underlying the properties of various food components; have sufficient knowledge of food chemistry to control reactions in foods; understand the major chemical reactions that limit shelf life of food crops and their products; understand and supervise the correct utilization of the laboratory techniques common to basic and applied food chemistry and of the principles behind analytical techniques associated with food.

• Understanding of the basic principles of human nutrition with particular emphasis in vitamins and minerals which are enabling for the characterization, preparation, processing or labelling of foods to meet the nutritional requirements for normal development and good health; and familiarity with the food sources of nutrients and other major dietary components, including toxins and anti-nutrients, as well as understanding of the methods for acquiring and interpreting information about diet and about the interactions between diet, health and disease. • Experience in the application of sound nutrition and nutritional epidemiology principles to assess nutritional status, design and properly implement vitamin and mineral retention studies and bioavailability trials, and to assess and apply the results of randomized controlled efficacy and effectiveness trials.

Role Competencies:
• Demonstrable experience in the preparation of expert advice and communication of key information to public and private and civil society partners to help formulate nutrition and food policy and assist in planning nutrition programs.
• Fluency in both English and Spanish and demonstrated use of oral and written communication skills that demonstrate the clear formulation of ideas and opinions in nutrition and/or food sciences in ways appropriate to the needs of specialist and public target audiences (i.e. writing technical reports, letters, memos, and making formal and informal presentations).
• Experience in project management skills for success: Working effectively with others - Developing others – Provide leadership in a variety of situations – Deal with individual and/or group conflict mediation/resolution – Manage time effectively - Impact and influence – Scientific recognition – Partnerships or collaborative associations – Project mobilization Terms of employment. 

This internationally recruited position and will be based at CIAT headquarters in Cali, Colombia, and report to the Senior Scientist of the Program.

The initial contract will be for up to two (2) years, subject to a probation period of three (3) months, and is renewable depending on performance and availability of resources. CIAT offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with competitive salary and excellent benefits.

CIAT is an equal opportunity employer, and strives for staff diversity in gender and nationality.

Applicants are invited to send a cover letter illustrating their suitability for the above position against the listed qualifications, competencies, skills together with a detailed curriculum vitae, including names and addresses of three referees knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience. All correspondence should be addressed to the CIAT Human Resources Office to Andrea Linares ([email protected]) and should clearly indicate “Food Science and Nutrition Researcher”.

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