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The mission of Maastricht University - Campus Venlo is to bring academic education and research about healthy food to the Greenport Venlo area. In the inner-city of Venlo, the Bachelor programme University College Venlo and two Master programmes in Health Food Innovation Management and Global Supply Chain Management & Change are situated. Life science research, focussed on food, nutrition and health, is subdivided over the inner-city campus and in Villa Flora at the former Floriade venue (Brigthlands Campus Greenport Venlo).
The Food Claims Centre Venlo (FCCV) is the multidisciplinary research programme that aims to bridge the gap between nutritional sciences and food law. Researchers at the FCCV focus on questions that relate to whether it can be scientifically proven that foods are healthy or safe, and thereby live up to regulatory requirements. The FCCV closely collaborates with the research programme located in Villa Flora, the Centre for Healthy Eating and Food Innovation (HEFI). HEFI investigates the effects of health food, builds up knowledge about the health effects of food and the development of new nutritional products.
The project is entitled ‘Health effects of fruits and vegetables’ (in Dutch ‘de gezondheidseffecten van groenten en fruit) and is part of the project ‘De Waarde(n) van Groenten & Fruit’, in which a consortium of businesses and knowledge institutions collaboratively study the contents and health effects of fruits and vegetables. This project is subsidised by the Dutch Topsector Tuinbouw & Uitgangsmaterialen.
In summary, the project entails the following: In large population surveys, fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to reduced risks on noncommunicable diseases and overall, these products are shown to positively contribute to health. However, it is unclear to what extent which products are responsible for which health effects. Whereas consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the influence of food on their health, for food companies it is difficult to explain what kind of ingredients their products exactly contain and why these are healthy. To be able to provide more clarity upon the value of fruits and vegetables, the overall project aims to both develop improved measurement methods to better define the ingredient content of the produce, whilst simulatenously develop innovative methods to define and assess the health effects of these measured ingredients and of the products overall.
Objective Study the development of a challenge model to measure health effects of various ingredients from fruits and vegetables. Research will be conducted to build onto the available scientific evidence on health effects of (specific ingredients of) fruits and vegetables and into the recent developments of challenge models to measure health effects. Combined with laboratory research to develop the challenge method for selected ingredients, a proof of principle will be developed to assess such health effects in healthy subjects.
Methods Within this study, different methods will be combined: desk research (literature review), in vitro (ex vivo challenge studies) and in vivo methods (challenge studies testing health effects on a healthy population) will be used. To translate all findings into daily practice, subsequent to generating these insights, an additional analysis of regulatory requirements related to health will be conducted.
To complete our team, we are looking for a PhD candidate who preferably has experience with laboratory research (in vitro and in vivo) or with a strong basis in nutritional expertise and research.
The PhD candidate will furthermore support educational tasks in the framework of the Campus Venlo educational programmes. Didactic or educational experience is a plus.
The ideal candidate should distinguish him/herself with:
- Experience in a scientific laboratory setting, with a Master in Biomedical Sciences, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Medicine or a similar degree;
- Strong affinity for nutritional research in health and disease and specifically related to inflammation;
- Strong in establishing collaborations and building networks between the partners; in other words a flexible team-player;
- An ambitious, pioneering, creative and constructive mindset;
- A “can do” and “hands-on” mentality for further development of the lab, eager to work;
- Affinity with innovation and entrepreneurship: development of new models;
- Affinity with education;
- Eager to work in a starting/growing and international team;
- Good command of Dutch and English language.
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > Support > UM employees.
Your salary will be based on the VSNU salary for PhD student starting at € 2.325,-- and increasing to € 2.972,-- gross per month over the course of the 4-years PhD project, according to salary-scale P0-P3. On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance.
The contract is initially for a period of 1 year, after which the candidate will be evaluated and a decision will be made to continue or discontinue the PhD trajectory.
Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 18,000 students and 4,300 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.
The Food Claims Centre Venlo (FCCV) recently relocated to the new Maastricht University Campus Venlo building in the inner-city. This small-scale campus is located in the historic centre of the city. The laboratory research facilities of Maastricht University Campus Venlo are located at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, in Villa Flora, a former greenhouse at the outskirts of Venlo. The building has been transformed into a site where numerous parties join together in research on healthy food. The Maastricht University facilities have been in use only since Jan 2018. The brand new facilities are state-of-the-art, and are an excellent setting for the anticipated project.
The FCCV is founded by Dr. Alie de Boer, who has a close collaboration with multiple research groups that study either nutritional sciences or food law, but only in the FCCV these are combined. This young research group conducts state of the art research on regulatory requirements (which specific methods are required to analyse certain safety or health considerations in authorisation dossiers for foods); scientific developments (how can novel methods and concepts be used in proving safety or health); as well as effects of policies (what consequences of policy and legislation can be identified for different stakeholders).
Maastricht University (UM)
Nassaustraat 36, 5911 BV, Venlo
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