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Purpose of the position
Innovative data-driven approaches are essential for addressing urgent societal challenges such as a sustainable food production and sustainable diets, i.e. healthy, safe and with a low(er) environmental impact. The protein transition, to a diet and food production system with more vegetable and fewer animal protein sources, is important for the climate change and biodiversity crises. The protein transition is the focus of the project BIGFOOD: Farm to fork transitions and their impact – big data approaches.
Your data science skills help you to make available, combine and analyse data from various parts of the food chain, to identify promising strategies and calculate (potential) effects of interventions. For example, you will work on an ontology and knowledge graphs for the application domain, enabling FAIR data sharing across systems and applications. You also develop and apply evolutionary algorithms, natural language processing, semantic technologies and machine learning techniques and apply them to different databases and datasets, creating new techniques e.g. for decision making.
Activities and tasks
Your PhD work is supervised by Prof Dr Anna Fensel of Wageningen University and Dr Marga Ocké of the RIVM. Other colleagues with expertise in data science and food and nutrition will assist in the supervisory team. You will be stationed at RIVM, and can work part-time at Wageningen University. We are set up for hybrid working, so you can also carry out part of the work from home.
Unique to this job
Who are you?
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RIVM Committed to health and sustainability
Fixed-term contract: 4 years.
In addition to the salary, you will receive an Individual Choice Budget (IKB). The IKB consists of money (16.37% of your gross annual salary) and time. With the IKB you make the choices that suit you and you can put together part of your employment conditions yourself. For example, you can choose to have part of your monthly income paid out whenever you wish. You can also convert this budget into leave and vice versa or spend it on tax-friendly goals. The Dutch government is strongly committed to personal growth and career development and offers numerous opportunities for this. The secondary employment conditions include various study facilities, company fitness, full reimbursement of your public transport travel expenses commuting and partially paid parental leave.
Description of the team / work culture
The BIGFOOD project team consists of about fifteen colleagues from different RIVM departments.
The Nutrition and Health department is your home base and has over thirty colleagues. The atmosphere in this department is cosy, relaxed, cooperative and helpful. In the department we research a range of policy interventions for sustainable(er) and healthier food supply and food consumption. We make a major contribution to the successful design, introduction and monitoring of product improvement, Nutri-Score and determining the “Carbon footprint” of foods. With a variety of data and techniques, we make 'everything you always wanted to know' about food and food consumption transparent for everyone. With up-to-date data on food consumption, we can respond flexibly to policy questions in the field of food safety, health and sustainability. The Food Consumption Surveys enjoy national and international prestige.
Your PhD study project will be conducted at Wageningen University. The mission of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. WUR has the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and the university has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.
Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport (VWS)
Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9, 3721 MA, Bilthoven
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