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Early Stage Researcher at Wageningen

Deadline for application: July 13th 2020

AN EARLY STAGE RESEARCHER (ESR) – THE ROLE OF SWEET TASTE IN FOOD PREFERENCES AND INTAKE IN YOUNG CHILDREN (2-year position)

Context:

Edulia program: Are you an ambitious junior researcher and do you want to be part of an international research consortium working on barriers for children’s healthy eating and how to tackle them?

The ITN Marie Curie project Edulia (www.edulia.eu) responds to the urgent need of the EU society to find new ways to tackle the escalating issue of obesity, through promoting healthier eating from childhood, within the context of choice. Based on the relations between sensory perception, pleasure, food choice and food behaviour, Edulia looks for new approaches to drive children to like and actively choose healthy foods, developing healthier dietary habits.

The overall aim of the research program is to better understand how multiple factors act as barriers for children’s healthy eating and how to tackle them, bringing together leading scientists in the Food Choice arena in a collaborative network that will transcend the limits of this project and strengthen European research.

The position:

Wageningen University and Research in The Netherlands has a 2-year ESR position (junior researcher, no PhD position) available within the ITN Marie Curie Project. The rise in childhood obesity is a worrying trend, also in relation to its concomitant increase in rates of associated non-communicable diseases. There is a need for understanding the role sensory signals in overeating. Numerous studies in adults have shown that taste has a major role in development of food preferences and intake patterns. 
Whereas the role of taste in preferences and consumption patterns has been extensively studied in adults; this has been studied far less in children (pre-schoolers and primary school children). This is interesting, as in adults, taste effects may be learned or partly due to cognitive factors, whereas this is unlikely in the case of young children. Studying this phenomenon in young children therefore focuses on the sensory processes involved in preferences and intake patterns.

The key objective of this 2 year research project involves the study of sweet taste exposure, and it’s role in the generation of food pleasure (liking) and sweet food intake patterns in children. The role of duration and intensity of repeated exposure to sweet taste on children’s preferences and liking for sweet tasting foods and drinks will be explored. In addition, we will explore the role of parents concerning restriction rules for the consumption of sweet foods/drinks by their children and children’s liking, preferences and consumption pattern for sugary foods.

The candidate:

A motivated candidate who can work independently as well as a part of an international team. The work place will be at Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands), but the candidate will spend a 2-month secondment in Dijon, France.

  • A university degree (MSc) in a eating behaviour field (e.g. nutrition, sensory science, psychology);
  • affinity and demonstrable experience with experimental studies on eating behaviour;
  • good communication, social and organizational skills and an interest to work with children;
  • a major part of the success of the project depends on the willingness of parents of young children to provide information and/or let their children participate in these studies. Good communication skills are essential, and the ability to speak Dutch is a plus in this context;
  • openness and willingness to collaborate with partners from other European countries and scientific disciplines;
  • being able to work and make thoughtful decisions independently;
  • availability and willingness to travel and work in different places in the world;
  • clear scientific ambition in the conduct and publication of research work;
  • good control of English (both verbally and written) is essential. The ability to speak and write in Dutch is a plus;
  • a group-social, critical and positive learning attitude towards achieving excellence. 

The conditions:

A challenging position as junior researcher with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 2790,00 to a maximum of € 3061,00 for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities (scale 10). 

The position is within the Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour (SSEB) group, that is part of the Division of Human Nutrition and Health of Wageningen University.

Application process:

This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission.
The following documents must be submitted to be considered for the position:

  • Application letter describing qualifications and motivation for the position;
  • curriculum vitae. If the candidate has any publication it should also be listed;
  • copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified);
  • two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses);
  • applicants with a qualification from a foreign university are advised to provide an explanation of the grading system used by that university.

Further information:

The supervision of this project will be done by Dr Gerry Jager, Dr Gertrude Zeinstra, and Prof Kees de Graaf. For more information about the post, please contact Gerry Jager, Associate professor Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour, e-mail: gerry.jager@wur.nl, phone +31 317485850. Please do not use this e-mail address to apply.
For more information about the procedure, please contact Marjolijn Steffens, HR advisor, e-mail: marjolijn.steffens@wur.nl

Website: https://www.wur.nl/en/vacancy/Early-Stage-Researcher.htm

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