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Research award 2020: Food Systems

Deadline: September 18, 2019

Please note that all applications must be submitted online.

IDRC is one of the world’s leaders in generating new knowledge to meet global challenges. We offer a number of research awards providing a unique opportunity to enhance research skills and gain a fresh perspective on crucial development issues. These one‐year, paid, in‐house programs of training and mentorship allow research award recipients to pursue their research goals and work in one of IDRC’s dynamic program teams.

Over the past five decades, global food systems and human dietary patterns have changed substantially. Increasingly unhealthy and unsustainable diets, combined with ongoing food insecurity (often in the same communities) are contributing to a double burden of malnutrition. Low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected and lacking evidence and influence in order to change global food systems. IDRC aims to empower researchers, farmers, consumers, and policy-makers across the developing world to transition their populations towards healthier, more equitable and sustainable food systems.

Under this theme, IDRC is looking for a research award recipient to conduct research on one of the following areas of interest:

  • Research on the drivers or enablers of change in food environments to improve the quality and sustainability of diets at the population level (e.g. urban agriculture and/or rural development initiatives and their links to local food supply and consumption)
  • Research on the aspects of the political, social and physical food environments that affect consumption of energy-dense and/or nutrient-poor food. For example, the study of the impact of agricultural subsidies, accessibility and affordability of healthy diets for low income households, influence of rapid agrarian change on food environment, and differences between rural and urban contexts
  • Evidence on how transforming food systems may impact on gender and prioritise equitable benefits to women in terms of access to healthy and sustainable diets as well as economic empowerment
  • Research to inform the design, implementation, and/or evaluation of fiscal and regulatory interventions that aim to contribute to healthier consumption and sustainable production
  • Cross-sector policy analyses and strategies for improving coherence between public policies and regulations that impact food systems
  • Empirical and/or modelling studies to quantify the current and future environmental or economic costs of different production or consumption patterns

The successful candidate will allocate 50% of their time for a research project relating to the above topic(s) under the guidance of a senior program officer. The awardee will be expected to prepare a research plan, provide progress updates during the year, and present their findings at the end of the year. The other 50% of the successful candidate’s time will include contributions to IDRC program operations, which may include synthesizing and disseminating project outcomes and results; participating in program and project development, monitoring, and evaluation; supporting program communications and research dissemination activities.

Applicants should clearly outline their qualifications for this position and explain how this opportunity will advance their career goals.

Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the requirements stated in the IDRC Research Awards 2020 call page.

Candidates should also have the following qualifications:

  • General interest in research on agriculture or public health and food system issues in developing countries;
  • Specific interest and some experience with food systems, agriculture and/or public health nutrition in Africa, Asia, and/or Latin America and the Caribbean; and
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.

Language requirements:

•  Proficiency in English

•  French or Spanish language skills an asset

It is highly desirable that the candidate has completed a master’s program related to one of the following disciplines:

  • Political science, public policy
  • Public health nutrition
  • Agri-food systems/economics
  • Development studies/International development

Your research proposal should demonstrate: a clear research question connected to one of the areas of interest above, identifying source(s) of empirical data, and the analytical methods to be used. The proposal should also describe a potential audience that could benefit from this work, and outline approaches for reaching that audience and enabling the research to make a potential impact.