PhD fellowship in children’s nutrition and cognitive function

The section Lifecourse Nutrition & Health invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in children’s nutrition and cognitive function. The project is part of the large research partnership project “Generation Healthy Kids”, which is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Start date is 1st November 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The candidate will be part of the team in work package (WP) 2 “Diet & Nutrition” and will also be connected to WP6 “Biomedical Measurements” within Generation Healthy Kids.

Generation Healthy Kids

In this project, we will develop, test and measure the effects of a 2-year multi-setting, multi-component community-based intervention in a cluster-randomized design among 2500 children aged 6-11 years (2023-2025) at 24 schools across Denmark, as well as conduct a pilot study in early 2023. The overall aim is to promote healthy weight, health behaviours and wellbeing in children. WP2 “Food and nutrition” includes a school food programme and efforts to promote healthy foods in the family, after school clubs (SFO), sports organization, and local food environment. Other intervention components focus on physical activity, sleep, and digital habits. Measurements include children’s body composition, cardiometabolic risk markers, dietary intake and nutrient status, physical fitness, cognitive function and wellbeing. The position also involves collaboration with across WPs with researchers from Department of Sports Science & Clinical Biomechanics and National Institute of Public Health at University of Southern Denmark as well as Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Frederiksberg Hospital. Read more here: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=generation+sunde+b%C3%B8rn

The PhD project
The PhD project will focus on associations between diet and nutrient status (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids and wholegrains) and the children’s cognitive function and school performance. The PhD student will also, as part of the team, conduct information meetings in the local communities, help implement the school meal intervention as well as health promoting activities with families, SFOs etc, coordinate project activities with schools and other stakeholders and conduct biomedical measurements in children.  

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of human nutrition, clinical nutrition, biology, human physiology, medicine etc. with the following qualifications:

  • A team player with a curious mindset, strong scientific drive and talent, good communication skills and the ability to handle many tasks at a time
  • Professional qualifications and/or experience relevant to the PhD project, e.g. working with school-aged children, coordination of randomized trials, experience with measurements of cognitive function, statistical data analysis etc.
  • Excellent English skills (speaking and writing)
  • Relevant publications
  • Other relevant professional activities

The candidate must possess excellent Danish skills, both speaking and writing, in order to communicate with the schools and study families, work with questionnaires in Danish etc.

Our group and research - and what do we offer?

The PhD student will work in a dynamic project team of post docs, PhD students and technical staff led by experienced senior researchers within the section Lifecourse Nutrition & Health at Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen at Frederiksberg. We conduct research on the role of diet and nutrition in foetal life, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood in relation to healthy growth, optimal nutritional status, cognitive development and prevention of undernutrition, obesity and non-communicable diseases. We have many years of experience with randomized food and nutrition trials in children. Read more here:  https://nexs.ku.dk/english/research/lifecourse-nutrition-and-health/

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Camilla T. Damsgaard, Lifecourse Nutrition & Health, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, ctd@nexs.ku.dk , Direct Phone: +45 35 33 22 21.  

The PhD programme

Depending of your level of education, you can undertake the PhD programme as either:

Option A: A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Option B: An up to five year full-time study programme within the framework of the integrated MSc and PhD programme (the 3+5 scheme), if you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree – but you have an education equivalent to a Danish bachelors´s degree.

Option A: Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. human or clinical nutrition. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Option B: Getting into a position on the integrated MSc and PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the integrated MSc and PhD programme

If you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree, you might be qualified for the integrated MSc and PhD programme, if you have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish bachelor´s degree. Here you can find out, if that is relevant for you: General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.  

Terms of the integrated programme
To be eligible for the integrated scholarship, you are (or are eligible to be) enrolled at one of the faculty’s master programmes in human nutrition or clinical nutrition.

Students on the integrated programme will enroll as PhD students simultaneously with completing their enrollment in this MSc degree programme.

The duration of the integrated programme is up to five years, and depends on the amount of credits that you have passed on your MSc programme. For further information about the study programme, please see: www.science.ku.dk/phd, “Study Structures”.

Until the MSc degree is obtained, (when exactly two years of the full 3+5 programme remains), the grant will be paid partly in the form of 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: “SU-klip”) plus salary for work (teaching, supervision etc.) totalling a workload of 150 working hours per year.
A PhD grant portion is currently (2022) DKK 6.397 before tax.

When you have obtained the MSc degree, you will transfer to the salary-earning part of the scholarship for a period of two years. At that point, the terms of employment and payment will be according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks in both PhD programmes

  • Complete and pass the MSc education in accordance with the curriculum of the MSc programme

 (ONLY when you are attending the integrated MSc and PhD programme)

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision 
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

Application and Assessment Procedure

 Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  5. Publication list (if possible)
  6. Reference letters (if available)

The deadline for applications is Sunday 21 August 2022, 23:59 GMT+2.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process
After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 36 (September 2022) 

Questions
For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website: https://www.science.ku.dk/phd/.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

APPLY NOW

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Contact

Camilla Trab Damsgaard
E-mail: ctd@nexs.ku.dk

Info

Application deadline: 21-08-2022
Employment start: 01-11-2022
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Nutrition Exercise and Sports
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