Research Assistant in Nutrition
Tufts University
United States

Research Assistant in Nutrition

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy is dedicated to advancing nutritional well-being for people worldwide through excellence in research, teaching and the shaping of public policy. As the only graduate school of nutrition in North America, faculty at the school include biomedical scientists, economists, epidemiologists, nutritionists, physicians, political scientists and psychologists whose focus ranges from individuals through food systems, cells through society for human and environmental health.


Read about our pledge to diversity and inclusion, celebrate our wins with us, and look at our goals. You’ll be joining a leading institution for evidence-based nutrition education, research, and public impact.

What You'll Do

This is a grant funded and limited term position until November 30, 2025.


We are seeking an Assistant Researcher to be part of the

Healthy Diets Monitoring Initiative, a newly launched consortium 

of three United Nations agencies - the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - who have joined forces along with Tufts Friedman School and University of South Carolina to generate evidence, develop and disseminate guidance, and support national and global decision-makers and stakeholders around the world to monitor the healthiness of diets to improve the well-being of people and the planet. The HDMI work is supported by a grant through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a champion of scaling up dietary data for better policy-making. Dr. Jennifer Coates at the Friedman School leads this grant as the Principal Investigator; this position will support the HDMI’s work within Tufts and across the partner institutions.


The HDMI will undertake a set of activities to achieve four outcomes in support of the project’s mission:


  1. Evidence syntheses will establish clarity around what is known, and not known, while new evidence will reduce knowledge gaps related to the performance of metrics and tools for a range of policy and program needs. This evidence, in turn, will improve the rigor and clarity of, and confidence in, guidance to national and global decision-makers related to monitoring healthy diets.


  1. Countries will be engaged in sharing their capacities, needs, interests, and opportunities for adopting healthy diets metrics for national monitoring, generating enthusiasm and interest in shaping and, eventually, implementing guidance produced through the HDMI.


  1. Technical experts from country and global-level will cooperatively translate evidence into recommendations, decision support tools, and related guidance while centering country perspectives and realities.


  1. Broad-based communications and dissemination of HDMI outputs will increase awareness, demand for, and uptake of the guidance produced through the HDMI.


Working under the direct supervision of Dr. Jennifer Coates and in close collaboration with the other HDMI members, the Assistant Researcher will handle the below duties:

  • Implement a range of project activities related to all four of the above-mentioned project outcomes.
  • Evidence syntheses of metrics assessing child and adolescent diets.
  • Organizing technical stakeholder consultations.
  • Plan and implement country engagement, developing guidance for national diet surveillance, and content development for communications and outreach.
  • Create and maintain collaborative relationships with the UN, countries, and academic partners. 
  • Identify challenges and propose solutions and their potential benefits, drawbacks, and risks.
  • Manage timelines for the activities they are leading and/or involved in as a contributor to the HDMI group.

What We're Looking For

Basic Requirements:

  • Master’s degree in nutrition science, policy, public health, development economics, policy and/or another related field
  • At least 2 years of research experience
  • Familiarity with dietary assessment methods, metrics, and tools
  • Excellent research skills, including experience in qualitative and quantitative data collection and literature searches (published and unpublished)
  • Capacity to work on quantitative analyses with minimal supervision
  • Ability to write clearly and effectively for scientific and policy audiences and carefully edit detailed scientific documents
  • Excellent organizational and managerial ability, attention to detail, and ability to multi-task
  • Experience effectively collaborating with diverse stakeholders, including national governments and technical experts
  • Ability to work independently and meet deadlines with efficiency and accuracy
  • Ability to communicate with clarity, sensitivity, diplomacy and tact with a range of international organizations, collaborating senior researchers, government stakeholders, and donor representatives
  • Capacity and commitment to function as part of a team
  • Cultural sensitivity, patience, respect, and a helpful attitude toward resolving problems and answering questions are essential 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • PhD candidate or PhD in nutrition science, policy, public health, policy and/or another related field
  • Technical expertise in metric development and validation
  • Proficiency in data analysis programs (such as Stata, SPSS, and/or R and/or NVivo) and Microsoft Office Suite
  • Experience analyzing quantitative dietary data
  • Experience working in low or middle-income country contexts   

Special Work Schedule Requirements:

This position will be, preferentially, a  hybrid position; the candidate would ideally be based in the Boston area and be willing and able to work in the Tufts Friedman School offices approximately 1-2 days per week and as needed for in-person conferences and meetings. There is, however, the potential for a full home-based contract, if required. The position may include occasional international travel.

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