Postdoctoral Associate in Food Systems Modeling in EAT-Lancet 2.0 - CALS - Department of Global Development (3 positions)

Postdoctoral Associate in Food Systems Modeling in EAT-Lancet 2.0 - CALS - Department of Global Development (3 positions)

Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.



Three Postdoctoral Associates in Food Systems Modeling in EAT-Lancet 2.0

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Global Development 
Cornell University 
Ithaca, NY 

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty, and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education, and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy, and environmental resources; and social, physical, and economic well-being. CALS is fundamentally invested in improving the lives of people, their environments, and their communities both in New York state and around the world.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.

Cornell's Food Systems & Global Change (FSGC) team is a part of the Department of Global Development, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and focuses on increasing the sustainability of food systems for the benefit of humans and ecosystems. We work in the areas of sustainable intensification of agriculture, climate mitigation and adaptation, livestock systems, and healthy and sustainable diets, providing analysis and insights aimed at helping to shape the decision-making process at all relevant levels. 

Project description
We are hiring three Postdoctoral Associates in the field of healthy and sustainable diets, with a focus on food systems modeling. The candidates will work with the international EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission (herein “the Commission”), which will conduct a systematic review of food systems and how to ensure healthy diets for all at a global scale, within planetary boundaries.

Main responsibilities

The overall scope of the Commission is to understand how to feed 10 billion people a healthy diet, within planetary boundaries, in ways that are affordable and accessible for all. The main responsibilities of these postdoc positions will be to support the modeling working group of the Commission and help to liaise between the modeling working group and the other four Commission working groups (Healthy Diets, Sustainable Production, Just Food Systems, and Food Systems Transformation). The postdocs will be expected to coordinate with global and country modeling groups, compile and synthesize modeling outputs, and develop novel uses of this data to create improved food system metrics, and inform transition pathways. All postdocs will contribute to a range of data collection, analysis, and visualization activities to support the Commission. They will also contribute to a series of systematic literature reviews, contributing to a greater synthesis of knowledge in the areas of healthy diets from sustainable food systems, and food system transformation.

The interdisciplinary commission consists of 25 Commissioners from 19 countries, with backgrounds in e.g., public health, agriculture and livestock production, political science, behavior change, food justice and environmental sustainability. The Commission has a greater focus on justice and diversity of regional and local diets in comparison with EAT-Lancet published in 2019. Three postdoctoral associates will hired and based at Cornell University, with a focus on food systems modeling.

Postdoc 1: Global Modeling
Will coordinate with global modeling groups. Helping to develop and refine scenario specification and model output reporting protocols. Will be expected to help check data consistency and provide data analysis and visualization support to communicate key messages from global modeling intercomparison of Planetary Health Diets. Candidate will also build data process streams to facilitate the preparation of key model inputs to ensure model represents global scenarios in a consistent manner. Postdoc will develop new tools and modules to extend the scope of analysis on environmental, justice, and health and dietary dimensions.

Postdoc 2: Country Modeling
Will coordinate with the country modeling groups. The candidate will help coordinate global assumptions used in country modeling to be consistent and complementary of global modeling efforts. They will develop and refine model reporting protocols and will be expected to ensure data consistency and comparability of the country case studies. Postdoc will assist in data analysis and visualization of country-level results, with a particular focus on comparative analyses (between countries, and between scales of analysis i.e., global vs. regional). Candidate will have the opportunity to build new tools and methods to extend country-level modeling, and to downscale global and country modeling results to meso- and micro- levels of analysis to better assess environmental, justice, and health consequences of food system transitions.

Postdoc 3: Food Systems Modeling
Will contribute directly to food systems modeling efforts. Candidate will coordinate with appropriate modeling groups, and look to contribute to modeling efforts, by exploring opportunities to apply and develop existing food systems modeling tools (e.g., land-use models, computable general equilibrium models, multi-sectoral partial equilibrium models, health models, systems dynamic value chain modeling) to explore key questions being raised by the various Commission working groups. This work would have a particular focus on exploring potential wellbeing and livelihood consequences of food system transitions, with a particular interest in questions of affordability and access of food, health outcomes, as well as impacts on employment and wages.

All three candidates are expected to contribute to the core EAT-Lancet 2.0 publication but will also have the opportunity to conduct standalone scientific papers in close collaboration with other researchers in the Commission. The candidates will also be given opportunities to engage with policy and business communities at the national and international level and will be provided training and mentorship on effective science communication.

The candidates will be based at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA, but will work with researchers across the globe. The project supervisor will be Professor Mario Herrero and the immediate supervisor will be Daniel Mason D’Croz, with input from other Commissioners and scientists in the Food Systems Modeling working group. Interaction across working groups (Healthy Diets, Sustainable Production, Just Food Systems, and Food Systems Transformation) are welcome and encouraged. The postdoctoral fellows will also be part of a group of early career scientists connected to the Commission who will serve as a peer group supported by regular meetings and interactions.

Required Qualifications

  • PhD in an appropriate field (i.e. Data Science, Econometrics, Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Evolutionary Ecology, etc.) with a focus on modeling and scenario analysis 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with large datasets and data management
  • Experience with use, design, and development of simulation models of complex system
  • Demonstrated ability to do qualitative and quantitative research, including literature reviews
  • Demonstrated proficiency in one or more simulation modeling languages (e.g., GAMS, MATLAB, C++, systems dynamics,  etc.) and data analysis and visualization software (e.g., R, Python, etc.)
  • Knowledge of economic modeling methods and tools, and their application to the global food system
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, with capacity to communicate to various audiences including scientists, policymakers, regional stakeholders, and the broader public.
  • Detail oriented, and excellent documentation skills
  • Proven ability to successfully manage multiple priorities
  • Ability to work independently and as a part of a diverse, interdisciplinary team
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally.

Assessment Criteria

In the appointment process attention will be given to research and modeling skills needed for the position.

  • A track record demonstrating excellence in modeling complex systems and communicating complex results to a broad audience, demonstrated in academic outputs (e.g., scientific publications, discussion papers, etc.)
  • Shown ability to formulate own original ideas and conduct research independently 
  • Willingness to work as part of a transdisciplinary international team, and evidence of previous work with researchers from different disciplines
  • Ability to communicate research ideas and results and an interest to engage with stakeholders outside the academic community
  • Excellent written and spoken English skills
  • We are looking for a person who has the ability to work in an international, fast-paced environment. You are responsible, responsive, and a good team player. You are self-motivated, take responsibility for your tasks and have a structured way of working. You are used to prioritizing and can keep an overview of a complex organization while delivering on concrete tasks. 

Division of Time
100% research 

Terms of Employment
The positions involve full-time employment for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three years, depending on funding and performance. Position will initially be appointed for 1 year, renewable for second and third years pending good review after years 1 and 2. 

We would prefer if the candidates could start by March 1, 2023. 

Further information about the positions can be obtained from Professor Mario Herrero, or Daniel Mason-D'Croz,

Apply for one the positions through Please state in your cover letter which of the three postdoc positions you are interested in

Applications will be reviewed until position is filled. 


Pay Range:

$54,840.00 - $75,000.00

Pay Ranges:

The hiring rate of pay for the successful candidate will be determined considering the following criteria:

  • Prior relevant work or industry experience.
  • Education level to the extent education is relevant to the position.
  • Academic Discipline (faculty pay ranges reflects 9-month annual salary)
  • Unique applicable skills.

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