NUPAcT Fellow: Translational Food Safety

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 26th Oct 2021
  • Salary: £42,149 - £50,296 per annum
  • REF: 13642
  • Closes: 01st May 2022
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time, Part Time

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.

Salary: £42,149 – £50,296 per annum

Closing Date: 05/01/2022

The role

Developing a new generation of creativity, excellence and diversity

Please click here to download the candidate briefing pack for full details on how to apply for this vacancy

Please note we will only consider applications which have attached all the supporting documents listed within the candidate briefing pack.

The sector-leading NUAcT Fellowship scheme aims to develop our research leaders of the future and enhance our collective research excellence. NUPAcT is a key aspect of the scheme, offering jointly funded posts with external partners which prioritise the allocation of investment towards developing sustained strategic partnerships between the University and external stakeholders. By spending time at both the University and a partner organisation, they offer the opportunity for people to build their careers across different sectors in the long term and maintain “a foot in both camps”. The benefits for the fellow and the institution are anticipated to last beyond the life of the fellowship, through developing unique skillsets, building stronger partnerships, enhancing cross-sectoral knowledge exchange, and enabling agility and cross-sector working for other researchers.

NUPAcT Fellows will be outstanding early career researchers who have an excellent track record of research outputs commensurate with their career stage and who have the potential to become world leading academics. They are expected to lead their own research programme, developing their research projects in collaboration with the partner, and delivering high quality research and impact outside the University. They should seek to build an international reputation and secure external funding to sustain their research in the longer term. They will also be role models of a positive research culture both within the University and within their partner organisation.

Working Together in Partnership

Food safety research at Newcastle sits within the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES). SNES houses internationally renowned expertise from six disciplines across the breadth of the Natural Sciences. SNES’ diverse community enables interdisciplinary research across the bioeconomy to tackle high priority societal goals and grand challenges of global significance, in line with Newcastle University’s Research Strategy.

SNES research has the objective of supporting the production of safe and nutritious food within a sustainable and resilient food system. This is achieved through externally facing partnerships, by conducting research which spans across scales from molecules to entire ecosystems, and from the fundamental science to policy formation. Specialist facilities to support this includes a sensory testing suite and experimental kitchen to conduct sensory and dietary interventions. Key external partnerships include a longstanding relationship with Fera Science Ltd., resulting in the formation of the joint Institute for Agrifood Research and Innovation (IAFRI). SNES are founding partners of two national agritechnology centres, the Centre for Crop Health and Protection (CHaP) and the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), as well as the N8 Universities £16 million Agrifood Resilience Catalyst award funded by Hefce/OfS (2015). SNES expertise in food safety are sought by national (Defra, FSA, Scottish Gov) and International (EU, EFSA, UN) government in setting policy relating to food safety and the socioeconomics and environmental impacts of farming.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is an independent, non-ministerial, government department, which is responsible for food safety and standards across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The FSA uses science and evidence to tackle today’s challenges, to identify and address emerging risks, and to ensure the UK food safety regulation framework is modern, agile and represents consumer interests. Policies and decisions are based on the best available scientific data and analysis. The FSA promotes and protects public health by ensuring that UK consumers are well informed and have sustainable access to foods which are safe, traceable, and properly labelled.

The NUPAcT fellow will be based in Newcastle for the first two years of their fellowship but they will also be an integral member of the FSA team, and will transition during the third year to be being based with the FSA at their office in York for the final two years of their Fellowship. At Newcastle University the Fellow will be based with the Modelling, Evidence and Policy (MEP) group in SNES. MEP combine research expertise in modelling scientific data collected from a range of scenarios, with a pro-active approach to research-informed policy making. The group contains expertise in the latest data analytical techniques, and the knowledge, experience, and networks to deliver their findings to local, national, and international policymakers. The Fellow will also engage with colleagues in Newcastle’s Centre of Research Excellence in Data and the National Innovation Centre for Data, housed at Newcastle. At the FSA the fellow will be based in the Science, Evidence and Research Division (SERD), led by Professor Rick Mumford, who has a visiting Chair at Newcastle University. SERD’s mission is to provide expert risk assessment and scientific/socio-economic evidence to underpin the work of the FSA. It does this via the work of its own multidisciplinary team of over 130 scientists, analysts and support staff, through its independent Scientific Advisory Committees, its network of National Reference Laboratories and through the commissioning of research with academics and other experts. Combined, this represents the ideal background for the Fellow to become embedded to achieve their research goals.

The fellowship will provide a unique early career opportunity for an academic wishing to build a research profile in translational food safety research – developing key skills both in the academic and policy sectors, leading on research projects and project management. The fellowship includes funding for a 4-year PhD position, with a research focus developed in collaboration with, and co-supervised by, scientists in the Science, Evidence and Research Division at the FSA.

At Newcastle the Fellow will join a cohort of highly skilled research scientists, trained in an interdisciplinary environment and performing high quality research that helps the FSA to fulfil its mission. The fellowship will build on existing good working relationships with the FSA, cementing the partnership in the longer term. The joint fellowship with Newcastle University will generate novel insights into ways of combining datasets from sources including surveillance data, international data, exposure data, and data on the severity of detriment of foodborne illness in higher risk groups.

The Fellow will engage proactively with relevant teams in the FSA, and with research programme technical leads, to help identify and deliver opportunities for making better use of data to deliver the FSA’s risk analysis functions. The successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to engage closely with the microbiological risk assessment team and the foodborne disease research programme to exploit fully the potential for science-led decision-making. This will expose the fellow to a range of governmental departments, allowing them to expand their network across the sector of food safety, whilst allowing them to advance their academic career and building up a research base at one of the UK’s most respected Universities.

The FSA currently funds nine fellowships across the UK with other HEIs such as University College London and the Turing Institute, allowing the fellow to join this cohort, access the networks of these pre-existing fellows, and expand their experience beyond Newcastle and into other HEIs.

NUAcT Fellowship Scheme

The NUAcT Fellowship scheme provides opportunities for talented post-doctoral researchers to undertake a five-year fixed-term fellowship, with the expectation of an open-ended faculty appointment to follow. We are looking to appoint 100 fellows over five years.

Successful candidates will have a strong track record for their career stage, be excellent collaborators and have the potential and vision to develop into independent researchers who can become internationally recognised in their field. Each fellow will be well supported and resourced, to help them develop their research and careers. It is expected that Fellows will establish a distinctive profile in their discipline within five years, leading to an ongoing academic career at Newcastle University.

Once appointed, Fellows are allocated a line manager and will be supported to develop their bespoke research proposal and personal development plan. Fellows will also be allocated a mentor who is external to their line management who will support them with different aspects of their career. Fellows will have opportunities to work with colleagues in different disciplines across the University and beyond and will become part of a University-wide network of talented early career researchers.

NUPAcT and NUAcT Fellows will be role models for EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion), helping to make Newcastle University a dynamic, modern and inclusive place to work. EDI is one of the University’s core values. We are committed to academic excellence, equality of opportunity to succeed, valuing individual differences and the benefit this brings to the pursuit of academic excellence. We will continue to develop a fully inclusive University community which recruits and retains staff and students from all sectors of society, ensuring that they can be developed within a positive and supportive culture and encouraged to flourish and reach their potential.

The Offer

A competitive start-up package will be offered:

  • Five years’ salary (or five years’ FTE equivalent if working part time)
  • Initial fixed term appointment with progression to an open-ended contract subject to review
  • Research expenses (up to £50k, subject to research programme needs)
  • Funding for a 4-year PhD student associated with the research
  • Dedicated mentors with extensive research expertise and significant project management experience
  • The opportunity to join and participate in our world-class interdisciplinary research centres
  • Extensive training opportunities including a bespoke personal development plan
  • Peer support from a cross disciplinary cohort of talented early career researchers

The Post of: NUPAcT Fellow with the Food Standards Agency

We will appoint a Fellow with an outstanding research background, who has a broad knowledge of the food system and who is able to offer a compelling vision for its transformation through the development of innovative data systems, with food safety and consumer interests at its core. We seek someone who is innovative and visionary, capable of working collaboratively with colleagues and providing leadership and inspiration to those around them.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Deliver an independent, innovative research proposal, leading to high quality outputs, impact on government policy decision-making and successful applications for research funding;
  • Contribute to the wider FSA/SNES strategic partnership, including the creation and execution of externally funded research projects: some as lead investigator and some in collaboration with other colleagues;
  • Initiate and participate in interdisciplinary collaborations and collaborations with government researchers that enable cutting-edge research and science-led policymaking;
  • Support knowledge exchange through the development of high-quality publications, conference attendance, public engagement activities, and supporting new learning and development opportunities for FSA officials;
  • Work effectively with other FSA Fellows;
  • Develop a balanced profile of activities that includes research-led teaching and contributions to the working environment. Whilst the focus of this position is on carrying out independent research, aptitude and enthusiasm for teaching is expected;
  • Provide guidance and career support to other colleagues and students, including high quality supervision of PhD students, and students undertaking taught programmes;
  • Contribute to a positive and inclusive research environment, and actively support the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) agenda at Newcastle University and the FSA;
  • To support the careers of others, including providing high quality mentoring and supervision for other staff and students.


Progression to an open-ended contract will be subject to formal review in line with the following criteria:

  • Maintaining a trajectory to become an internationally recognised researcher, for example:
  • high quality publications or other substantive outputs appropriate to your field
  • the ability to secure external funding to grow your research
  • invitations to conferences and events outside Newcastle University
  • fostering external collaborations and partnerships
  • Contribution to the academic mission of the University, for example:
  • development of research-led teaching activities
  • supporting the running of key services
  • organisation of outreach events or strategic impact activities of the School of Engineering
  • Commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive research culture, for example:
  • mentoring and supervising students and more junior staff, and helping to develop the careers of others
  • leading or contributing to EDI initiatives

Person Specification

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • A clear vision and plan for developing an independent research programme including plans to attract external research funding.
  • A successful track record of developing and delivering research commensurate with career stage.
  • Understanding of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda and how the behaviours of individuals can contribute to a positive research culture.


  • Experience of collaborative working, for example, through working with different researchers or research groups, or with other partners beyond academia such as industry, policy makers or community partners.
  • Understanding how to maximise the impact of research, including through outreach, engagement, and partnership building activities.
  • Experience of delivering research-led teaching and supporting the careers of others, for example, through mentoring and supervision.

Attributes and Behaviours


  • Willingness to participate in collaborating teams and openness to work in an inter-disciplinary way.
  • Desire to contribute to a positive research culture aligned to the University’s four Guiding Principles and its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
  • Willingness to contribute to broader activities that fall within the typical remit of an academic member of staff such as membership of committees, involvment in working groups, EDI activity, outreach, etc.
  • Willingness to develop others, for example, through teaching, mentoring, and supervision.
  • Motivation to contribute to and benefit from the NUAcT cohort activities.



PhD (or equivalent) in a relevant area of research.

How to apply

Please click here to download the candidate briefing pack for full details on how to apply for this vacancy.

Further details on the NUAcT scheme can be found at

For informal enquires please contact:
Sarah O’Brien at Newcastle University sarah.o’ or Rick Mumford at FSA

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.

We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all. You can learn more about what is available here on ourBenefitsWebsite page.

Requisition ID: 13642

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