Director of Human Perception of Food

Ref: 5344

Agricultural Genomics Institute Shenzhen


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Role Managed by:

Gary Tang

Research Associate

t: +852 39559675


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: commensurate with experience

Closing Date: 31/12/2021

The Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen (AGIS) invites applications for the founding Director of the Research Theme in Human Perception of Food. This research theme seeks to understand the sensory attributes of food as drivers of food consumption preferences. These attributes can include appearance, texture, aroma, taste, and irritation, and are perceived through the visual, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, and chemesthetic senses respectively. The research groups assembled for this theme, as part of the new Shenzhen International Food Science Center at AGIS, will investigate the relationship between food attributes and corresponding human senses, and why individuals perceive differently. The Food Science Center will contribute to developing innovative solutions in food science and technology, aiming to become a world-leading research hub promoting international collaboration, talent building, technical training, and translational incubation. After reaching its planned full size, each research theme will be pursued by 20 research groups, with each group led by a principal investigator supervising assistants, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. AGIS provides four platforms to support these research endeavors: the International Food Valley Alliance (industry incubation platform), the Food Safety Reference Laboratory (laboratory testing platform), the International Food Policy Think Tank (expert consultancy platform), and the Integrated Data Management System (omics data management platform). The Food Science Center is committed to gender equity in recruitment, and the working language will be English.

Position Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Director General of AGIS, the Director of the Research Theme in Human Perception of Food will play a critical role in establishing and leading this research thematic area, with support from the administrative sections of AGIS.

The Director will have the following responsibilities:

  • Providing a vision for developing a pioneering international research program comprising state-of-the-art biological discovery enabled by the latest technological developments.
  • Guiding research achievements through to practice, through patent applications or direct interactions with food-related companies and/or public institutions.
  • Creating and nurturing a supportive environment within which junior researchers, students, and staff can flourish.
  • Engaging in external representation of the research theme’s work with industry, government, and research partners.

The Director will carry out their own research within the given Research Theme, with a generous startup package provided for that purpose; the Director will receive CNY ¥1.8 million in research funding annually for five years, along with 100 m2 of laboratory space and an office. Over a five-year period, they will each be responsible for the recruitment of 7 PIs and 3 pre-PIs who will each set up their own research laboratories with funding support from the Institute. The Director will have opportunities to establish research collaborations with national and international institutes and companies, and to secure regional, national, and international funds to promote collaborative projects. In particular, there will be opportunities to work with corporate entities, located in the newly established Shenzhen International Food Valley, as well as medical and governmental services. Like other researchers at AGIS, the Theme Director will have opportunities to participate in startup companies at the Institute and will be encouraged to initiate their own ventures, with a suite of institutional supports.

Position Qualifications

  • PhD, MD, or equivalent degree in a relevant field
  • At least ten years of relevant post-degree work experience
  • The current rank of tenured Full Professor or equivalent in an internationally renowned university or research institute, or a similar level of research leadership experience in an industry setting
  • An outstanding record of research discovery in terms of scientific publications, success in securing grant funding, and training of graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and junior faculty. Expectations for research achievements are equivalent to the PRC National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars.
  • Clear evidence of leadership potential and demonstrated capacity for teamwork, program development, and stability in a multicultural environment.

About AGIS and the Shenzhen International Food Science Center

AGIS is a government-supported scientific research organization under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and is currently the research site for approximately 700 people including students. AGIS is positioned as a fundamental, frontier application and platform-based research institute focusing on food safety, biological safety, and related key objectives for national economic development and quality of life. In the short time since the founding of AGIS in 2014, the pioneering genomics-based research by investigators in its existing five research centers has already propelled the Institute to a leading global position in the agricultural sciences. Its new Food Science Center promises to offer an unparalleled environment for comparably ground-breaking research advances in Foodomics, Human Perception of Food, and Gut Metagenomics and Human Health.

The Shenzhen International Food Science Center is the sixth research center at AGIS, and is planned to become the largest, eventually comprising over 60 principal investigators. In contrast to the prevailing farm-to-table model, the Center pursues a table-to-farm model, starting from an understanding of consumers’ health concerns regarding food safety, eating quality, authenticity, nutritional value and disease prevention. This understanding will then guide new advancements in food science and agriculture. The challenges emerging from this approach will be tackled by upgrading precision manufacturing technologies, designing nutrition-balanced diets, and personalizing food-health interventions.

Remuneration, Benefits and Support

The successful candidate will be offered a position as Director of the respective Research Theme; this is a tenured researcher position able to accept and advise candidates for AGIS master’s and doctoral degrees as well as postdoctoral researchers. The role provides a highly competitive salary (including insurance and other benefits) commensurate with the candidate’s experience and expected future performance, as well as a substantial housing subsidy from the Shenzhen Overseas High-Caliber Talent program. Appointees are encouraged and fully supported to apply for other talent programs and subsidies available from national Ministries and Commissions, Guangdong Province, Shenzhen Municipality, and Dapeng New District, among others. A wide and growing selection of quality international schooling options is available in Dapeng New District as well as Shenzhen as a whole.

How to Apply

Applications should include the following:

  • a cover letter
  • an up-to-date CV
  • any other relevant supporting documents

Completed applications should be uploaded via this page.

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