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Soc/Clin Research Assistant – Advanced-185727

Position Type Permanent Staff (SHRA)
Is this an internal only recruitment? No
Position Title Soc/Clin Research Assistant – Advanced
Working Title Research Assistant
Position Number 20037444
Vacancy ID P012155
Budgeted Hiring Range $45,042 – $58,006
Pay Band Information
Salary Grade Equivalent GN09
Full-time/Part-time Permanent/Time-Limited Full-Time Permanent
If time-limited, estimated duration of appointment
Hours per week 40
Work Schedule

Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm

Department Name and Number Carolina Population Center-631100
Date First Posted 11/24/2020
Closing Date 01/15/2021
Position Location Chapel Hill, NC
Position Posting Category Research Professionals
Department Description

The Carolina Population Center (CPC) is a community of scholars and professionals collaborating on interdisciplinary research and methods that advance understanding of population issues.

The Global Food Research Program (GFRP) located within the CPC and directed by renowned nutrition researcher Barry Popkin, PhD, focuses on research and evaluation of food and nutrition data as it relates to national and global trends in dietary intake across a variety of population groups. As the selected independent evaluation team, the GFRP’s current priority is a multi-year effort to evaluate the dietary impact of policies to prevent obesity and improve dietary intake in countries where such regulations may be implemented, including Chile, Mexico, South Africa and other countries around the world.

The overarching objective of this program is to develop the evidence base to inform which types of policies and programs have the greatest impact on improving dietary quality and preventing obesity, including fiscal measures (taxation), marketing controls to children, front-of-package labeling, and the removal of unhealthy foods and beverages from public institutions. Implications of this evaluation have the potential to influence food and beverage policy at the international level. With input from key scientific researchers serving as an evaluation advisory committee, GFRP will develop a high-quality assessment portfolio designed to assist global efforts aimed at improving dietary quality and preventing excess weight gain.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Position Description

As a member of the GFRP team, the Research Assistant (RA) will work on several dietary issues related to measuring the impact of policies and programs to prevent obesity. The GFRP program provides background research to policymakers to inform the development of food-related policies to improve diet and prevent obesity, as well as provides independent evaluation of the nutrition and health impact of these regulations. Our goal is to evaluate the Mexican, Chilean, South African and other global taxes and to understand how they change food purchase and dietary behavior. Our evaluation can monitor all potential pathways by which the beverage industry can respond and its impact on food purchases, beverage consumption and subsequent health. Implications of our work have the potential to influence food/beverage policy at the national level.

The major focus of this position will be supporting GFRP’s work related to beverage and food taxes, FOP labels and marketing regulations around the world and specifically in Spanish speaking countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and others). This RA will contribute to all aspects of the analysis of the regulations implemented in each country. As such, the RA must be able to interpret tax, FOP and marketing regulations and remain abreast of related changes in content, timelines and relevant nutrient profiles and thresholds along with understanding each country’s food code, such as Chile’s Reglamento Sanitario de Los Alimentos (RSA) which includes industry requirements and guidelines for packaged product content, NFP, health claims and FOP and most particularly a new law on FOPL in Mexico This person is expected to lead from the research assistant side our Mexican work.. The RA will collaborate closely with colleagues and will be responsible for reviewing and understanding commercial product data, product marketing data and dietary intake data each combined with nutrition fact panel data from various international sources. This information includes, but is not limited to, UPC product descriptions, nutrient information, ingredients, preparation instructions and front of package labels. The RA will also be responsible for data cleansing of nutrient information along with categorizing products into designated food groups based on ingredients and nutrient analysis.

This is primarily a research analytical role, but will also include the drafting and editing of manuscripts. A critical piece of GFRP’s research and evaluation is dissemination of research findings to policymakers and other stakeholders to inform development and refinement of food policies. As needed, this position will also be responsible for the design and development of policy briefs, fact sheets, web-based infographics, presentations and other materials required to disseminate these findings to a large audience, including policymakers and the general public.

This position requires a high-level understanding and application of complex research concepts from multiple disciplines, including nutrition epidemiology. For example, this individual must be able to compare, contrast and draw conclusions about a body of literature based on both substantive areas (dietary intake, dietary quality, obesity/diabetes, consumer psychology, media studies, food marketing and advertising) as well as methodological concerns (study design, effect size, statistical significance, etc). This position will also require a high level of understanding of nutritional components of food consumption, building complex nutrient databases and/or analyzing data from them.

Minimum Education and Experience Requirements

Bachelor’s degree; or equivalent combination of training and experience. All degrees must be received from appropriately accredited institutions.

Essential Skills, Knowledge and Abilities

Essential Skills:
– Proficient with MS Excel and Excel-formatted datasets as well as word processing software (MS Word).
– Experience working with food-composition databases.
– Ability to conduct internet searches and to identify valid sources of information related to the project.
– Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.
– Ability to work effectively with a team as well as independently (sometimes with little supervision).
– Prior nutrition-related research experience preferred (not limited to lab experience).

– Using thorough nutrition knowledge and training design and implement a system to categorize foods and beverages into nutritionally relevant groups.
– Using data on industry dales, analyze trends in the nutritional profile of foods and beverages over time in various Spanish-speaking countries.

Data/Information Collection:
– Identify, report, and correct data discrepancies found in analytical files.
– Maintain succinct documentation about your approach.

– Compile information from a variety of data sources to effectively evaluate the impact of taxes and regulations in various Spanish-speaking countries.
– Provide leadership on various project tasks and compile information to create reports for our research group and/or for external parties.

– Serve as a nutrition expert for our research group and maintain current knowledge of nutrition trends and research.
– Assist with the organization and writing of manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals and well as reports to funding agencies.
– Consult with faculty on the development of presentations for policymakers, scientific audiences and lay audiences to disseminate findings regarding food marketing, dietary quality and obesity.

Preferred Qualifications

Preferred Qualifications:
– Bachelor’s degree in nutrition, preferred.
– Fluency in Spanish.

Required Licenses/Certifications
Special Physical and Mental Requirements
Position/Schedule Requirements Evening work occasionally, Overtime occasionally
Position Attributes
Stimulus/ARRA Funded No
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Office of Human Resources Contact Information
Required Documents

  1. Curriculum Vitae / Resume
  2. Cover Letter

Optional Documents

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Please select the response below that best describes your experience/education for the Social/Clinical Research Assistant position.
    • Bachelor's, Master's, and/or Doctorate in any field.
    • Associate's in any field and at least 2 years of experience.
    • Combination of post-high school education and experience to equal at least 4 years of related experience (ex: 1 year towards a degree and 3 years of experience).
    • High School diploma/GED and at least 4 years of related experience.
    • Did not complete high school but have a combination of high school education and experience to equal 8 years. (ex. 3 years of high school and 5 years of experience).
    • None of the above