IMMANA Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Postdoctoral Fellowships on Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA Fellowships) aim to create a cadre of emerging leaders in agriculture, nutrition, and health research.

This workstream of the IMMANA programme is led by the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. It consists of four annual rounds of six Fellowships each year.

The call for Round 3 applications is now open.  Concept notes should be submitted as soon as possible, and will be accepted on a rolling basis until 1 February 2017.

Applicants must submit a full proposal by 28 February 2017 and selected candidates will be notified no later than 1 May 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is funding the IMMANA Fellowships?

The Fellowships are part of the larger IMMANA programme, an initiative funded with UK aid from the UK government. The goal of the programme is to accelerate the development of a robust and coherent scientific evidence base which will support effective policy and investments in agriculture for improved nutrition and health. The Fellowships are a central component of the IMMANA programme, which has four inter-related objectives:
•    Stimulate development of innovative methodological approaches and novel metrics in agriculture and food systems for improved health and nutrition;
•    Build a cadre of early-career researchers skilled in developing and applying cutting-edge methods and metrics;
•    Facilitate learning, sharing and new interdisciplinary research collaborations;
•    Develop scientific evidence to inform policies and investments in agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health.

What kind of research can be supported by this Fellowship?

The programme’s goal is to advance innovative methods and metrics regarding the most cost-effective actions for sustainable, large-scale improvements in agriculture, nutrition and health. Most of the Fellowships awarded will focus on fieldwork in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, developing and applying new measurement techniques adapted to the analysis of specific interventions. Favourable consideration will be given to projects with linkages to other IMMANA activities, and for proposals addressing changing gender roles, climate change, and dietary transition, but the programme welcomes strong proposals for any kinds of research on the relationship between agriculture, nutrition and health in developing countries. Projects may address knowledge gaps involving crops, livestock, water or other natural resources affected by agriculture, and cover nutrients, pathogens and care practices affecting nutrition or any aspect of care, prevention and treatment affecting health outcomes. Projects may be on topics that are similar or different from other IMMANA research. Proposals should specify how they build on or complement previous work, with appropriate citations.

What kind of applicant can be supported by this Fellowship?

Eligible applicants will have completed a doctorate (PhD, DPhil, DPH, MD, DVM or similar terminal degree) in any field related to agriculture, nutrition and health within three years of the proposed Fellowship start date, and be seeking a career in research, education and engagement at the intersection of two or more of these fields. IMMANA strongly encourages applications from female candidates who are citizens of low- and middle-income countries. Selection will give preference to applicants who have research or faculty appointments in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but applicants may be of any nationality and have earned their doctorate anywhere.

What do you mean by “host” and “home” mentor?

IMMANA Fellowships are intended to help bridge institutional and disciplinary boundaries, by funding a year of research supported by at least two different mentors. The “home mentor” represents one of the applicant’s previous employers or educational institutions, and the “host mentor” represents the institution where the applicant proposes to conduct their Fellowship-supported research. At least one of the two mentors must be located in Africa or Asia.

What combinations of host and home mentors are likely to be successful?

We anticipate that host mentors will be project directors or programme officers in implementing agencies, senior faculty members or leaders of agriculture, nutrition and health institutions in a position to guide the Fellow’s work on a week-to-week basis during the year. We expect home mentors to be the candidate’s doctoral thesis advisor, employer or a senior researcher or administrator in an institution associated with the candidate before and/or after the Fellowship year. In many cases, we anticipate that the candidate will go on leave from their current employer for the Fellowship year, and return to continue working with their home mentor. We are particularly interested in applicants who are junior faculty members at African and South Asian universities, and who might use the Fellowship for a year of professional development elsewhere, if necessary in the US, UK or other high-income country, as well as candidates from high-income countries doing fieldwork in Africa and South Asia.

What is the level of honoraria provided to mentors?

Each host and home mentor will receive a £1,750 honorarium for the support they provide to the Fellow. We expect that each mentor will spend 40-50 hours over the course of the year supporting the Fellows on research and career development. Honoraria will be paid in two instalments, on submission of a mid-term mentorship report and an end-of-year evaluation detailing the mentor’s contribution to the Fellowship project. The payments are contingent on successful fulfilment of the mentor’s responsibilities as detailed in the Fellow’s own quarterly progress reports, as well as submission of the mentor’s own mid-term and final Fellowship project reports which will be made public on the IMMANA website.

What is the salary, travel, and fieldwork allowance provided to the Fellows?

Fellows will be provided with a stipend of £34,000 (approximately $52,000) for the 12-month period, plus a research allowance of £7,500 to cover local travel and other research expenses (such as translation, hardware, software supplies, etc.), as well as participation in IMMANA Academy conferences, trainings and workshops. All payments will be made in as lump sums against completion of program milestones. Fellows are then responsible for arranging and paying all of their travel and other expenses during the project period.

What arrangements are made for Fellows’ health insurance, taxes and other expenses?

IMMANA Fellowships are implemented as fixed-fee payments. Fellows are responsible for arranging and paying for all of their own personal and work-related taxes, insurances, or other fees needed during the Fellowship year.

What arrangements are made for Fellows’ visas and work permits?

The Fellow and their host institution(s) will be responsible for all visa applications and associated fees required to complete their proposed workplan. The IMMANA programme and Tufts University cannot sponsor visas or provide support other than proof of funding as specified in the Fellowship contracts.

Can Fellows maintain other affiliations and activities during their project year?

IMMANA Fellowships are intended to provide full-time employment during the project year. Fellows may have other affiliations and activities, and may be on leave from other employment, such as a university faculty appointment. Questions regarding potential conflicts of interest and commitment will be resolved on a case-by-case basis and should be addressed to sends e-mail).

Who is responsible for ethical oversight and reviews?

IMMANA Fellowship projects are typically overseen by the host mentor, and should be approved by their cognizant ethical review board. The research projects of IMMANA Fellows must adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct. Projects that involve individual human subjects must be given prior approval or exemption for their specific research protocol from the cognizant Institutional Review Board (IRB) or similar authorities. These approvals or exemptions will typically be obtained through the host or home mentor, in accordance with the project’s institutional context and legal jurisdiction where the research is conducted, and may involve ethical reviews from more than one institution or legal authority. Projects that do not involve individual human subjects, such as research based on aggregate statistics, would typically request a determination from the cognizant IRB that their work is not subject to further ethical review. In rare cases where an IMMANA Fellowship project is being conducted in a setting that has no mechanism for independent ethical review, reviews may be requested through Tufts University.

Fellowship proposals should specify what ethical review process will be followed, and Fellows’ quarterly reports must document their project’s ethical review and approval, exemption or determination by the cognizant IRB or similar authorities. In addition to ethical review for specific projects, Fellows are encouraged to obtain international certification of their own skills in the responsible conduct of research. Such certification is available for Fellows through Tufts University’s participation in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program), whose Certificates of Completion are valid for four years and may be required prior to submitting future grant proposals or obtaining IRB approvals and exemptions. Instructions for obtaining CITI certification are detailed here.

What are other benefits of being an IMMANA Fellow?

Fellows will be part of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy, giving them access to a community of researchers and institutions from various disciplines working together to develop methods and metrics for the design and evaluation of agriculture programs for improved nutrition and health. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in working groups and trainings offered by the Academy, as well as attend annual global conferences, meetings, and trainings including peer review to improve publication quality and research impact.
Fellows will be affiliated with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), gaining access to the expertise of scientists from various disciplines.
Fellows will have access to Tufts University’s facilities and resources available to faculty and staff, including electronic access to the Tufts’ library’s collection of 19,000 journals and other online materials.

What are the reporting requirements for Fellows and mentors?

Each Fellow will be required to submit brief quarterly progress reports and a detailed final report, as specified in the award agreement. Each Mentor will be required to submit a mid-term mentorship report and an end-of-year evaluation detailing the mentor’s contribution to the Fellowship project. The final reports from each Fellow and their two mentors will be shared with the ANH Academy and published on the IMMANA website. The project is expected to lead to peer-reviewed publications in international academic journals.

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