USDA-ARS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Food Composition Data

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

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A complete application consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted. All transcripts must be in English or include an official English translation. Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV, including academic history, employment history, relevant experiences, and publication list
  • Two educational or professional recommendations

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline
9/29/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

ARS Office/Lab and LocationA research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), within the Food for Health of People and the Environment Laboratory (FHPEL) at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Center (BHNRC) in Beltsville, Maryland. 

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research Project: The mission of FHPEL is to support and conduct multidisciplinary research that will address food composition, the impact of the environment and food production systems on nutrient/bioactive components in food, and the metabolic/physiologic responses of humans and animals to food and its components. FHPEL will provide leadership and promote international cooperation in the development of food/nutrient databases such as the USDA FoodData Central (FDC) and application of state-of-the-art methods to acquire, evaluate, compile and disseminate data on the nutrients and biologically active compounds in foods. FDC is an integrated database system with distinct data types that can be linked to multiple other databases.

The selected participant will be evaluating the use of FDC data among stakeholders, suggesting and implementing modifications to improve usability, and contributing to an educational/training program focused on the use of FDC in research and in policy among stakeholders on the interaction of agricultural factors, food and its components, and outcomes related to health of people and the environment. Further, the participant will also interact with the USDA researchers responsible for FDC and collaborators, such as the Simon Fraser University, to help map the USDA database to existing ontologies that will permit increased usability of the database and improve data mining for improving dietary assessment and understanding health outcomes. 

Learning ObjectivesThe selected participant will have the opportunity to learn the complexity of collecting and disseminating a variety of datasets on food composition from laboratory analysis data to manufacturer-provided label data. They will have an opportunity to develop speaking, writing, and networking skills highly relevant to food composition and food nutrition communication.

The participant will engage with a variety of stakeholders, both domestic and international, that represent dieticians, academics, and federal workers that use food composition data. They will have the opportunity to present their data and results at regional and national meetings involving researchers, regulatory officials, and stakeholders.

Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Kyle McKillop ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for two years, but may be extended upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant(s) will receive an annual stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within the past five years.

Preferred skills:

  • Registered Dietitian 
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 month(s).
  • Academic Level(s): Postdoctoral.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (2 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (6 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (6 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (3 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (7 )
    • Other Non-Science & Engineering (2 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (1 )

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