Job Opportunities

Hoffmann Fellow - Food Systems and Data


Department: Research
Location: Europe Campus
Status: Non Manager
Contract: Temporary - Full Time
Contact: Dan IANCU

Posted on: 22 April 2021

Job Description

Hoffmann Fellow - Food Systems and Data (two-year fixed-term programme)


The position

The World Economic Forum and INSEAD seek a Hoffmann Fellow for a two-year joint appointment for work at the intersection of society, science, and technology. The Hoffmann Fellow will be jointly appointed between the World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation committed to improving the state of the world, and INSEAD (Europe campus, France), an organization dedicated to researching and developing international leaders that see business as a source for good. The Hoffmann Fellow will work with Professor Dan Andrei Iancu, Visiting Professor of Technology and Operations Management at INSEAD, and Lisa Sweet, Head of Future of Protein, COVID-Response and Food Health at the World Economic Forum.  

With joint guidance from the World Economic Forum project director and the faculty supervisor, the Hoffmann Fellow will help build and drive intensive collaborations to deliver research and action-oriented recommendations on how to best leverage data analytics and technology to accelerate incentives for net-zero, nature-positive food systems. During the next few decades, the world will be confronted with an unprecedented confluence of challenges related to access to food, nutrition, and the sustainability of agriculture and land use practices. To address these will require significant innovations and paradigm shifts, from relying on new forms of agricultural practice to increasing the traceability and transparency of food supply networks, understanding and re‐designing their spatial and temporal structure, and coming up with incentives for the relevant actors so as to deliver the best possible trade‐offs in terms of economic, social and natural capital. Technology combined with “Big Data” Analytics and Artificial Intelligence offer a lot of promise in this context, but significant research is needed to fill many of the remaining gaps, from gathering the right data, to building robust and transparent models that quantify the key interactions and measure impact on all metrics of interest and to all relevant stakeholders, to designing and testing optimal interventions and coming up with practical policy and operational recommendations.


André Hoffmann Fellowship Programme

This Fellowship programme is unique in that it offers an opportunity for a mix of research and applied policy work leveraging the World Economic Forum’s global network and INSEAD’s history of rigorous leadership and international expertise. Over the course of the two-year term, the Hoffmann Fellow will help build and drive intensive collaborations among Forum and INSEAD partners. This will include leaders from the private sector, governments, international organizations, and civil society, and integration with research activities at INSEAD. The Forum and INSEAD are committed to providing each Hoffmann Fellow with appropriate training and mentorship, including participation in select Forum events, and access to workshops, trainings and the wider community of Fellows.


Preferred qualifications and experience

  • Advanced degree earned in the last five years (preferably a PhD or equivalent degree in a discipline with a strong focus on data analytics, operations management, economics or environmental science).
  • In addition to subject matter expertise in their field, Hoffmann Fellows must have experience or demonstrated strong interest in working on the nexus of technology and policy issues. 
  • Experience working in an international environment is a strong plus together with expertise in food systems.
  • Excellent academic track record, knowledge of diverse research methodologies, a sound understanding of research, and a good work ethic are required.
  • The ideal candidate would also possess a strong technical background, with demonstrated expertise in handling data and knowledge in at least some of the following disciplines: econometrics, statistics, machine learning/AI, mathematical optimization, operations research.
  • They will also have excellent interpersonal skills; are self-starters with the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team; and can manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to travel and work in-person at INSEAD or World Economic Forum offices (e.g., Geneva, San Francisco, etc.) and/or work remotely depending on the global health situation. That is, in a non-pandemic environment, the goal would be that the Hoffmann Fellow splits time between INSEAD and World Economic Forum offices. The Fellowship would likely begin as a remote/virtual position.
  • Experience working in an international and/or multicultural environment.
  • Fluency in English is required; any additional language would be an asset.
  • Experience of working in an international environment is a strong plus.
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills, with an ability and active willingness to collaboration and jointly shape initiatives
  • Demonstrated research and project management experience.
  • Fluency in English; any additional language would be an asset.


Key opportunities and responsibilities

With joint guidance from Lisa Sweet, Head of Future of Protein, COVID-Response and Food Health at the World Economic Forum and the supervision of Dan Andrei Iancu, Visiting Professor of Technology and Operations Management at INSEAD, the Hoffmann Fellow will help build and drive intensive collaborations among Forum, INSEAD and all involved stakeholders to deliver specific action-oriented outcomes through:


Advancing two key research opportunities, focused on leveraging data and technology for (1) smallholder farmer transition to net-zero, nature-positive practices, and (2) optimizing sustainable and nutritious crop and protein diversification opportunities.

Tasks will be co-determined by the Forum and INSEAD team leads, and may include:

  • Reviewing and synthesizing relevant technologies, research and literature review to identify potential solutions, understand their strengths and shortcomings, and evaluate what is coming on the horizon.
  • Mapping key stakeholders and engaging them together with experts and Forum partners to help shape the work and findings.
  • Identifying and building relationships to gain access to data. 
  • Designing research questions and approach.
  • Developing quantitative models that leverage tools from econometrics, operations research, AI/machine learning, etc. to analyze existing data and quantify the impact of technological and policy interventions on key stakeholders and metrics of interest.
  • Developing interview protocols and conducting primary research/interviews, where needed; coding and analysis of interviews. 
  • Organizing or helping to organize conferences and workshops on topics relevant to the project and research questions.
  • Writing blogs, preparing presentations, attending conferences and other public-facing events in order to present research findings.


Team Engagement

Throughout the project term, the Fellow will be an active member of the Food Systems Initiative team and the INSEAD TOM group, and will serve as the primary liaison between these; the Fellow is expected to join team meetings and strategy sessions; participate in virtual convenings, consultations and/or events with stakeholders, and participate in other gatherings, as defined by the needs of the team and the project.


Start date: TBD, as early as Spring/Summer 2021

Location: The position will be initially virtual, with the opportunity to be co-located between the World Economic Forum Geneva headquarters and INSEAD Campus in Fontainebleau, France, depending on the COVID-19 pandemic evolution and any pending travel restrictions.


To apply

  • Please submit a letter that outlines your specific interest in the topic, highlights prior research that showcases the methodological skills and/or expertise with the literatures required for the project, and provide any additional details that you feel make you a good fit - or an optimal “misfit” - for the project.
  • A detailed CV with contacts details of two potential references.
  • One writing sample (empirical research paper preferred) and your academic grade transcript.


Send you complete application to: [email protected]

Please mention the specific HR Reference Code "INSEAD HOFFMANN FELLOW (TOM AREA)” in your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis from March. We shall review applications as they arrive and until the position is filled. Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we shall only contact shortlisted candidates. Please further note that only duly completed applications will be considered. You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your application.


About the World Economic Forum and Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network

The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) Network brings together policy leaders and strategists of international, national and sub-national bodies with technology pioneers, business leaders, academic experts from leading universities, and civil society representatives to study emerging technologies, address the resulting transformations and test protocols and policies that could harness and accelerate the benefits of these technologies while minimizing their potential disruptive impacts. This multi-stakeholder hub provides policy leaders with the unique opportunity to anticipate and shape the trajectory of emerging technologies.

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the international organization for public-private cooperation. It engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The Forum believes that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life that have the drive and the influence to make positive change happen. That begins with the Forum’s own people representing the character, values and spirit of the Forum mission.


About the André Hoffmann Fellowship

The André Hoffmann Fellowship for the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers early-career academics the opportunity to work at the intersection of society, science and technology through a joint appointment between the World Economic Forum and leading academic institutions. This two-year Hoffmann Fellowship term is co-hosted evenly between INSEAD and the World Economic Forum.



INSEAD brings together people, cultures, and ideas worldwide to educate leaders who transform business and society.  As a mission-driven school, INSEAD focuses on three values: open, rigorous, and entrepreneurial. Founded on a commitment to innovation in management education, INSEAD was the first international business school, introduced the first one-year MBA, pioneered company-specific executive education, and has developed a unique fully integrated multi-continent campus structure.

Protection of Personal Data

The personal data (CV, motivation letter, etc.) you communicate to INSEAD will be registered and stored in our database. They will be treated as confidential information and we will not communicate them to third parties under any condition. We will keep your personal data for a period of 1 year in order to be reviewed in case a new opportunity arises within INSEAD. Your data will be deleted after this period. 

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