Vacancy for Chair of Healthy Diet, Healthy Life

Chair vacancy
The ‘Healthy Diet, Healthy Life’ (HDHL) initiative is looking for candidates for the position of Chair of the Management Board. HDHL is looking for an experienced and proactive Chair who has an intrinsic motivation to realise HDHL’s objectives in a collaborative effort, is familiar with national and international governance structures, is a strategic thinker and planner, has a strong network and is well-connected in the health, nutrition, and food landscape, and is willing to act as the figurehead of the initiative.

The role of HDHL

HDHL unites 17 member countries in and outside Europe who collaboratively work on promoting, aligning and funding research in the area of nutrition, food, health and lifestyle to help prevent or minimise lifestyle-related chronic diseases. These governmental organisations collaborate using a programmed approach, with trans-disciplinary expertise, and knowledge. Research supported by HDHL covers a wide range of topics, from the influence of (epi)genetic differences on disease susceptibility to the factors affecting healthy and sustainable food consumption behaviour. Through research funding and other activities, HDHL actively promotes knowledge implementation at various levels through joint actions and through the EC RTD framework programme (Horizon Europe). HDHL is a self-sustaining initiative and with its 14 years of experience in the health, nutrition and food landscape has also become an initiative that acts as a think tank to advise, provide input and shape the European research and policy landscape.

Governance and role of the Chair

HDHL is a member-driven initiative with all members represented in the Management Board. The Chair of HDHL is an independent person who represents and leads the Management Board and its meetings. The Management Board is supported in its activities by two other governing bodies: the Scientific Advisory Board and the Stakeholder Advisory Board. All Boards are supported by a dedicated secretariat that serves as a hub for all day-to-day activities.

The current Chair’s term is ending in June 2025, and therefore HDHL is looking for a new Chair. The Chair of HDHL is expected to:

  • Be a proactive ambassador of HDHL and represent HDHL at relevant international meetings and events. 
  • Be a figurehead and ambassador for bridging research and policy in health, nutrition, and food, promoting excellence and ambition.
  • Establish and foster strategic relations with the HDHL partners, European Commission, (Horizon Europe) partnerships, and other key stakeholders.
  • Be a proactive, strategic, big-picture thinker with excellent networking skills.
  • Lead three Management Board meetings per year with approximately 30 – 35 participants. Two of these are physical meetings (1,5 days per meeting) and there is one online meeting (one day). The Chair is supported by and works closely with the HDHL dynamic secretariat. 
  • Be part of the Steering Committee together with the Vice-chair and at least two members of the Management Board. 
  • Be proactively involved in management activities. This includes, but is not limited to, preparations for the Management Board meetings, strategic guidance, exploration of new collaboration opportunities, and promotion of co-creation to add value.
  • Remain neutral and independent during discussions in the meetings and in other activities. The Chair cannot participate in a voting of the Management Board.
  • Avoid any (appearance of a) conflict of interest, for example by being involved in applications to HDHL calls or being closely connected to applicants. 
  • Be an engaging leader who can stimulate HDHL’s Management Board, give and shape direction as well as moderate and lead discussions.

Personal profile

The HDHL initiative is seeking a new Chair who meets most of the following criteria:

  • Has experience and is strong in leadership.
  • Must be a strategic thinker.
  • Has experience of chairing groups, panels, and meetings and working within a governance framework.
  • Has a passion for nutrition and health research and policy.
  • Has strong knowledge of or involvement in interdisciplinary research in nutrition, health, food systems, or other relevant fields.
  • Has a large, relevant network and experience in working with diverse networks, stakeholder groups, professionals across a range of disciplines, policymakers, and the public.
  • Has experience of working internationally.
  • Has strong intercultural communication skills and finesse.
  • Is committed to a spirit of partnership and common purpose among diverse stakeholders who share some, but not all of their goals.
  • Has the ability to synthesise information and opinions from multiple sources and facilitate consensus on issues and actions. Both at Management Board meetings and in between, as needed.
  • Commits to the highest standards of integrity in professional life.
  • Preferably has thorough knowledge of and experience in working with the European Commission.

The time investment is estimated at an average of 2-4 hours per week, though this is not equally distributed throughout the year. For example, for the preparation and chairing of each Management Board meeting a time investment of 2-3 days is needed.

What HDHL can offer

  • A strategic position in Europe (and beyond) since HDHL has a strong position in the European Research landscape.
  • A key role in shaping the European health, food, and nutrition Research landscape and its impact on societal challenges.
  • An extensive network of funders, national ministries, EC representatives, researchers, and other stakeholders.
  • Visibility as figurehead of HDHL and its Management Board.
  • A dynamic and international working environment with a very enthusiastic team.
  • Reimbursement for travel and networking activities.


Interested candidates are invited to send a motivation letter and CV to before the 20th of September 2024. The Steering Committee will evaluate the applications  and schedule online interviews with selected candidates. The final decision on the election of the Chair lies with the Management Board, which is expected to be taken by October 22nd 2024. The Chair-elect will have a handover period of six months with the current HDHL Chair and will be expected to join the Management Board meeting in March 2025. The transfer of the chairpersonship will take place in consultation with the current and elected Chair.

Enquiries about the position can be directed at Jessie Doppler, HDHL Coordinator, via, or +31 70 3495382.


Jessie Doppler

Jessie Doppler

Coordinator HDHL Management Board
doppler [at]