Research Fellow at MAD

Hospitality, Environment, Leadership, Business


Applications for this position are now closed.

The MAD Research Fellowship is a new position for an exceptional researcher, scholar, or faculty member working on developing new approaches or practical tools to make positive change in hospitality or in food systems.

MAD is the Danish word for “food”, and the name of our non-profit organization. Founded by René Redzepi, Chef and Owner of restaurant noma, MAD has become the heart of a global restaurant community: we’re providing education and inspiration, so members of the industry can lead on and off the plate—and become forces for change not just within their trade, but across global food systems. Since the very beginning, MAD has asked important questions about how the restaurant community can contribute to the health of the planet; and how to positively contribute to the lives of people working in food. Today, we are embarking our most ambitious project yet—creating an Academy that aims to support the food and hospitality industry.


The Position
The Fellow proposes and develops a research topic or program to support the MAD Academy’s curriculum in either environment, business, or leadership. This is a role for someone who wants to support the hospitality industry with tools and knowledge for making positive change.

The best projects will support the Academy’s content development by developing tools, reports, or literature reviews on issues pertinent to the hospitality community and ways they can act to make a difference in their restaurants and the world’s food systems.

While the Academy is in development phase, the fellow will sit in Copenhagen with the MAD team. The fellow must be able to frame valuable research questions, conduct quality research and analysis independently, and provide practical insight for their application.

The 2020 fellow will be the first person in this role and will provide important feedback to shaping future fellowships. This is a paid position and is a six-month, full-time commitment to the role. The fellow becomes a member of the MAD team, attends MAD programs, and may be asked to present their work. The role begins in summer 2020, exact start date to be discussed with the selected candidate.



  • Completed Master’s degree required, PhD or equivalent work experience preferred. Candidates currently enrolled in a Master’s program will be considered.
  • 5+ years of experience in sustainability, hospitality, business, leadership, anthropology, or a related field, as most pertinent to the proposed research project.
  • Strong research, analysis, and writing skills. Demonstrated ability to conduct research and produce scholarly work.
  • Experience with preparing clear, compelling, and high-quality reports and presentations.
  • Project management skills, capable of meeting deadlines.
  • Fluency in English. MAD’s publications, research, and day-to-day work are conducted in English.
  • Interest in and ability to work independently, yet in collaboration with a team.
  • The ideal candidate will be insightful, curious, and ready to tackle new challenges; and have an ability to translate abstract concepts and theories to practice as regards restaurants, food systems, and the hospitality world at large


To Apply
Send a resume, project proposal, and two recent writing samples (see below for details). Please include a cover letter in the body of the email that notes your salary requirements. We will also consider letters of support from supervisors or institutions, if applicable.

Please submit your complete application, as a single PDF, to Anna Küfner ( by March 24. For the subject line please write “Research Fellow” followed by your proposed topic subject (e.g. Research Fellow–Environment). We will select a candidate by May 15.


Sample Topic Areas
We are accepting proposals on any topic. The areas below are starting points, and other interesting topics will be considered based on their merit and relevance. It is most important that the program ultimately be highly relevant to the hospitality field and the Academy’s curriculum and is presented in a way that is relevant and useful to the field.

  • Environment & Sustainability: What are the most useful knowledge and tools the hospitality community needs to make better and more responsible choices? What are the most compelling ways to articulate the role of the hospitality industry in the food system? What is the biggest contribution the hospitality community can make to environmental well-being?
  • Leadership: What models of leadership can be used in working in or running a restaurant? What skills are necessary requirements at different points of a young chef or server’s development? What can increase diversity and women’s leadership in the field?
  • Business: What does a successful restaurant business look like? What are a variety of models for creating a financially successful restaurant? How might an owner value investors and understand their role?
  • Restaurant Ethnography: a six-month ethnographic study of kitchens around the world with a case-study format. The fellow will have exceptional ethnographic and analytic abilities, a willingness to travel, and a high level of comfort in complex situations.
  • Free choice: propose a project outside of these topic areas, but highly relevant to the goals of MAD. Unconventional thinking about how to fix the hospitality industry, and our world, is valued.


Project Proposal
A project proposal, of no more than 500 words, that outlines the research question, plan, and proposed deliverable. It is essential the project is relevant to the hospitality community or food systems and that the deliverable be relevant and useful to the Academy and the field. You may also give an alternate topic(s), if you have more than one germane idea. If you choose to do so, please provide no more than two alternate topics.


Writing Samples
In addition to a project proposal, applicants should submit two writing samples, including:

  • A 500 word an argumentative essay or op-ed on a subject of your choice that demonstrates an ability to make a focused argument in a clear, convincing, and accessible way. This writing sample is evaluated for evidence of critical thinking and general writing skills and the ability communicate relevant arguments.
  • A research paper of up to 10 pages or presentation. This does not need to have been published but should demonstrate an ability to research and analyze a subject in more depth. It is recommended, but not required, that the topic of the research paper or presentation be relevant to MAD’s work.



Feeling inspired by the global cooking community? MAD’s ambitious goals are made possible by the generosity of people like you. If you value what we do, please join us with a donation so we can keep driving change in the food world.



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