FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes

Development and validation of animal-based welfare indicators for a Precision-Livestock Farming approach to improving the welfare of small ruminants

PHD Opportunities

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Prof C Dwyer No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Although the welfare of small ruminants (sheep and goats) is often perceived to be good, in reality these species are vulnerable to welfare challenges and risks as with other farmed species. In extensively managed systems, which can provide behavioural freedoms, sheep and goats may be frequently unobserved, and exposed to the risks of variable food and water supply, threats from predation or other fear-eliciting stimuli and may experience untreated disease or injury. Often these animals are managed under conditions where daily human observation and individualised care is very challenging, and thus they are the ideal species to be managed using sensor and other PLF technologies to improve welfare.

This PhD studentship will work within a large, multi-partner, EU-funded project ‘TechCare’ to identify welfare risks for small ruminants and to determine the opportunities to manage and improve sheep and goat welfare through the use of PLF. We will use behaviour and other welfare indicators to assess and validate the utility of different PLF approaches to manage aspects of animal welfare, and work with the wider team to implement practical approaches to improve welfare management for this sector.

The studentship is an exciting opportunity to be involved in a large European project, taking a multi-actor and interdisciplinary approach to improving the welfare of farmed small ruminants. The ideal students would have a background in animal welfare, animal behaviour, animal science, veterinary medicine or agriculture, and an interest in the use of sensor technology or practical applications to improve animal welfare.

The successful student will work with the Animal Behaviour and Welfare research team at SRUC, and the Moredun Research Institute. They will be registered at University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, where they will also be part of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education.

We are seeking a motivated student, who is confident working with animals, and with people from different backgrounds, with some previous experience of research (such as completing an undergraduate student project). Students should have at least a BSc 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in a biological subject such as animal behaviour, animal welfare, animal science, agriculture, or veterinary medicine. A postgraduate MSc qualification would be desirable but is not essential. Interest in animal behaviour or welfare is essential, and a desire to make a practical difference to animal welfare on farm, through the use of novel approaches is important.

To apply for this studentship, please complete the application and equal opportunities monitoring forms available by clicking on the ’Institution website’ icon on the right.

Funding Notes

The student will be registered at a partner university and receive an annual student stipend of £15,285 at 2020/21 rate. This studentship will fund to pay the tuition fees at home fees rate only (UK or EEA students). International students must provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover the higher international student tuition fee level (approximately £19,093 per year would be required). This studentship will be based at The University of Edinburgh.


Candidates should provide details of two academic referees on the application form and provide a copy of their CV.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.