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Precision livestock technologies to improve welfare: needs and constraints of farmers and veterinary surgeons

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 03, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The studentship will be largely based within SRUC’s Animal and Veterinary Science Group at the Bush Estate near Edinburgh, Scotland, UK with the second year spent at Michigan State University in the USA.

Precision livestock farming (PLF) technologies aim to maximise productivity of individual animals through greater use of data or monitoring of animals. The rapid development of these approaches is occurring without adequate knowledge of how well the solutions offered match the issues that farmers perceive as priorities or their willingness-to-pay for them. This project fills these gaps using technologies developed to improve pig health and welfare as a case study. The project will also determine the views of the veterinary profession and consumers about these technologies. Specifically, it will review current technologies for automated detection of pig health and welfare, will quantify farmers’ and vets’ awareness and perceptions of these, and short-list those best aligned with their perceived need on-farm. It will then estimate costs of implementing the short-listed technologies and quantify gaps between cost-effectiveness of technologies and farmer and consumer willingness-to-pay for specific health and welfare improvements. The outcome will be an understanding of the alignment of farmer needs and veterinary knowledge with technology developments and the economic constraints within which new technologies must operate to ensure adoption.

Applicants should have or expect to obtain a minimum of an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant agricultural, biological, engineering or social science subject. Excellent numeracy and communication skills are required as well as an interest in animal health and welfare and understanding the barriers to management change on farms. The project will be supervised by teams at SRUC (Drs Simon Turner, Faical Akaichi and Jill Thomson) and Michigan State University (Drs Janice Seigford and Juan Pedro Steibel) as well as the University of Edinburgh (Dr Susan Jarvis). The studentship will be registered through the University of Edinburgh.

Funding Notes

This 3.5 year PhD is funded by SRUC and Michigan State University, and receive an annual student stipend of £14,777 (£15,009 in 2019/20). This studentship will fund to pay the tuition fees at home fees rate only. International students must provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover the higher international student tuition fee level (approximately £16,740 per year would be required). The expected start date is October 2019.

How good is research at SRUC - Scotland’s Rural College in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?
(joint submission with University of Edinburgh)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 57.37

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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