PhD on Cat Welfare at Queen’s University Belfast




The School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast invites applications for a fully funded PhD entitled ‘Understanding the evolutionary mechanisms underlying infant features in cats and their implications for animal welfare’.

Project information

Infant features are physical traits that are characteristic of human infants and include facial features such as a large forehead, large and low-lying eyes, and a small nose and mouth. Animals possessing high levels of infant features are perceived as ‘cute’ and elicit care-giving responses in humans. The overall aim of this project is to assess the impact of possessing high versus low levels of infant features on cat welfare.  The relationship between infant features in cats and cat temperament, health and the strength of the pet-owner bond will be explored. In addition, the role that infant features play the adoptability of shelter cats will be evaluated.

Applicants must have at least a 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or a related subject such as Zoology or Animal Science. A Masters level qualification in an area such as Evolutionary Psychology or Animal Behaviour and Welfare is desirable.

This 3 year PhD is funded by the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy (DfE). See for funding details and eligibility criteria.

The deadline for applications for this opportunity is Monday 25th March 2019, see How to Apply:

For informal enquiries, contact Dr Grace Carroll at

PhD studentship in animal welfare: Refining weaning age in macaques destined for neuroscience research

For more info visit:

Value of award

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,119. Significant additional funding to cover research costs, visits to Newcastle and local, national and international travel (e.g. conferences).

Start date and duration

September 2019 for a three-year PhD.


Newcastle University and the Centre for Macaques (CFM) are looking for a PhD student for an NC3Rs funded project studying the impacts of different weaning ages in laboratory primates (rhesus and cynomologus macaques). You will use a comprehensive range of behavioural and health measures to assess the impact of weaning at different ages on the immediate welfare of macaques at CFM and their likely future welfare in neuroscience laboratories. These will include measures of temperament, general health and immune function.

You will be based at CFM near Salisbury in Wiltshire for the duration of the PhD with regular visits to Newcastle for training.


National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs)

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor Melissa Bateson, Institute of Neuroscience and Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

Dr Claire Witham, Institute of Neuroscience and MRC Centre for Macaques, Salisbury, UK

Eligibility Criteria

You must have at least a 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant field (e.g. psychology, biology, biomedical sciences, veterinary sciences). Previous research experience is required and a masters degree is desirable. Proficiency in oral and written English is mandatory.

The candidate should be willing to work with laboratory primates and to be based at Salisbury in Wiltshire. Due to the location of the Centre for Macaques the student will be required to get government security clearance to work on site.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account. To do this please select ‘How to Apply’ and choose the ‘Apply now’ button.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • click on programme of study
  • insert Programme code 8430F* in the programme code section and click search
  • select Programme name ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences (full time) – Neuroscience’
  • insert IN108 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code IN108 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • attach degree transcripts* and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualification.

*You will not be able to submit your application until you have submitted your degree transcript/s.


For further information, please contact:

Claire Witham (
Melissa Bateson (

RSPCA Head of Clinical Behaviour Position

The RSPCA has an exciting opportunity for a qualified and experienced person to develop and lead their behaviour team, to ensure they are meeting the needs of the animals in their care.

Responsibilities to include:

  • Developing and delivering an effective and integrated behaviour and welfare strategy, ensuring processes and procedures are up to date and evidence based
  • Recruiting and managing a team of Regional Clinical Animal Behaviourists
  • Working alongside the Field Operations team to embed processes and protocols in Animal Centres and other establishments
  • Providing advice and support to RSPCA staff on behavioural rehabilitation and welfare
  • Carrying out assessments of more complex cases and developing appropriate plans for their management
  • Developing and delivering training to a range of RSPCA staff and volunteers
  • Leading on initiatives and activities which relate to dog behaviour and welfare

Skills and experience include:

  • Postgraduate qualification in companion animal behaviour and welfare or other relevant subject
  • ABTC Clinical Animal Behaviourist
  • Extensive experience of working in the field of dog behaviour rehabilitation and welfare
  • Treatment of dogs with a range of problem behaviours
  • Experience of working within a team of animal care workers and professionals
  • Line management experience and experience of working in teams

For more information, please visit:

PhD on Behavioural, physiological and production effects of dairy cow-calf rearing systems

Harper Adams have a PhD position available on behavioural, physiological and production effects of dairy cow-calf rearing systems.

Background to the project:

Naturally, following parturition the calf would remain with the cow, nursing for many months and forming strong bonds with its mother and other cows and calves within the herd. In contrast, the dairy-bred calf may be removed from its dam within a few hours of birth and placed in individual or group housing and fed colostrum and milk artificially until weaning, whilst the cow re-enters the milking herd. Public concern about separating the cow and calk soon after birth is increasing. Therefore, more research is required to investigate possible cow-calf rearing systems which are attractive for farmers, the public and animals. The research will focus on the effects of rearing the cow and calf together to meet the needs of both the cow and the calf and provide an opportunity for them to experience a much closer and more natural relationship.

Aims and objectives:

The aim of this project is to explore cow-calf rearing systems to improve welfare on diary farms. The objectives are to determine whether there are any behavioural, physiological or production differences between different rearing systems and to investigate optimal strategies of separating the calf and the cow.

Closing date for applications is 7th March 2019.

Further information is available here.

Scientific researcher position – ethology, social behaviour of pigs and welfare

A permanent position is available at the PEGASE (Physiology, Environment and Genetics for the Animal and Livestock Systems) research unit in the vicinity of Rennes, for an ethologist working on pig social behaviour .

The successful candidate will study inter-individual relationships in young reared pigs and will determine the underlying cognitive and emotional bases. They will explore the inter-individual variability and will search for the existence of typical profiles in the pig’s capacity to establish links with their fellows. The causes of this inter-individual variability must be studied, in particular the influence of early experiences, epigenetics and genetics. In the long term they will explore the possibility of improving the adaption of the animals to their rearing conditions using the mechanisms of emotional and behavioural contagion in the herd, imitation or social learning. In the course of their work they will identify the key factors that promote animal welfare.

Further information is available here.


AWRN-Funded Outreach Workshop on “The Emotional Cost of Caring”



“The Emotional Cost of Caring” – Managing emotional burden when working with laboratory animals: role of communicating and assessing the impact of animal welfare on the resilience of co-workers.

Organised by QMUL and The Learning Curve (Development) Ltd.


Key Information

Date: Friday 10th May 2019.

Time: 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Location: Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, E1 2EF.

Cost: Free but registration required.

Registration can be found here.


Further details

Inevitably, individuals who work with animals in the context of biomedical research will sometimes form bonds with the animals with whom they interact. Although human-research animal relationships may enhance the well-being and welfare of laboratory animals, they involve a moral cost to staff. Institutions should acknowledge the existence of these bonds and provide support mechanisms to help laboratory personnel deal with the emotional challenges of their profession.

This one day workshop focuses on working practices and challenges faced by laboratory animal care professionals and researchers. It will provide a forum to assist with building emotional resilience whilst being proud ambassadors for the care and welfare of the animals they are taken care of. Invited speakers include those with an interest in the human-animal bond and will discuss how those closely working with animals can utilize psychological techniques to effectively manage emotion. This workshop also aims to improve delegates’ self-confidence at communicating any concerns about harm: benefit analysis for animals used in research and encourage greater openness, particularly across technical staff and researchers.

Invited speakers include those researching the emotions and challenges of animal technicians within this field from the Universities of Oxford and Cardiff. Experts on the roles of communication from the medical professional field who have assisted in developing mental health programmes and understand the possible benefits of psychological counselling with experience in Mindfulness will be also speaking in the meeting.

The workshop, with presentations from experts and questions/discussion forum, provides a  platform for those working with animals to comment openly about animal welfare, how it impacts them emotionally and will provide an insight into observations commonly experienced. There is a growing interest for this topic, particularly as institutions are being asked to be more proactive on the care and welfare of their animals used for research purposes. Promoting care and welfare requires great communication skills and it is utmost important to provide the staff with appropriate platform to balance their emotions and commitments when working with animal used for experimental purposes.

The lectures have been designed to ensure that they are suitable for students, technicians, veterinarians, researchers, regulators, teachers, trainees, academics and everyone interested in laboratory animal science and welfare. We hope that attendance at this workshop will make a positive

difference to you, whether that’s helping manage your own mental health and well-being or supporting animal welfare.

There will be an opportunity to network with attendees and speakers during the coffee and lunch breaks. Please note that registration is free but required. Deadline is 12/04/2019 and places are being allocated on a first come basis and may need to be limited to a maximum of 2 places per institute.

For further information please contact: or

The full agenda and further information about the location can be found here: PROGRAM EMOTIONAL COST OF CARING 2019-1wud8uf.


Website currently out of service





AWRN Website

The website for the Animal Welfare Research Network ( is currently unavailable.

Unfortunately the website was breached by a malicious attacker in mid-January and has been taken offline whilst we make assurances of the current and ongoing security of the service. During this period it is not possible for us to process membership applications, but do please get in touch <> or follow us on Twitter @AnimalWelfareRN  if you wish to be informed when the website is available again or if you have any further questions about the AWRN.

Best wishes from Poppy Statham (Network Manager)