Mapping the R0 of Bovine Tuberculosis in cattle within England and Wales: is there potential for future eradication, under the currently implemented test and control strategies?

This study was shortlisted for the 2023 Thesis of the Year Award and completed as part of Caitlin Duggan's BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Bioscience, which she studied at Aberystwyth University.

Take home message: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) cases are predicted to decrease in cattle across England and Wales with an R0 of less than 1 shown in this study. Farmers in high bTB risk areas should consider the number of cattle they house in their holdings.  A higher cattle density was linked to more bTB cases therefore providing a potential solution to reduce bTB in herds. In summary, while bTB cases are expected to decrease, complete eradication by 2038 remains challenging due to the observed trends and control strategies. Further research on new control strategies being introduced in 2025 to predict their impact will be crucial.

Will bovine tuberculosis (bTB), be eradicated by 2038 as the government plan? Current control measures include the topical culling of badgers adopted by England whereas Wales uses badger trapping and testing to only cull those that turn out positive for bTB. Previous studies have used modelling for bTB to predict the number of cattle infected with bTB at certain time points. This study specifically focuses on both England and Wales, which is unique compared to previous research.

The study aimed to find the R0 which represents how many new cases one infected individual can cause in a group of susceptible cattle. If R0 is greater than 1, the disease spreads easily. Also, the study aimed to define how long it takes for cattle exposed to become infected with bTB as currently estimates vary from months to years. The research used mathematical models based on data collected by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) between 2016 and 2021. The model took into account the number of cattle and the average birth rate, death rate, sensitivity to skin testing, rate of transmission, and rate of progression from exposed to infected.

The results showed cattle exposed to bTB were predicted to become infected after approximately 508 days falling between the previously established range. Managing this long incubation period poses a challenge for disease control efforts. The study predicted an R0 of 0.95, similar to previous reports, and indicates that cases of bTB are decreasing in England and Wales. This suggests that control strategies have been effective in reducing bTB. However, this value might underestimate the transmission risk due to wildlife (e.g., badgers) not being included in the model. Interestingly, the study found a link between the number of cattle within an area and the R0. Regions in the West of England with higher cattle numbers had a higher R0 compared to the East of England. Reducing cattle density in high-risk areas could help control bTB prevalence. Current control strategies are showing a positive effect in reducing cases of bTB in England and Wales. The findings suggest both countries will not be bTB-free by 2038 without further control strategies being implemented to reduce the R0.

Dr Issy Lewis, Animal Health Lecturer, Hartpury University.

Research Associate in Quantitative Genetics, Biometrics, and Breeding

The Opportunity:

The Roslin Institute (Edinburgh) has been awarded an Impact Acceleration Award (IAA) with a global plant breeding company to further develop stability metrics for crop breeding programmes.

The IAA Research Associate will work closely with Daniel Tolhurst and supported by Prof Gregor Gorjanc of the HighlanderLab.


The post is for 9 months and comes with a travel budget for dissemination.

Informal enquiries can be made to Daniel Tolhurst ( or Prof Gregor Gorjanc (, while formal applications should be submitted through The University of Edinburgh website by the 8th July at:

Your skills and attributes for success:

* You are passionate about sustainable agriculture and optimising plant breeding programmes through practical applications of quantitative genetics and biometrics

* You have a strong quantitative genetics and breeding background and/or a biometrics and statistical background.

* You are independent, organised, and thrive in collaboration with multidisciplinary teams working in globally important sector.

* Please inspect the call documentation regarding the essential and desirable knowledge, skills and experience needed for the post.


As a valued member of our team you can expect:

  • Salary will be appointed at £41,732.
  • An exciting, positive, creative, challenging, and rewarding place to work. You will have opportunities to grow and contribute to the work of The Roslin Institute and have significant industry impact.
  • To be part of a diverse and vibrant international community
  • Comprehensive Staff Benefits, such as a generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts, family-friendly initiatives, and flexible work options. Check out the full list on our staff benefits page (opens in a new tab) and use our reward calculator to discover the total value of your pay and benefits 

GHG emissions from UK dairy farms Webinar 4th July 2024

Fern Baker shares the results from her recent PhD project modelling net carbon emissions from dairy production systems.

Fern’s research, conducted at the University of Nottingham, was jointly funded by AHDB and AFCP Member Charities: Dartington Cattle Breeding Trust; Seale-Hayne Educational Trust; Perry Foundation; and West Country Dairy Awards.

 Dairy Cow - from Fern Baker Student Forum Poster.png

Join us for a free webinar on the 4th July 2024 10.30am to 12.00 noon.  To register your interest please e-mail

Research Fellow School of Biological Sciences and Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast

Research Fellow

Job reference: 24/111971

Date posted: 03/06/2024

Application closing date: 17/06/2024


Job description

The School of Biological Sciences and Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast is currently seeking to appoint an exceptional candidate to the post of Research Fellow. The appointee will join the Huws group, focused on sustainable livestock production using the disciplines of Microbiology, Animal Science, and Bioinformatics.


About the person:

The successful candidate will primarily work within a multidisciplinary team undertaking research focused on sustainable ruminant production, with an emphasis on methane mitigation. The post holder will work with industry partners locally and globally to deliver impact for the agricultural and food sector. The successful candidate will work alongside the lead, a bioinformatician and a project manager within the new Centre of Excellence in Agri-Food Microbiomics. The candidate will be expected to perform the research required (for example in vitro testing) and the reports thereafter in a timely and professional manner. In general, the postholder will be an active member of the research project/team assisting in the planning and delivery of research activity.  Priority will be given to candidates with research interests and expertise in anaerobic microbiology, particularly with respect to livestock microbiomes.


To be successful at shortlisting stage, please ensure you clearly evidence in your application how you meet the essential and, where applicable, desirable criteria listed in the Candidate Information.

Fixed term contract posts are available for the stated period in the first instance but in particular circumstances may be renewed or made permanent subject to availability of funding.


What we offer:

Beyond a competitive salary, the University offers an attractive benefits package including a holiday entitlement of up to 8.4 weeks a year, pension schemes and development opportunities. We support staff wellbeing with flexible working options, work-life balance initiatives and support for physical and mental health. You can find more detail on all of this and more at


Queen's University is committed to promoting equality of opportunity to all. We subscribe to Equality Charter Marks such as the Diversity Charter Mark NI and Athena Swan and have established staff networks such as iRise, (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and International Staff Network) and PRISM (LGBTQ+) which help us progress equality.


For further information on our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, please visit

University of Leeds Research Fellow in Livestock Science

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have an established background in Livestock Science? Do you want to further your career in one of the UKs leading research intensive Universities?

We are seeking an enthusiastic, capable and adaptable scientist with excellent communication skills, who is keen to establish themselves in livestock science research. Whilst it is not essential that you should have prior experience of working with pigs, you should have a strong interest in developing pig research. You will work closely with academics and industry to co-develop proposals, conduct commercial and non-commercial research at the National Pig Centre.

You should have a PhD (or be close to completion) in animal science or a related area, complemented by excellent analytical and laboratory skills and a proven track record in communicating your research outcomes. You will be based primarily at the University of Leeds farm at the National Pig Centre and will also be a part of the School of Biology.  

What we offer in return:

  • 26 days holiday plus approx.16 Bank Holidays/days that the University is closed by custom (including Christmas) – That’s 42 days a year! · Generous pension scheme plus life assurance– the University contributes 14.5% of salary · Generous pension scheme options plus life assurance
  • Health and Wellbeing: Discounted staff membership options at The Edge, our state-of-the-art Campus gym, with a pool, sauna, climbing wall, cycle circuit, and sports halls.
  • Personal Development: Access to courses run by our Organisational Development & Professional Learning team.
  • Access to on-site childcare, shopping discounts and travel schemes are also available.
  • And much more!

The University of Leeds and the Faculty of Biological Sciences are committed to providing equal opportunities for all and offer a range of family friendly policies. The University is a charter member of Athena SWAN (the national body that promotes gender equality in higher education), and the Faculty of Biological Sciences was awarded a Silver award in 2020.  We are proud to be an inclusive Faculty that values all staff, and are happy to consider job share applications and requests for flexible working arrangements from our employees. Our Athena SWAN webpage provides more information.


To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Dr Katie McDermott, Lecturer in Sustainable Livestock Production  Email:

Ryan Clarkson, Platform Manager, National Pig Centre Email:


Location:  Other
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Biological Sciences
School/Institute:  School of Biology
Category:  Research
Grade:  Grade 7
Salary:  £37,099 to £44,263 per annum
Working Time:  100%
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (for 2 years)
Release Date:  Monday 03 June 2024
Closing Date:  Monday 01 July 2024
Reference:  FBSBY1196


Accommodation is not included in the registration fee. We are aiming to negotiate special rates for conference delegates at local hotels. Please book your accommodation directly with the hotel of your choice. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

BSAS 2023 Proceedings

Science in Parliament - Winter 2023

Science in Parliament - Spring 2023

Science in Parliament - Winter 2022

Science in Parliament - Summer 2022

Science in Parliament - Spring 2022

BSAS 2023 Developing Talent Proceedings

Science in Parliament - Winter 2021

Science in Parliament - Autumn 2021

Science in Parliament - Summer 2021

Science in Parliament - Spring 2021

AGM 2023 Accounts

AGM 2023 Election of Office Bearers

AGM 2023 Agenda

AGM 2023 Appointed Trustees Biographies

AGM 2023 Annual Review of Activities

BSAS News April 2024

Conference 2025

Nutrition Society Congress 2024

BSAS members may avail of reduced rates at the Nutrition Society Congress - log in to myBSAS to find out more.

Unique to the new Congress (previously the Summer Conference) is that you will have greater opportunity to engage with more nutrition science than ever before. In 2024 the core programme will be delivered by the Irish Section of The Nutrition Society, supported by the Science Committee. The theme of these symposia will be ‘new data – focused approaches and challenges’. Outside of the core programme you will have the chance to hear the latest research from the Society’s partner organisations, universities, the private sector and more, on a diverse range of research.

Wonder if the congress is for you? The Society’s conferences bring together a global audience from a diverse range of disciplines within the field, including academics, students, HCPs, industry, freelancers, and policy leaders.

Topic of the congress:

The discipline of nutrition science is diverse in nature – encompassing the study of human health from a molecular to a public health level, and from an ingredient or nutrient level to positioning as part of a (sustainable) global food system. Recognising this diversity, the data used to underpin and inform nutrition science are complex, stemming from a variety of sources. The aim of this congress is to provide an overview of the diversity of the data collected and used within the field of nutrition science and how analysis of this data has and can be used to progress the discipline.

BSAS Participation:

BSAS is proudly supporting the Nutrition Society Congress, join us at 11AM on Day 3 (4th July) as we launch the Animal Nutrition Textbook. Hear from Andrew Salter who will speak on alternative protein sources for animal feed, from Spiridoula Athanasiadou in relation ot bioactive plants and BSAS Trustee Paul Smith on dietary ways to reduce enteric methane emissions.

Congress Dinner 

Join us for a special congress dinner at Titanic Belfast – one of the most popular attractions in Belfast City! Our gala dinner will be a fun and relaxed event where we step away from the science for one evening and enjoy great food and even better company.

Relive the Titanic dining experience in the The Titanic Suite which has a replica of the liner’s Grand Staircase and stunning views of the Slipways and Belfast Lough – where the world-famous liner was designed, built, and launched.

We have limited tickets to this unique dining experience, be sure to buy your ticket before it sells out!

To book your place at the congress dinner, please click HERE 


This conference is an in-person event only. 

BSAS 2025 Conference Details Coming Soon

BSAS 2025 Annual Conference

Registration opens in June 2024

Livestock horizons beyond food production

Embark on a transformative journey with an event that transcends conventional narratives to illuminate the multifaceted roles of livestock in shaping a sustainable future. Explore how responsible livestock management practices foster biodiversity conservation, harmonising ecosystems and safeguarding endangered species. Discover the transformative power of a circular bioeconomy, spotlighting livestock's pivotal role in creating value, minimising waste, and promoting sustainability. Delve into diverse economies, from biomethane production to sustainable phosphorus extraction, pharmaceutical development, and the utilisation of livestock-derived ingredients in clothing and cosmetics industries. Join us as we foster dialogue, innovation, and collaboration towards a more sustainable future powered by the untapped potential of livestock.



This event caters to a broad audience interested in sustainability, agriculture, and innovation. Farmers and agricultural practitioners seeking sustainable livestock management techniques will find practical solutions. Researchers exploring biodiversity conservation, circular bioeconomy, and resource recovery will discover cutting-edge advancements. Professionals in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, clothing and renewable energy will learn about livestock-derived applications. Policymakers and environmental advocates can gain insights into shaping sustainable agricultural policies. Ultimately, this event welcomes all who wish to explore the transformative potential of livestock beyond food systems and contribute to a sustainable future.

Call For Posters


Contributions are invited from early-stage researchers and PhD students working on the fields of sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and environmental health and resilience, circular economy, renewable energy, resource management, pharmaceuticals, clothing and cosmetics. Abstracts should demonstrate how livestock, and its waste or co-products, are a key component within their project and the relevant industries.


The objective for the competition is to identify posters which best explain the outcomes of the research, and also in the context of the potential application of the results by the industry and consumers. There will be voucher prizes of £100 for 1st place and £50 for 2nd place. An abstract of maximum 250 words (250 words does not include author names, affiliations, references or figure captions) indicating title, authors, institution included with the Poster, should be sent to by Monday 18 November 2024 with the subject line “Livestock beyond food - poster submission” You can download an abstract template here.

For further information and prices, please email


SCI London

14/15 Belgrave Square

Conference Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7598 1561




10:00   Registration and refreshments 


10.30    FAO's Livestock Agenda for ecosystem services and circular bioeconomy 

Prof Michael Lee, Harper Adams University, FAO’s Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) technical advisory group 


Session 1: Livestock as partners in ecosystem health and resilience


10:45    Promoting healthy and resilient livestock systems: A holistic perspective 

Dr Lisa Norton, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology  


11:00   The multidimensional role of livestock in supporting ecosystem services and biodiversity 

Prof Davy McCracken, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)  


11:15   A policy-based view on the role of livestock on nature-friendly food production 

Speaker to be confirmed


11:30   Panel discussion 


11:50   Refreshment break  


Session 2: Unlocking the hidden potential: Transforming livestock slurry into valuable resource 


12:15   The place of biogas from slurry in the future role of bioenergy in the UK 

Lucy Hopwood, National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) 


12:30   Biomethane solutions for nutrient management 

Dr Chris Johnston, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) 


12:45   Microanaerobic solutions for small livestock farmers 

Dr Ilan Adler, University College London & EcoNomad Solutions 


13:00   Panel discussion 


13:20   Lunch, posters and exhibition 


Session 3: From waste to wealth: Exploring bio-based products from livestock  


14:15   The role of animal by-products in bio-based industries and circular economy 

Dr Stephen Woodgate, Beacon Consulting 


14:30   Unlocking the vital role of animals in biopolymer pharmaceuticals 

Prof Vitaliy Khutoryanskiy, University of Reading 


14:45   Wool revolution: Enhancing British flocks for premium fibre and profitability 

Andrew Hogley, British Wool 


15:00   Panel discussion 


15:20   Networking reception 


16:30   Close of conference 

Beef Quest Technician

Location: Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Grange, Dunsany, Co Meath, C15 PW93
 Salary:  Technician Grade 1 with a Salary Scale of €35,095 to €46,025
Closing Date: 28/05/2024 12:00 PM
  Funded Full Time

Job Description

Temporary externally funded non Grant-in-Aid contract post, the indicative duration of which is 24 months, subject to contract.  A panel may be formed from which future similar vacancies may be filled; such a panel will remain active for a maximum period of 12 months.


Basic Function:

Teagasc are seeking to appoint a highly motivated research technician to support the research programme on beef cattle sustainability. This position is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine funded ‘Beef-Quest’ project which aims to develop solutions and strategies, to reduce the finishing age of Irish beef cattle. The position will be based at Teagasc Grange and primarily involve the collection of animal production (e.g. live weights, nutrition, health records) data across commercial beef farms as well as  the implementation and management of beef cattle experiments with a focus on animal performance, enteric fermentation methane emissions and feed intake.



Reducing the mean finishing age of prime beef cattle from 26 to 22-23 months by 2030 has been identified as fundamental to achieving Ireland’s 25% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agricultural sector. The successful candidate will be play a central role in the Beef-Quest project by managing animal experiments and supporting  post-graduate students in the collection of animal production data from commercial beef farms. The person will be responsible for daily management of the research projects, regular monitoring of experimental equipment and assembly of data.

Job Objectives

  • Management and implementation of research experiments as outlined in agreed experimental protocols.
  • Assist layout of farm systems experiments to establish experimental treatments as outlined in the experimental protocol.
  • Prepare housing systems and/or paddock systems as required by experimental protocols.
  • Oversee experimental recording and database management; including the use of relevant software (e.g. Microsoft Office).
  • Collect, process and (if required) analyse samples of feedstuffs, animal tissue and any other relevant materials; liaise with laboratory staff in respect of the analyses of samples, receipt and data entry of results in relevant software/databases and liaise with project leaders in relation to experimental data.
  • Supervise personnel associated with experiments, and collaborate with and facilitate post-graduate students (and others).
  • Assist post-graduate students in the collection of animal production (live weight, health) and management (nutrition, environment) data from commercial beef farms.
  • Health & Safety Co-ordinator Duties or such other Health & Safety Duties as may be assigned from time to time.
  • To assist Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service Charter and Action Plan.
  • To actively participate in the annual business planning and Performance Management Development System (PMDS) processes.
  • Fully co-operate with the provisions made for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of themselves, fellow staff and non-Teagasc staff and co-operate with management in enabling Teagasc to comply with legal obligations. This includes full compliance with the responsibilities outlined in the Safety Statement.
  • Any other duties as may be assigned from time to time

* This job specification is intended as a guide to the general range of duties and is intended to be neither definitive nor restrictive.  It will be reviewed from time to time with the post holder.

Skills Requirement





At the time of applying, candidates must have

  • candidates must have  a Level 6 qualification as recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications in Agricultural Science or related discipline.


  • Full clean drivers licence


  • A  Level 6 qualification as recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications in Agricultural Science would be a distinct advantage


  • Sample collection and fieldwork associated with livestock.
  • Excellent stockmanship; general animal husbandry, nutrition/feeding, health and welfare
  • People and resource management skills.
  • Highly proficient in grassland management technologies.
  • Ability to work autonomously in a fast-paced environment.
  • Data handling and IT skills (Microsoft Office).
  • Knowledge of H&S protocols.
  • Experience of working in an animal and grassland research environment.
  • Experience managing enteric methane emissions and feed intake measurement systems.
  • Basic laboratory skills
  • Data-base management and data analysis.
  • First aid


Behavioural Competencies

  • Ability to work as part of a team, including consulting, collaborating and building relationships with key partners.
  • Has the ability to problem solve and demonstrates a high level of attention to detail.
  • Demonstrates positive approach to new challenges and dissemination of new tasks.
  • Commitment to teamwork and collaborating with colleagues as per our Teagasc Together ethos.


As this role will involve driving vehicles, candidates must satisfy and continue to satisfy during employment with Teagasc, legal requirements to drive a car unaccompanied on Irish public roads.




This is an open public competition. Should a current serving Teagasc staff member be successful in their application through open public competition for this post, their current contract of employment with Teagasc will come to an end on taking up this post.

 Note:  The ‘essential’ qualifications, knowledge, skills and behavioural competencies outlined above are ‘must-have’ which will be used in the selection process.

Animal Scientist in Suckler Beef Production

Location: Teagasc, Animal & Grassland, Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath.
 Salary:  Research Officer with a Salary Scale of €39,683 to €75,761
Closing Date: 10/05/2024 12:00 PM
  Permanent Full Time

Job Description

Permanent .  A panel may be formed from which future similar vacancies may be filled; such a panel will remain active for a maximum period of 12 months.


Basic Function: 

To develop, lead and implement a state of the art research programme in the production of suckler beef cattle with particular focus on the following:

  • Genetic and nutritional factors influencing the productivity of suckler beef cattle.
  • Increasing animal performance and efficiency from both grazed and conserved forages
  • Impact of both genetics and nutrition on environmental sustainability of suckler beef production systems



The beef industry is a major contributor to the value of Ireland’s agri-food sector.  For example, the output value of the Irish cattle sector was 16% of Agri-food exports in 2022 generating approximately €3.1 billion. Additionally, beef cattle production is a significant enterprise on over 94,000 farms, which are widely dispersed throughout the country. Teagasc plays a key role in developing and supporting competitive, profitable and sustainable systems of beef production.

These production systems must maximise the use of grazed grass to capitalize on Ireland’s natural competitive advantage in grass production, and to contribute to the high quality, grass-fed reputation of Irish beef worldwide.

Teagasc are seeking to appoint a highly qualified and enthusiastic researcher to develop and lead a cutting research programme to underpin the continued development and sustainability of the Irish suckler beef production sector. The successful candidate’s research programme will have particular emphasis on, but will not be limited to, investigating the impact of animal genetics and nutrition on the biological performance of suckler beef cattle, and how these management interventions influence both economic and environmental sustainability.  The programme will also investigate how to further increase animal performance from grazed and conserved forage. This will be a key appointment for Teagasc with national significance in further developing our beef industry over the coming years.

The Grange campus is part of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Teagasc and has extensive facilities for field and laboratory research.   These include pasture and overwintering facilities for in excess of 1100 cattle including 200 beef cows and their progeny to finish. Field and laboratory resources include state of the art electronic individual feed intake and methane emissions measurement equipment; a feed digestibility research unit and a suite of animal nutrition, animal health and molecular biology based laboratories to support a world-class beef cattle research programme.

Indeed, Teagasc has an international reputation for research and development in grass-based systems of livestock production and the successful candidate will work with a dynamic and multidisciplinary team of researchers and knowledge transfer specialists across Teagasc’s Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Programme at Moorepark, Grange and Athenry.

Job Objectives

  • Develop, lead and implement a cutting edge research programme on aspects of the breeding and nutrition of  suckler beef cattle 
  • Design and manage experiments; statistically analyse and publish the resulting data.

  • Manage staff and resources assigned to the research programme.

  • Identify opportunities for cutting-edge research to address key knowledge gaps.

  • Lead successful submissions for external funding, that is consistent with the Teagasc research programme, with the objective of developing critical mass in the area by building and supervising a dynamic team of post-doctoral researchers(s) and post-graduate student(s). 

  • Develop and maintain active collaboration with relevant national and international research organisations.

  • Work closely with Teagasc Knowledge Transfer Specialists to ensure effective dissemination of research findings to advisors and stakeholders.

  • Supervise, in conjunction with academic collaborator postgraduate students to Masters and PhD level.

  • Interpret and publish research results in the scientific and popular press, at conferences (nationally and internationally) and to stakeholders

  • Contribute to the teamwork and team spirit in the Animal & Bioscience Department, and foster and add to further collaboration and integration

  • To assist Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service Charter and Action Plan.

  • To actively participate in the annual business planning and Performance Management Development System (PMDS) processes.

  • Fully co-operate with the provisions made for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of themselves, fellow staff and non-Teagasc staff and co-operate with management in enabling Teagasc to comply with legal obligations. This includes full compliance with the responsibilities outlined in the Safety Statement.

  • Any other duties as may be assigned from time to time

* This job specification is intended as a guide to the general range of duties and is intended to be neither definitive nor restrictive.  It will be reviewed from time to time with the post holder.

Skills Requirement






  •  Honours Level 8 degree in Agricultural Science or a related discipline.
  • PhD in a relevant discipline


Note: While a PhD is an essential requirement for this post, equivalent research experience may be deemed acceptable solely at the discretion of the Director of Teagasc.
  • Post-doctoral experience in ruminant livestock based research would be a distinct advantage.


  • Research skills: Interrogation of published research literature, experimental design, data management, animal and laboratory based analyses, statistical analysis and experiment implementation
  • Dissemination skills: verbal presentation/communication skills, scientific (peer-reviewed journals) and technical writing skills
  • Ability to initiate and lead a research programme
  • Capacity to successfully develop collaborative research links with national and international research organisations
  • Strategic awareness, innovation & change management skills
  • Engaging and consultative leadership skills that demonstrate best practice in people and programme management
  • Computer literate, with proficiency in the use of MS Office, Word, excel, Powerpoint and Outlook.


  • Grass-based systems of animal production .



  • Genetic and nutritional factors influencing the productivity and environmental sustainability of suckler beef cattle.
  • Factors affecting animal performance from both grazed and conserved forages.
  • Factors affecting reproductive performance in suckler beef cattle.


  • Working knowledge of the Irish beef industry and national and EU policy and legislation affecting the sector.

Behavioural Competencies

  • Ability to work on own initiative and to work as part of a team, including consulting, collaborating and building relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Strives for high quality of work and demonstrates commitment to the programme.
  • Flexible approach to work with ability to priorities tasks effectively.
  • Ability to communicate effectively to enable knowledge and technology transfer.
  • Demonstration of innovation within previous research.
  • A results-driven individual with a strong focus on goal-setting, performance delivery and accountability.
  • A proactive, solutions-focused approach to work with an ability to adapt to changing requirements.
  • Ability to set clear standards, to lead by example, with a quality customer service focus.


As this role will involved driving vehicles, candidates must satisfy and continue to satisfy during employment with Teagasc, legal requirements to drive a car unaccompanied on Irish public roads

 Note:  The ‘essential’ qualifications, knowledge, skills and behavioural competencies outlined above are ‘must-have’ which will be used in the selection process.


ECC Presentation Club - Presentation Training Webinar

Speaking at a conference in the near future? Book your place on the ECC presentation webinar which will take place on 19th August at 2PM.

Get specialist training from our Early Career Team in a small group setting.

To reserve your please email confirming your name, university/ place of work, year of study and any other information you would like to let the training team know - for example what conference you are presenting at or which theme you are speaking on. It is expected that participants will have a good understanding of the English language.

Editor-in-Chief - animal science proceedings

animal – science proceedings is one of the three scientific journals jointly owned by a Consortium comprised of the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS), the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) and the Institut National de Recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement (INRAE).

The Consortium is seeking candidates for the position of Editor-in-Chief for animal – science proceedings.

animal – science proceedings publishes high-quality proceedings from conferences, symposia and workshops on aspects of life sciences with emphasis on farmed and other managed animals, leisure and companion animals, and insects. More information about animal – science proceedings can be found on the websites of the Consortium and the publisher.

The Editor-in-chief is responsible for the development of the journal within the framework of the budget defined by the Management Board, to:

  • propose the scientific guidelines of the journal to the Management Board
  • ensure the scientific quality of the journal
  • ensure good relations with conference organisers and with the guest editors for the issue
  • ensure harmonious relations with the publisher or printer, or the service provider in charge of digital dissemination of the journal

There are normally between five and nine issues per year that require a time commitment of three working days an issue on average. In addition, about 10 days are required for attendance animal consortium meetings, most of which are virtual. Candidates are expected to have experience in writing scientific articles, to possess good communication skills, and to take initiative while being a team player. The Editor-in-Chief will receive a fixed honorarium for his/her activities.

SRUC Veterinary Investigation Officer

The Opportunity:

Working within the School of Veterinary Medicine and under the direction of the Veterinary Centre Manager in conjunction with colleagues responsible for the integration of educational activities, in this role you will:


  • Provide an effective, reliable, and efficient farm animal diagnostic and consultancy service to veterinary surgeons in practice and farmers in the area.  Key components of this work include the detailed investigation of farm animal disease outbreaks through post-mortem examination, laboratory diagnostic tests and farm disease investigations.
  • Maintain a close working relationship with local veterinarians and farmers to facilitate data collection to inform the trends, distribution, and nature of livestock diseases in the area covered by the Aberdeen Hub.  Through this work contributing to the local and national disease surveillance functions of SRUC.
  • Investigate in detail unusual outbreaks of farm animal disease in collaboration with veterinary colleagues within SRUC and other specialist institutions.
  • Contribute to the education of undergraduates within the School of Veterinary Medicine so ensuring they have developed the skills and understanding related to the importance of disease surveillance and herd health management when they move into their graduate roles.
  • Undertake research and develop initiatives with colleagues in SRUC SVM, the wider SRUC family and external institutions.
  • Contribute as required to SRUC farmer education and awareness campaigns to promote animal welfare.
  • Assist with the Animal Health & Welfare Management Programme by providing support to local vets and farmers.
  • Participate in disease eradication and control programme being directed by APHA Service by providing appropriate supporting laboratory services as and when required by the Scottish Government.
  • Contribute to the advisory, development and research effort of other departments within SRUC.  The VIO should liaise with colleagues within the SRUC advisory service (particularly the specialist dairy, beef and sheep agricultural advisors, nutritionists and building advisors) to support a farm animal health advisory service in the local area.
  • Carry out any other duties delegated by the SVM Senior Management Team and veterinary managers of the hubs.
  • Work for periods at other SRUC Veterinary Services sites as necessary and as directed by the manager of SRUC.


The post-holder will perform additional duties as directed from time to time by the Line Manager. The post holder must use their initiative in the conduct of their work and always apply sound judgement to ensure that they conduct themselves within the framework of SRUC regulations and procedures.


Minimum Qualifications and Experience:

The ideal candidate will have demonstrable experience in progressive farm animal practice and will preferably have undertaken post graduate study to certificate, masters or diploma level in a given species (cattle, sheep or pigs) or in a related subject eg. pathology. Candidates must have an interest in developing veterinary education to ensure sustainability of veterinary support to the rural environment and be a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. They will be required to undertake the ‘in-house’ educators programme and encouraged to work towards further qualifications whether species or veterinary education based. Teamwork is essential as is a current UK driving license.


Further details on the requirements of this role can be found in the Job Particulars document which you must read before applying for this role.

Funded PhD Studentship: Leveraging metabolomics to reduce copper toxicity in dairy cattle

Location:  Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB
Salary:  As per advert
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed Term - 36 Months
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Friday 17 May 2024
Reference:  RD-PHD-24-JM-R1-MH

Primary supervisor: Dr James McCaughern, Harper Adams University

Second supervisors: Dr Joe Roberts, Dr Sandy Mackenzie and Professor Liam Sinclair

Project Title: Leveraging metabolomics to reduce copper toxicity in dairy cattle

Successful candidates will receive a yearly stipend (paid monthly) set at the UKRI rate - for 2024/5 this will be £19,237. Harper Adams University is unfortunately unable to offer a fee waiver for international students applying and evidence of funding will be required for International Fee paying students to show they can cover the difference between the UK and international fees for the full four years - for the 2024/5 academic year this amount is £10,890.  However, scholarships maybe be available at the time of appointment to cover the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of the programme.  

During this studentship, the successful applicant is expected to develop sought-after technical skills in the fields of animal nutrition, health and welfare. Applicants must hold a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent bachelor's degree in an appropriate subject /high grade point average bachelor's degree for international applicants or a 2.2 alongside a suitable Master's Degree. Potential for research based on alternative qualifications/experience as judged acceptable by the university, will be considered on a case by case basis.

Project description:


Metabolomics is a technique that utilises advanced analytical chemistry to provide researchers with a more complete picture of the animal’s phenotype at the metabolic level (Taylor et al., 2022). The ability to detect and quantify a large number of metabolites within a single sample is helping develop a greater understanding of systems-wide biology across a range of scientific disciplines, and to identify new diagnostic tests (Monteiro et al., 2013). Despite increasing popularity within other fields, the ability to generate significant steps forward within animal science remains relatively untapped.  

One such area where metabolomics can serve to improve animal health, welfare and performance is the dietary supplementation of copper (Cu) to dairy cattle (Atkins et al., 2021; Sinclair et al., 2013; 2017). There are many biological consequences of an inadequate dietary Cu supply, such as anaemia and impaired growth (Suttle et al., 2022). In contrast, there is now substantial evidence of a significant over-supply of Cu to winter-fed dairy cattle within the UK, with a mean dietary Cu concentration of 28 mg/kg of DM reported by Sinclair and Atkins (2015), well in excess of the recommended 9-11 mg/kg DM (NASEM, 2021; NRC, 2001). Reasons for this elevated Cu-status on farm are unclear, but may result from a perception within the feed industry that “more is better” (McCaughern et al., 2020). However, recent evidence from long-term studies at Harper Adams University has clearly demonstrated significant sub-clinical consequences as a result of over-feeding Cu (McCaughern, 2020). For example, McCaughern et al. (2024) identified both a decline in fertility, coupled with negative effects on liver function and the immune system when replacement Holstein-Friesian dairy heifers were fed dietary Cu concentrations above requirements. Milk yield and fertility in early lactation were also compromised (McCaughern, 2020). These findings provide very strong evidence for a revision of Cu feeding limits, both nationally and internationally. Metabolomics can add further weight to these arguments by identifying the key biological pathways responsible for these phenotypic changes, as well as identifying new indicators of Cu status.  

Aims and objectives:

To utilise samples that have been biobanked from previous research studies on the bioavailability of Cu and the long-term effect of over-feeding Cu to growing and lactating dairy cattle to:

  1. Profile the biological changes which occur in dairy cattle as a result of an altered Cu status;
  2. Identify novel indicators of Cu status and toxicity in growing and lactating dairy cattle 
  3. Produce 3 to 4 internationally excellent papers in peer reviewed journals


Six dairy cattle studies have been undertaken at Harper Adams University in the last 10 years to determine factors influencing Cu availability and the effect of long-term over-feeding of Cu on growing and lactating dairy cattle (Atkins et al., 2020; McCaughern et al., 2020, 2024; Sinclair et al., 2017, Williams et al., 2024). During these studies intake, fertility and milk yield were recorded, and the Cu status and immune function monitored through regular blood and liver biopsy sampling. These samples have been biobanked pending further analyses. In this project blood plasma samples will undergo non-targeted metabolomic analysis according to Icely et al. (2024- pre-submission), to determine the changes in the animal’s metabolism. Blood plasma collected concurrently with liver samples will also be used to scope novel indicators of Cu status, and help facilitate the development of new veterinary tests for Cu status and toxicity in cattle.        


Candidates are encouraged to contact Dr James McCaughern to discuss the project before applying if they wish to.

Contact:Dr James McCaughern, Harper Adams University

Clinical Training Scholar (SCTS) in Small Animal Cardiology

Clinical Training Scholar (SCTS) in Small Animal Cardiology

Department of Veterinary Medicine
University of Cambridge
Location: Cambridge

The Scholarship is for one year in the first instance, renewable for periods of one year up to a total of three years.

The Scholarship provides an outstanding opportunity to receive specialist training in all aspects of small animal cardiology and is available to start from December 2024.

You will receive core training in all aspects of clinical cardiology, including interventional procedures and transoesophageal echocardiography. You will also be required to undertake and publish a research project. The training programme is approved by the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM-CA).

The Scholar will be required to register for the Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The training programme requires participation in the Department's clinical service, including the out-of-hours rota and first opinion practice, in addition to small-group teaching of veterinary students.

You must be a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, or hold a veterinary degree qualifying you for membership. Membership will be required prior to commencing the Scholarship. Completion of an appropriate internship or a minimum of two years' experience in small animal practice is essential.

The internship has an abundance of benefits such as:

  • Tax-free stipend
  • Academic opportunities, e.g. teach Cambridge students during rotations and College supervision opportunities; weekly Department research and clinical seminars; journal and book clubs
  • Generous CPD allowance 

For more information on benefits and our internship programmes:

Informal enquiries should be directed to Jose Novo Matos (Principal Clinical Cardiologist) by email:

Interviews will be held on Wednesday, 5th of June 2024.

A SCTS application form (SCTS1) and information pack can be downloaded from the following website:

Applicants should supply a completed SCTS Application Form (SCTS1), Curriculum Vitae and Covering Letter giving reasons for wishing to undertake the SCTS in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.

Applications should be submitted via e-mail to with the above documents as one attachment, by the closing date stated.                                     

Applications will be monitored regularly, and we may contact candidates prior to the closing date.  We reserve the right to close this vacancy early if we receive sufficient applications for the role. Therefore, if you are interested, please submit your application as early as possible.

Please quote reference PP41325 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.


The Workshop on “Biology of Lactation in Farm Animals” (BOLFA) is jointly organized by the University of Bern, European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) and the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS). In 2024 BOLFA will be held together with the International Congress on Farm Animal Endocrinology (ICFAE) at the University of Bern, Switzerland, as satellites of the annual EAAP meeting in Florence, Italy. The meetings in Bern take place from August 28-30, 2024. Current topics of lactation and endocrine systems in farm animal species will be discussed during the 3-day conference. The EAAP meeting in Florence starts on September 1. A convenient 5-h train connection is available for participants at BOLFA/ICFAE to reach Florence before the start of the EAAP meeting.

2024 International Symposium on Reproductive Physiology

Every five years, the ISRP provides a great opportunity to present the state-of-the-art thinking and practice in ruminant physiology to an international audience of scientists. In a tradition going back more than 60 years, the symposium is an excellent venue at which to assemble researchers in the field of ruminant physiology. There is no other international scientific symposium that offers such depth of this topic. American Dairy Science Association is honored to bring this event to the United States and America's Heartland.

Chicago has been voted the Best Big City in the U.S. for the sixth consecutive year by Conde Nast Traveler readers. The city boasts one of the best food scenes in the world with a long list of award-winning restaurants, amazing arts and attractions, thrilling nightlife, an amazing lakefront and riverwalk, all within steps of our conference venue, the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 USA. More than 40 airlines provide nonstop service from Chicago making it a convenient travel destination worldwide.

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2024 International Symposium on Reproductive Physiology!


Conference Overarching Themes

  • Insights from precision technology and data science and their application to ruminant physiology and management
  • Gastrointestinal microbial ecology, the microbiome, and gut physiology spanning from microbial-host interactions to an update on methane production and mineral interactions
  • Whole animal microbiome and integration of effects across systems including the central nervous system, lactation, reproduction, respiration, and immunity
  • Post-absorptive physiological impacts of nutrients on cellular signaling.
  • Inflammation, metabolic endocrinology, metabolomics, and novel regulators of physiology and metabolism
  • Integration of environment, physiology, and wellbeing in face of climate change and resource limitations
  • Genomics and epigenetic impacts on ruminant physiology and efficiency

2024 ASAS-CSAS-WSASAS Annual Meeting

The 2024 Annual Meeting will take place at the Calgary TELUS convention Centre. Calgary is located in Western Canada in the province of Alberta nestled in the foothills of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains.

See website for further informations

2024 ADSA Annual Meeting

Attending ADSA’s conference gives you face-to-face, personal access to cutting-edge dairy science and the people behind the breakthroughs. From symposia to poster sessions, networking events to hallway conversations, ADSA’s in-person meeting offer the keys to groundbreaking dairy science and to advancing your career.


A draft programme is available on the ADSA website.

EAAP Adaptation of mountain livestock farming to global change

On behalf of the French Organising Committee, we are very delighted to invite you to attend the Mountain Livestock Farming Systems Meeting co-organised by the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), VetAgro Sup and INRAE to be held in Clermont Ferrand, the capital of the Auvergne, from June 5th to 7th, 2024.

The general topic of this Congress will be Adaptation of mountain livestock farming to climate change. Different sessions will be jointly organised to cover various areas of knowledge related to Interaction between farming systems and wildlife, Product quality and mountain farming, and several other topics.


  1. Adaptation of mountain livestock farming to climate change
  2. Interaction between farming systems and wildlife
  3. Product quality and mountain farming
  4. Ecosystem services of mountain farming
  5. Local breeds
  6. Social role of livestock in mountain area
  7. Forage systems for mountain livestock
  8. Solution to enhance economy of livestock farming systems
  9. New technologies for mountain livestock
  10. Transhumance in European mountains – challenges and perspective
  11. Health and welfare of mounain farming system animals

Milking the Data: Value-Driven Dairy Farming Conference

Conference Objective

Precision dairy farming (PDF) is a collection of cutting technologies designed for the automatic, real-time monitoring of cow welfare, health, environmental impact, and production. It is recognized as a high priority for achieving policy goals in many countries worldwide, as it enables the transition towards more resilient and sustainable dairy farming practices. In 2016, the Discover Conference on Big Data Dairy Management discussed the potential of big data analyses and technology in the dairy industry. Since 2016, enormous progress has been made in the field of artificial intelligence, sensing technology and data analyses in all domains. While such progress brings excitement to advance the dairy industry toward sustainable systems, it is crucial to address the current challenges facing data-driven dairy, including data privacy concerns, data standardization, and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration between animal science, engineering, and computer science.

This conference is an opportunity to bring together various stakeholders to establish a shared understanding of the current state of precision dairy farming technologies and data governance and identify obstacles to successful implementation. Insights gained from this conference can help inform and influence policy decisions, ensuring that the regulatory environment supports the growth and sustainability of the dairy industry.


Who Should Attend?

This program will address issues important to university, government, and industry researchers; university extension specialists; software developers, precision dairy technology manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, genetics providers, consultants, nutritionists, producers, and veterinarians. Graduate Students and early career professionals are especially encouraged to attend.

David Elliott

From a family of animal journals to a family of organizations

The animal family of journals (i.e. animal, animal – open space, and animal – science proceedings) is jointly owned by a Consortium composed of the EAAP, BSAS, and INRAE and published by Elsevier on behalf of the Consortium. To widen and strengthen the scientific basis of the family of journals, the Consortium is delighted and honoured to announce that IRTA has become an associated party of the Consortium. Together, the four organizations will determine the scientific policy of the journals in a rapidly changing landscape of scientific publishing.

IRTA, the Institute of Agrifood and Technology Research under the Regional Government of Catalonia, is dedicated to promoting research and technological development in agri-food, including animal science. IRTA scientists frequently contribute by publishing in “animal” and actively participating in the editorial team. The IRTA team has decided to support the scientific direction of the journals and showcase their partnership in animal science publishing. Maria Font i Furnols, an animal science researcher at IRTA and the current deputy editor-in-chief of “animal,” played a crucial role in facilitating these activities within the new partnership. The “Animal Consortium” is delighted to announce IRTA as the first organization to engage in this innovative relationship with the “Animal Consortium”. The Consortium plans to establish similar partnerships with other research organizations in the field of animal science.

Nicholas Jonsson

Tianhai Yan Awarded the 2024 Sir John Hammond Award for Outstanding Contributions in Animal Science

The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) and the British Cattle Breeders Club (BCBC) proudly announce Dr. Tianhai Yan as the recipient of the prestigious 2024 Sir John Hammond Award. This esteemed award recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to animal science through research, teaching, knowledge exchange, breeding, farming, industry, or affiliated professions.

Dr. Tianhai Yan, Programme Leader and Head of Ruminant Nutrition Unit at the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI), has been selected as this year's recipient for his outstanding achievements and significant impact on the field of animal science. With a career spanning multiple decades, Dr. Yan has demonstrated exemplary dedication and innovation in his work, earning the respect and admiration of his peers worldwide.

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Yan has published over 152 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, authored 9 scientific book chapters, and presented 204 abstracts in national and international scientific conferences. His research has significantly advanced our understanding of ruminant nutrition, metabolism, and emissions modelling, influencing policy and industry practices both locally and globally.

Notably, Dr. Yan's groundbreaking research on cattle methane and nitrogen emissions has played a pivotal role in shaping government environmental policy. His work has not only contributed to environmental sustainability but has also directly benefited the dairy and beef production industries in the United Kingdom. Dr. Yan's updated energy rationing models in the 'Feed into Milk' and 'Feed into Beef' programs have revolutionised industry practices, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

In addition to his research contributions, Dr. Yan has demonstrated a profound commitment to education and mentorship. He has supervised and co-supervised 14 PhD students and continues to mentor 8 PhD students from various institutions. Dr. Yan's dedication to nurturing the next generation of scientists has had a lasting impact on the field of animal science, inspiring future generations to pursue excellence in research and innovation.

BCBC Chair Andy King added 'It is an honour to have been part of the judging panel and to announce Tianhai Yan as the recipient of the Sir John Hammond Award for 2024 in recognition of the depth of research that he has undertaken over a considerable period of time. Not only has this been of very practical relevance in cattle production it is now an essential contribution towards policy development  in tackling the challenge around Climate change'

The panel's decision to award Dr. Tianhai Yan with the 2024 Sir John Hammond Award was unanimous, recognising his exemplary achievements, leadership, and unwavering dedication to advancing the field of animal science. His contributions have left an indelible mark on the industry and will continue to shape the future of animal science for years to come.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Tianhai Yan on this well-deserved honour.

14 PhD positions in the MSCA Doctoral Network project BullNet

Organisation/Company: University of Limerick

Researcher Profile: First Stage Researcher (R1)

Country: Ireland

Application Deadline: 2 May 2024 - 15:00 (Europe/Dublin)

Type of Contract: Temporary

Job Status: Full-time

Hours Per Week: 35-40 depending on organisation

Offer Starting Date:1 Sep 2024


Offer Description

BullNet is a Marie Curie Doctoral Training Network focused on understanding and improving bull fertility. It will hire and train 14 PhD students (Doctoral Candidates) in a diverse range of disciplines while addressing key industry relevant research questions. It comprises a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectorial research programme designed to unravel the complex underlying biology of compromised fertility of individual bulls. Cutting-edge basic, applied and machine-learning approaches will be used to understand the biological regulation of sperm function and testis biology in order to optimise fertility.

This will ensure the delivery of a robust, flexible semen product from young, appropriately reared and managed, first-season elite sires that can be used successfully for artificial insemination (AI) with predictable and consistent fertility, so as to provide the industry with key tools to meet current emissions and animal welfare demands. BullNet will also lead to the advancement of knowledge in how bull management strategies and semen processing affect the functional and molecular characteristics of sperm, thus opening scientific horizons for new applications in the area of assisted reproduction.

This is an exciting opportunity to work with the world leaders in the area of bull fertility. While each Doctoral Candidate will be based at one of the partner institutions, they will participate in network wide training events which consist of in-person training weeks with workshops, practical sessions, seminars etc as well as online invited sessions every 3 months. All Doctoral Candidates will get an opportunity for a 3- to 6- month secondment in industry.

While a background in reproduction is highly desirable we are seeking are seeking DCs in the following areas as they apply to animal reproduction.

For application process queries, contact

For informal queries about the project you are interested in, contact the academics listed below.  The list of positions are as follows:



Title: The concurrent and latent impact of inflammatory conditions on the fertility and robustness of intensively reared bulls

Host: Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Co Meath, Ireland 

Main Supervisor: Prof David Kenny (Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Ireland;; Prof Pat Lonergan (University College Dublin;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of the nutritional control of reproduction in cattle.  

Project Description: Metabolic acidosis arising from subacute ruminal acidosis (induced by feeding high grain diets) has been associated with altered metabolic function however, the latent effect on the musculoskeletal and reproductive systems are not clear. The objectives are (i)Clearly define the incidence and reasons for culling in natural service and AI bulls using data from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation and AI industry databases, with specific emphasis on musculoskeletal disorders. (ii) Establish an in vivo model of metabolic inflammatory pathology whereby peripubertal bulls are individually intensively fed on a high or moderate grain diet from 5 months and slaughtered at 15 months of age: 1. Characterise the concurrent and latent metabolic, physiological and immunological response. 2. Assess libido and conduct detailed semen quality analysis including computer assisted sperm assessment, in vitro functional assays etc. and 3. Conduct detailed morphological, histopathological and molecular analyses of key metabolic organs (i.e. liver) and musculoskeletal tissue.



Title: Molecular plasticity in male germ cells during spermatogenesis

Host: INRAE, Paris, France 

Main Supervisor: Dr Helene Kiefer (INRAE, France;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of molecular techniques and bioinformatics is an advantage.  

Project Description: The epigenome of germ cells is sensitive to environmental variations but there is no data about the molecular changes occurring during spermatogenesis. We therefore hypothesise that the effects of high energy/grain diets during rearing on testicular function are partly mediated by epigenetic modifications. The objectives are (i) Isolate pure populations of spermatogenic male germ cells from mature testes. (ii) Describe the molecular variations that can be observed between the different spermatogenic stages. (iii) Investigate whether high energy diets offered during rearing affect these variations, and relate the diet-induced modifications to testicular function. (iv) Investigate whether high energy diets offered during rearing affect the sperm epigenome.



Title: Effect of sperm exposure to epididymal extracellular vesicles (EVs) on sperm miRNA cargo, regulation of the female reproductive environment, and embryo developmental competence

Host: Spanish National Research Council (CSIC – INIA), Madrid, Spain;

Main Supervisor: Dr Beatriz Fernandez-Fuertes (CSIC- INIA, Spain;; Prof Sean Fair (University of Limerick;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: The sperm epigenome can be modified as they migrate through the epididymis of the bull and this can be altered by diet. The specific objectives are to (i) Determine the effect of bull sperm exposure to epididymal EVs on sperm function, miRNA cargo, embryo development and gene expression, as well as the regulation of the oviduct and uterine environments. (ii) Evaluate changes in epididymal EV cargo in response to different diets, with a focus on miRNA. (iii) Determine differences in maternal response and embryo development between sperm exposed to epididymal EVs isolated from bulls fed high or moderate grain diets.



Title: Evaluation of the impact of the bull diet on the epididymal and ejaculated sperm quality

Host: Université Clermont Auvergne, France

Main Supervisor: Prof. Joël Drevet (Université Clermont Auvergne, France;; Dr Fabrice Saez, Université Clermont Auvergne, France;  

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: The modification of the sperm proteome during epididymal maturation in the bull is poorly understood. The objectives are to (i) Characterize the proteome of extracellular vesicles responsible for a large part of epididymal sperm protein maturation, i.e. epididymosomes. (ii) Characterize the proteome of seminal extracellular vesicles involved in post-ejaculatory sperm maturation. (iii) Correlate these data with the sperm proteome, both in epididymal and ejaculated cells, as a function of diet. (iv) Investigate the nutritional impact of different diets on epididymal and ejaculate sperm quality, focusing on sperm nuclear integrity (condensation, oxidation and fragmentation), as well as oxidative stress at post-testicular and systemic levels.



Title: Identification and characterisation of antibacterial defence mechanisms in bull semen

Host: Institute for Reproduction of Farm Animals Schönow, Germany

Main Supervisor: Prof Martin Schulze (Institute for Reproduction of Farm Animals Schönow, Germany;; 

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of microbiological, spermatology and molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: Bacterial killing activity of seminal fluid is known across several species, including the bull. However, to what extent the microbiome influences the occurrence of the bacterial killing activity against specific gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria in individual bulls has not been studied. The objectives are: (i) Collect seminal plasma (SP) from AI bulls (summer vs. winter), determine bacterial killing activity (BKA) & sort bulls based on the level of BKA (high or low) against gram+, gram- bacteria, or both (four groups, 1-4). (ii) Determine the microbiological profile of the test group ejaculates (16S rDNA sequencing). (iii) Analyze post-thaw sperm quality of the test groups using an extended spectrum of spermatological methods (e.g. thermo-resistance, mitochondrial activity, membrane integrity, multi-color assay, etc.) and relate it to BKA. (iv) Identify and isolate possible BKA-exerting components from SP samples (e.g. proteomics analyses, 2D SDS page, MALDI, etc.). (v) Characterize fertilizing capacity of ejaculates with low and high BKA (e.g. IVF, AI trials, non-return rate).



Title: Predicting and improving cryotolerance in bull semen

Host: Institute for Reproduction of Farm Animals Schönow, Germany

Main Supervisor: Prof Martin Schulze (Institute for Reproduction of Farm Animals Schönow, Germany;; Prof Sean Fair (University of Limerick, Ireland;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of spermatology and molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: Bulls vary in the cryotolerance of their semen for reasons that are not fully understood.The objectives are: (i) Characterise and interrogate the relationship between the lipidome, proteome, and exosome of undiluted and sex sorted semen from bulls categorised as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ freezers. (ii) Establish a predictive model of bull cryotolerance in both conventional and sex-sorted semen by using omics data in combination with pre-and post-freeze motility, antioxidant capacity, membrane integrity, fluidity, and stability. (iii) Investigate the effect of altering sperm cryopreservation media components including antioxidants (e.g Hydroxytyrasol) and membrane stabilizers (e.g. cholesterol, lecithin), and the effects of the deep interactions among these components and specific dilution, cooling and equilibration processing techniques on the cryotolerance of semen from bulls categorised as good and bad freezers. (iv) Assess temperature dependent volume response and osmotic tolerance in sperm from good and bad freezers, the effects of antioxidants and membrane stabilizers on these properties, and correlate these data with lipidome and proteome differences. Identify media components that should be used in cryopreservation medium to mitigate osmotic damage both during glycerol equilibration and during cooling for both good and bad freezers.



Title: Sperm modulation of the female adaptive immune response

Host: University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Main Supervisor: Prof Sean Fair (University of Limerick, Ireland;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of molecular techniques as applied to spermatology and immunology is an advantage.  

Project Description: Bull sperm are immunogenic in the uterus and we have recently demonstrated that sperm from high fertility bulls have a more active transcriptomic response leading to more rapid clearing of the endometrium of sperm as well as priming the endometrium for implantation. The objectives are (i) Using an established in vitro uterine explant model characterise the physiological role for sperm subpopulations (motile and non-motile) on the uterine immune response using a panel of pro-inflammatory genes and proteins. (ii) Using an in vivo model, investigate the uterine exposure of sperm from high and low field fertility bulls on the modulation of cytokine signalling, inflammation and immune response pathways both locally in the uterus as well as regionally in the cervix, uterine horn and oviduct. (iii) Investigate the effect of uterine conditioning by sperm from high and low fertility bulls during oestrus, on the developmental competence of in vitro derived embryos transferred to heifers on Day 7 and recovered on Day 15. (iv) Assess if repeated exposure of the endometrium of heifers with sperm dampens the immune response and, if so, what cells are being dampened



Title: Paternal sncRNAs legacy to the early embryo

Host: University College Dublin, Lyons Research Farm, Newcastle, Dublin, Ireland

Main Supervisor: Prof Pat Lonergan (University College Dublin;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of embryology and molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: Sperm can alter DNA methylation patterns, mRNAs, small non-coding RNAs, and proteins in the embryo after fertilisation. The objectives are to (i) Study the dynamics mRNAs/sncRNA expression in the early embryo at several key stages (blastocyst, elongating conceptus) (ii) Analyse the influence of sperm sncRNAs on embryonic gene expression (iii) Infer causal networks and disrupted pathways from these data (iv) Explore in-depth the role of some key networks involved in embryo development.

Students will receive training on in vitro fertilisation and embryo production, non-invasive integration of sncRNAs in embryos, quantification of gene expression in the early embryo and bioinformatic analysis through courses at UCD and secondments abroad.



Title: Distributed machine-learning for the prediction of fertility; FAIR data management, methods to handle privacy sensitive data, knowledge graphs.

Host: University of Cologne, Germany

Main Supervisor: Prof Oya Beyan (University of Cologne;; Prof. Stefan Wesner (, Prof Achim Tresch (University of Cologne;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in computer science, statistics, big data, machine learning or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of FAIR management systems and knowledge graph database systems is an advantage.  

Project Description: Analysing complex data sets, such as sperm quality data, requires the secure integration of heterogeneous and cost-intensive modification of data format. Moreover, lack of transparency about data quality and provenance is a cause for severe reproducibility and reusability issues. The objectives are to (i) Acquisition and curation of a high-quality data set that follows the FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) that serves as input to machine-learning algorithms. Introduction of standardized vocabularies and ontologies. (ii) Development of data connectors (software interfaces) to secure data access from every participating animal breeding centre. Improvements in existing workflows and data-processing pipelines, following compliance with domain standards and practices. (iii) Introduction of a data usage license management. Identify different license types, develop machine-readable versions of them. Automate validation of certificates. (iv) Create knowledge graph database by embedding heterogenous data sets (sperm quality, genomics, transcriptomics, microbiome, field fertility) and applying privacy preserving techniques to query the sensitive data without revealing the proprietary information.



Title: Development of machine-learning tools for the prediction of fertility; Building of classifiers and data analysis 

Host: University of Cologne, Germany

Main Supervisor: Prof Achim Tresch (University of Cologne;; Prof Oya Beyan (University of Cologne;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in machine learning, statistics, data analytics, applied mathematics or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of advanced machine-learning techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description:

Most studies predicting the fertility of conventional semen only have field data at the bull level which is a major limitation. This project aims to relate in vitro sperm quality and molecular data of sex-sorted semen at the ejaculate level to field fertility. The objectives are to (i) Quantify the inter- and intra-ejaculate variability of sperm quality and its impact on fertility in a multi-centric study, using computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) and flow cytometry data from replicate samples from hundreds of bulls from each breeding centre used for sex sorting. (ii) Quantify the dependency of molecular data (sperm transcriptomics and microbiome datasets) and microscopically determined sperm parameters (CASA, flow cytometry). (iii) Use advanced machine-learning techniques and variable selection/dimension reduction to improve the prediction of the primary endpoints including cryotolerance and the fertility of sex-sorted and conventional semen. Data integration of further molecular covariates (16s rDNA, structural DNA variants, proteomics) and testing for their added predictive value. (iv) Establish an analysis workflow, together with a software tool for the selection of ejaculates/bulls by breeding centres..



Title: Potential vectors modulating sperm-to-sperm interaction for improving sperm quality and fertility

Host: University of Zurich, Switzerland

Main Supervisor: Prof Heinrich Bollwein (University of Zurich; Switzerland;; Dr Eleni  Malana (University of Zurich; Switzerland;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of spermatology and molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: It has been shown that heterospermic insemination doses, has improved post-thaw sperm quality characteristics compared to homospermic doses and here we hypothesis that exosomes contained in the seminal plasma mediate sperm-to-sperm interactions. The objectives are: (i) To establish a model of good vs. bad freezers (sires with good vs. suboptimal sperm cryotolerance) based on a combination of pre-freeze vs. post-thaw sperm quality parameters and the quantitative characteristics of extracellular vesicles (exosomes) identified in the seminal plasma (SP). (ii) To characterise the secretion/molecular content (miRNA/sncRNA) of seminal exosomes (SE) in sperm of good vs. bad freezers. (iii) To characterise and compare the effects of whole SP, SP depleted of SE (SPdSE) and SE collected from good vs. bad freezers on fertility-relevant sperm quality parameters and developmental rates of in vitro produced embryos. (iv) To explore the role of SE in sperm-to-sperm interaction by comparing the sperm quality traits, the profile and miRNA cargo of SE in heterospermic vs. homospermic semen samples



Title: The contribution of structural variants to quantitative variation in the establishment of pregnancy

Host: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) of Zurich; Switzerland

Main Supervisor: Prof Hubert Pausch (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich; Switzerland;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in computational genomics, genetics, animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. Knowledge of bioinformatics and computational genomic techniques, as well as experience with a programming language is a prerequisite.  

Project Description: It is becoming increasingly evident (from species other than cattle), that structural variants are likely to have larger effects on phenotypes than SNPs and Indels but are not well captured by SNPs. The objectives are to (i) Identify structural variants (>50 bp) in the genome of bulls with low and high field fertility success (selected from ~3,500 genotyped AI bulls with field fertility data) from long sequencing reads mapped against a bovine pangenome. (ii) Derive structural variant genotypes from the pangenome and impute them into large and densely genotyped mapping cohorts with gene expression and fertility-related phenotypes. (iii) Association testing between structural variant genotypes and complex trait phenotypes (1300 Brown Swiss AI bulls with detailed semen quality records from ~70,000 ejaculates and field fertility data, as well as RNAseq-derived gene expression from testis, epididymis and vas deferens of 120 whole-genome sequenced bulls) to identify trait-associated structural variants. (iv) Partitioning of the heritability by variant annotations and transcriptome-wide association testing to quantify the contribution of structural variants to the genetic variation of traits relevant for male fertility.



Title: Post-testicular maturation markers to monitor bull fertility

Host: University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Main Supervisor: Prof. Ravinder Anand-Ivell (University of Nottingham;; Prof Richard Ivell (University of Nottingham;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of cell culture and molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: There is no published information on the development of the epididymal secretome through puberty, or whether this is synchronized to the appearance of sperm in the first ejaculates and hence to their fertility. The objectives are: (i) Develop a robust method to assess epididymal biomarkers of post-testicular sperm maturation in mature bulls comparing freshly ejaculated, diluted (with extender), and frozen-thawed preparations, as well as caudal epididymal and testicular sperm. (ii) Using a biomarker approach, compare the post-testicular (epididymal) sperm proteome from pubertal development to sexual maturity at bi-weekly intervals, and after nutritional modulation, thereby determining whether epididymal maturation develops synchronously with other sperm parameters. (iii) Characterise regulation of the mature bull epididymal secretome using primary cell culture. (iv) Monitor the role of INSL3, its receptor RXFP2, and related relaxin family hormones in the epididymis of the bull and assess their influence on semen quality.



Title: Semen microbiome and its relationship to fertility

Host: Queens University Belfast, United Kingdom

Main Supervisor: Prof Sharon Huws (Queens University Belfast, United Kingdom; Prof David Kenny (Teagasc Grange, Ireland;

Duration: 36 months starting July to September 2024

Profile: A candidate with a master’s degree in animal science, veterinary science, biological science or aligned field. In-depth knowledge of microbiological and molecular techniques is an advantage.  

Project Description: Bull semen has a rich microbiome but the origin and impact of this on sperm quality, cryotolerance and field fertility is unclear. The objectives are: (i) Characterise the diversity of the bull semen microbiome in neat semen and determine whether these microbiomes influence semen quality. (ii) Investigate the origin (lab, prepuce, epididymis testes, seminal glands) of semen microbiome and the effects of sperm processing and cryopreservation. (iii) Investigate the effects of key bacterial isolates isolated from (i) and (ii) on sperm quality and cryotolerance and field fertility after artificial insemination. (iv) Determine the effects of seminal exosomes on semen microbiomes in vitro.



Research Field: Biological sciences » Other

Education Level: Master Degree or equivalent


Depending on the position the candidates are applying for, applicants must demonstrate good knowledge in any of the following areas:

  • Animal/Veterinary Science
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Embryology
  • Cell Biology including Sperm Cell Biology
  • Data Science and Machine Learning
Specific Requirements
  • For specific degree requirements, check ‘Profile’ within each project description (under DC1, DC2, DC3 etc).
  • An in-depth knowledge of microbiological and molecular techniques is an advantage but not mandatory.  
  • Applicants must speak and write fluently in English

Languages: ENGLISH

Level: Excellent


Additional Information


The candidates will be employed according to the MSCA Doctoral Network rules and follow the regulations of the hosting institution.  The financial package will include the monthly researcher allowances subdivided into

1) a living allowance of €3,400 per month (country correction coefficient applies - The living allowance is a gross amount, including compulsory deductions under national law, such as employer and employee social security contributions and direct taxes)

2) a mobility allowance of €600 per month and,

3) family allowance (€660) per month, where applicable*. 

Doctoral candidates will be given an employment contract for 36 months by their host institution and will be entitled to full employee benefits and inclusion in social security schemes of the host country.

You have the chance to join a comprehensive, interactive and international training programme, as well as training across international institutions

Eligibility criteria
  • Supported researchers: applicants must be doctoral candidates, i.e., not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of recruitment. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible.
  • Mobility rule: researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (e.g., work, studies) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date.
Selection process


Application Procedure

Applications (in English) must include the following documents in a single PDF file:

1.  Cover letter (max 500 words) including a statement why you are suited for this position, your expected impact on the project and your preferred top 3 ranked projects (e.g. 1. DC1, 2. DC2, 3. DC3 with 1 being your first choice) if more than one would be suitable for you.

In your cover letter, please indicate if you are open to being considered for other projects outside of your top 3 that are listed in this advert.

2. Curriculum vitae (max 3 pages) - the CV must be without gaps, in order to easily check the mobility and experience requirements. 

3. Transcripts of B.Sc. and M.Sc. courses, including grades.

4. One written academic reference included

In case the Master’s Degree has not been obtained at the closing date for application, the candidate has to submit a declaration signed by their supervisor or University official stating that the degree will be obtained by the time of PhD enrolment (1st September 2024)


Please send your application documents in a single PDF to 

The subject line of the email must be in the following format: “BullNet: application for DC##_Title of PhD project”.  The closing date for applications is 2 May 2024 at 15.00 Dublin time.  Ineligible or incomplete applications will not be considered.

The candidates will initially be evaluated on the basis of the received documents against the following criteria:
•    Academic record
•    Scientific quality of the applicant’s CV
•    Expected individual impact and benefit to the fellow and to the project
•    Previous experience in the subject areas of Bullnet

Shortlisting and Interviews

The short-listed candidates will then be interviewed by a panel that will include the recruiting PIs plus additional consortium members with a balance in terms of gender and varied sector experience.  Candidates, positively evaluated but not initially selected, will be put on a reserve list.

The selection procedure will be open, transparent, and merit-based, fully aligned with the EURAXESS Code of Conduct (  Although the selection will be based on the quality of applications, gender balance will also be considered.

Recruitment calendar:

Call opening: 8 April 2024

Deadline for applications: 2 May 2024 15.00

Remote evaluation: Mid-May 2024

Interviews: Late May to early June 2024

Notification to candidates: Mid to late June 2024

Start date for the doctoral candidates: 1 September 2024



Work Location(s)

Number of offers available: 14

Company/Institute: Across Europe - See specific project description (under DC1, DC2, DC3 etc) for more information on lead institution

Country: Ireland

State/Provinc: Limerick

City: Castletroy

Postal Code: V94 T9PX

Prof. David Kenny Appointed as President of the British Society of Animal Science Marking a Milestone for Ireland

The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) proudly announces the appointment of Professor David Kenny as its new President, marking a significant milestone as only the second president based in the Republic of Ireland. Prof. Kenny follows in the footsteps of Dr. Jim O’Grady, who served from 1990 to 1991, in representing Ireland's vibrant contributions to the field of animal science.

Prof. Kenny's presidency comes at an exciting time, coinciding with the announcement that the BSAS Annual Conference in 2025 will be hosted in Galway, Ireland, from 8th to 10th April. The theme, "Animal Science supporting livestock's role in a global society," underscores the critical role of animal science in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the livestock industry worldwide.

Prof. Kenny's appointment reinforces the society's commitment to driving collaboration among scientists, industry professionals, and policymakers to address pressing challenges and opportunities in livestock farming [and animal welfare] and nurturing the next generation of animal scientists. His dedication to excellence and passion for advancing the field make him an ideal choice to lead the society forward.

"We are delighted to welcome Prof. David Kenny as our new President," said Maggie Mitchell, CEO of the British Society of Animal Science. "His extensive expertise and leadership qualities will be invaluable as we continue to drive advancements in animal science for the benefit of society and the environment."

Expressing his gratitude and enthusiasm, Prof. Kenny stated, "I am honoured and privileged to lead the British Society of Animal Science as president for the next 12 months. The society continues to play a pivotal role as a platform for the widespread dissemination of state-of-the-art research findings, professional development, education, and as a representative body for the animal science sector."

As Head of the Teagasc Animal and Bioscience Research Department in Ireland, Prof. Kenny brings over 25 years of research experience to his new role. His expertise spans a wide range of topics, including the biological control of economically important traits in ruminant livestock production systems, ruminal methanogenesis, and the development and functionality of the rumen microbiome.

Prof. Kenny's commitment to research and education is exemplified by his supervision of 19 Ph.D. and numerous M.Sc. students. his extensive publication record, which includes over 200 internationally peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and book chapters. He is a recognised leader in the field, serving as the incoming president of BSAS, president of the Physiology Study Commission of the European Association of Animal Production, and a member of the management board of the international scientific journal, animal.

Among his many accolades, Prof. Kenny was awarded the prestigious Hammond Award by BSAS in 2018 for his outstanding contributions to understanding how nutrition affects economically important traits in cattle. Beyond his academic pursuits, Prof. Kenny is deeply involved in the agricultural community, running a beef and sheep farm in County Mayo, Ireland, and actively engaging with the beef cattle sector and wider agricultural industry.

"I intend to work closely with the presidential team and the Trustees to further grow the society's membership, events, publications, and training opportunities," Prof. Kenny affirmed. "Together, we will continue the diligent work of our predecessors in ensuring the viability and continued development of BSAS into the future."

Prof. David Kenny's presidency heralds a new chapter for the British Society of Animal Science, marked by innovation, collaboration, and a steadfast commitment to advancing the frontiers of animal science for the betterment of society and the environment.

About the British Society of Animal Science:

The British Society of Animal Science is a leading professional organisation dedicated to advancement of animal science. Through its activities, the society promotes collaboration, knowledge exchange, and innovation among researchers, educators, industry professionals, and policymakers to address global challenges in animal agriculture and sustainability.

About Prof. David Kenny:

Professor David Kenny is Head of the Teagasc Animal and Bioscience Research Department in Ireland. He has over 25 years of research experience in the biological control of a range of economically important traits to ruminant livestock production systems, including growth and reproductive efficiency, ruminal methanogenesis and the development and functionality of the rumen microbiome. He has supervised the studies of 19 Ph.D. and nine M.Sc. students to completion, as principal supervisor and his research has resulted in the publication of over 200 full length internationally peer reviewed scientific manuscripts and book chapters to-date. He is the incoming president of the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS; April 2024), president of the Physiology Study Commission of the European Association of Animal Production and is a member of the management board of the international scientific journal, Animal. He has led many large research consortia and is currently co-ordinator of the recently awarded €5m Horizon Europe project, ‘Towards sustainable livestock systems: European platform for evidence building and transitioning policy (STEP UP)’. He was awarded the prestigious Hammond award by BSAS in 2018 in recognition of outstanding contribution to an improved understanding of how nutrition affects the complex underlying biology regulating economically important traits in cattle, including feed efficiency, rumen methane emissions and male and female reproduction.

He runs a beef and sheep farm in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland and is integrally involved, and is well known, within the beef cattle sector and wider agricultural industry in Ireland.

Keynote (test) Event

Exploring the mind of farm animals to improve welfare

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person? In other words are you an optimist or a pessimist? What you might actually have noticed is that your underlying moods and emotions influence how you interpret the world around you. Having a good day with everything going well and in a positive mood then you might well be viewing the world through a glass half full lens. On the flip side if you’ve had one of those bad days, things might well look more pessimistic overall. This in fact represents an adaptive form of cognitive bias whereby our underlying emotional state influences our interpretation of ambiguous information. Importantly, in recent years we have demonstrated that non-human animals, including a range of farm animal species also demonstrate these cognitive biases. This matters for two important reasons. First it provides evidence that animals experience emotions and second it has implications for animal welfare.


An influential model of animal welfare assessment is the Five Domains Model that considers the domains of nutrition, physical environment, health and behavioural interactions, all of which feed into a fifth domain of mental state. This holistic approach helps emphasise that animal welfare is more than health. An animal can be healthy but have poor welfare. Thus, it highlights the importance of mental wellbeing. However, this presents a major challenge as how do we assess mental wellbeing in farm animals that can’t communicate directly with us? This has led to exciting, pioneering research that aims to better understand the emotional lives of non-human animals. Rather than using the word ‘emotion’, the more technical term used in this area is affective state. So now back to cognitive bias!


This approach has been developed by Professor Mike Mendl, Dr Liz Paul and others from the University of Bristol. Back in 2004, they published an influential Nature paper that has ultimately led to a new area of animal welfare science. In the 2004 study they trained lab rats so that when they heard one sound frequency they could receive a food reward by pressing a lever. Thus that sound frequency predicted a positive reward. They were also trained that when they heard a second different sound frequency they needed to avoid pressing the lever or something negative would happen (e.g. a blast of white noise). Once the rats learnt this so called ‘Go / No-go’ task, half of them were maintained in standard housing conditions. However, the other half were placed under housing conditions known to induce a degree of stress (e.g. damp bedding and unpredictable husbandry regimes). This experimental treatment was the manipulation of emotional state, the prediction being that those housed in unpredictable conditions would be in a more negative affective state than those maintained in the standard housing conditions. Following the housing period, the rats were then re-tested in the previous learning task. However, this included an important clever additional element! In addition to giving the rats trials where they heard the previously learnt sound tones, one frequency predicting the positive reward and the other something negative, in some trials they also played a sound frequency that was intermediate between the two previously learnt cues. That is, they exposed the rats to an ambiguous stimulus, essentially asking does the animal perceive it as predicting a reward or predicting a punishment. The prediction was that if those housed in the predictable housing were in a more positive emotional state than those in the unpredictable housing the former would be more likely to respond to the ambiguous sound tone as if it predicted a food reward. This was indeed what they found. This pioneering study then set the scene for a suite of so called judgement bias tasks than now span from invertebrates to a range of farm animal species, and was the subject of a recent meta-analysis of the topic. This includes some of my own research which has used the approach to demonstrate that giving dairy cows access to pasture had benefits for their affective state. Also, in work as part of a collaboration with Professor Simon Turner at SRUC in Edinburgh, we’re using the approach in pigs to assess if those animals that have lost an aggressive encounter are in a more negative affective state compared to winners. This matters because regrouping aggression is a welfare issue that needs to be managed in pig production.


Using judgement bias to infer animal emotion also has a number of limitations. For example, the approach of first training an animal on an associative learning task means it is only feasible in a research setting and not practical for on farm welfare assessment. This has sparked interesting research in alternative approaches. One such approach is termed attention bias. This is another form of cognitive bias whereby animals (including humans) in a negative affective state will pay more attention to potentially threatening stimuli compared with those in a more positive affective state. For example, this approach has been pharmacologically validated in sheep. In the study, individual sheep were allocated to one of three treatments, receiving either an anxiogenic drug to increase anxiety, an anxiolytic to reduce anxiety or a saline control. They were tested individually in an arena during which they were briefly exposed to a threatening stimulus (a dog seen through a window which was then covered after a short period of time). Subsequently those given the anxiogenic drug spent more time being vigilant and looking towards were the threat had been, while also being less likely to feed. This approach has the advantage of not requiring the animals to have been previously trained on a task. It has been used in a number of practical settings. For example, we’ve recently used it in a study involving dogs from a licenced breeding establishment and demonstrating that those that had been given additional environmental enrichment were less vigilant in an attention bias test, consistent with a more positive affective state. We’ve also recently used it as part of a study comparing the welfare of sheep managed using either virtual fencing or physical fencing and if you’re interested you can hear the results of that study at the upcoming BSAS conference!


While attention bias avoids the need for animals to learn a task, it is still not practical for inclusion in on farm assessments of animal welfare. For that an approach called Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) is proving very useful. QBA was pioneered and developed by Professor Francoise Wemelsfelder based at SRUC in Edinburgh. The approach involves a holistic assessment of the behavioural expression of an individual animal in relation to a list of descriptive terms, with the animal scored on a scale for each term. The descriptive terms could include words such as ‘relaxed’, ‘alert’, and ‘playful’. This sounds highly subjective and anthropomorphic. However, there is convincing evidence that how animals score using QBA is related to other validated measures of welfare. Indeed, the utility and success of this non-invasive observational approach is also evidenced by the fact it has now been incorporated into a number of UK assurance schemes used by retailers.


Previously research on animal emotion and sentience was deemed somewhat off limits and anthropomorphic. Now, thanks to pioneering researchers and advances in animal welfare science we are beginning to shed light on the mental wellbeing of non-human animals. However, there is still much that remains to be explored. In biology and science in general we talk about the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. Research into animal mental states is within this challenging area. Rather than shy away from this we should embrace it and use it to attract talented researchers who like a challenge! Animal welfare science brings together a range of disciplines and perspectives with the goal of generating and using fundamental knowledge and understanding to have applied relevance to improve the lives of animals. Animal sentience, the capacity to experience emotions both positive and negative, is now enshrined in UK law with the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022. Importantly this includes all vertebrates, as well as invertebrate decapod crustaceans and cephalopods. This is also raising the question regarding other species not currently included in the Act. For example, in the cognitive bias studies discussed above, honey bees have been found to perform as well as many other vertebrate species! With this in mind I see there is an interesting session on insect welfare at the upcoming conference. The UK also has the recent Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act 2023 with the aim of harnessing advances in animal breeding technology to enhance performance, health and welfare. While technologies in this area can have great potential the legislation also requires approaches to follow up with welfare assessments of the animals involved. It will be important that this includes practical approaches to assess mental state and wellbeing. This is an exciting time to be involved in animal welfare science. For those interested in finding out more about the opportunities for research in this multidisciplinary area then take a look at the Animal Welfare Research Network ( This is funded by BBSRC and Defra and is free to join.      


Written by Gareth Arnott, Queens University Belfast

Frank Dunshea

The winds of change are blowing at animal – open spac

The winds of change are blowing! When animal – open space was launched in June 2021, one of the aims was to propose an alternative to the standard external peer review of manuscripts. We believe that external peer review contributes to but is not a guarantee of the quality of a scientific paper. We see this nowadays with papers being published by journals after a peer review of doubtful quality. Open Science thus puts a greater responsibility on the shoulders of readers. Up to now, manuscripts in animal – open space were reviewed by scientific editors of the journal who meticulously evaluate the content of the manuscripts, focusing on the reproducibility of the study and the associated data. In accordance with the philosophy of Open Science, the journal set up a postpublication, open-commenting process that allows readers to interact with authors through the PubPeer platform via a link called “Discuss the Article”. The intention was to encourage an open discussion about the published article and replace the “hidden” reviews done by a couple of peers. Unfortunately, this reader-author interaction has not been widely used. Is the scientific community not ready yet to engage in such an open discussion? Are we too early with this approach? This remains unclear. Nevertheless, in addition to the peer-review, the goal remains to foster an open dialogue between readers and authors regarding the published article.

Authors who published their research results and the associated data in animal – open space support the concept of Open Science promoted by the journal. However, other authors have been reluctant because their institutions request them to publish research only in journals with an Impact Factor. We recently learned that animal - open space is not eligible to apply for indexation in the Journal Citation Reports database (WoS) to get an Impact Factor because it does not have implemented an external peer review process. We regret this position, but this is as it stands now. Again, we might have been too early in trying to fully embrace Open Science. Those who rely on metrics probably put too much value on external peer review as a key to scientific quality. Our view is that it is better to have a solid open internal peer review process than to pretend to do this with a non-transparent external peer review process. But we have to face reality. Whether we like it or not, Impact Factor is still perceived as an indicator of the quality of a journal, and having an external peer review is necessary to be eligible for getting one. The journal has therefore decided to add an external peer review process to papers submitted to animal – open space. In line with our philosophy, the reviewers’ comments and authors’ response will be accessible to readers as supplementary material with the manuscript. As the editor-in-chief of the journal, I am excited about this new step in the development of animal - open space. I hope that all those reading these lines will consider this journal for future publications, especially for types of publications such as Data Papers and Method Articles.

animal – open space will continue offering the possibility to publish not only classical Research Articles but also Data Papers and Method Articles that relate to farmed or other managed animals, leisure and companion animals, and the use of insects for animal feed and human food. By the end of 2023, 54 manuscripts have been published, including 5 data papers and 12 method papers. Despite being a new journal in the livestock research field, the articles published in animal – open space are well-perceived by the community.

Especially encouraging is the fact that Data Papers and Method Articles published in 2022 have already been cited in 2023, indicating that these types of articles are highly valued by the research community.

The animal Consortium is seeking an editor-in-chief for animal – science proceedings

animal – science proceedings is one of the three scientific journals jointly owned by a Consortium comprised of the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS), the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) and the Institut National de Recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement (INRAE).  The journals are currently published by Elsevier.

animal – science proceedings publishes high-quality proceedings from conferences, symposia and workshops on aspects of life sciences with emphasis on farmed and other managed animals, leisure and companion animals, and insects. More information about animal – science proceedings can be found on the websites of the Consortium and the publisher.

The Consortium is seeking candidates for the position of Editor-in-Chief for animal – science proceedings. The Editor-in-Chief ensures the co-ordination, preparation and publication of the journal, in co-ordination with the publisher.

The Editor-in-chief is responsible for the development of the journal within the framework of the budget defined by the Management Board, to:

  • propose the scientific guidelines of the journal to the Management Board
  • ensure the scientific quality of the journal
  • ensure good relations with conference organisers and with the guest editors for the issue
  • ensure harmonious relations with the publisher or printer, or the service provider in charge of digital dissemination of the journal


His/her main activities are to:

  • organise all aspects of the editorial process
  • liaise with the publisher to provide conference organisers with deadlines and costs
  • agree guest editors with the conference organisers
  • liaise with the conference organisers to ensure deadlines are met and the manuscript provided for publication meet journal guidelines
  • liaise regularly with the publisher in relation to the production of the journal and to other matters such as marketing
  • liaise with the other editors to identify full (review) articles from conferences that may be published in animal
  • meet the scientific and publication targets set by the Management Board
  • operate within budget framework defined by the Management Board
  • undertake any other activities as determined by the Management Board

There are normally between five and nine issues per year that require a time commitment of three working days an issue on average. In addition, about 10 days are required for attendance animal consortium meetings, most of which are virtual. Candidates are expected to have experience in writing scientific articles, to possess good communication skills, and to take initiative while being a team player. The Editor-in-Chief will receive a fixed honorarium for his/her activities.

For more information about this position, please contact Jaap van Milgen (chair of the animal Consortium; or Cledwyn Thomas (current Editor-in-Chief of animal – science proceedings;

Candidates are asked to send their CV and a short motivation letter to Jaap van Milgen by May 15th, 2024. The appointment can start in September 2024, and includes a 4-months transition period with the current Editor-in-Chief. 

Your Guide to BSAS 2024

Accounts 2023

Northern Ireland Pork & Bacon Forum

BSAS 2024 - Key Sessions

Lance Woods

An interview with animal’s new editor-in-chief, Dr Isabelle Louveau

About Dr Isabelle Louveau, Editor-in-Chief

  • 1991 : Doctorate in Biology, Rennes 1 University, France, with an 18-month internship in a research laboratory at Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA
  • 1992 : recruitment as a researcher in INRA (French National Institute of Research in Agronomy, now INRAE)
  • 2006 : Accreditation to supervise research
  • 2005-20007 : Editor, Domestic Animal Endocrinology's editorial board
  • 2015–2019 : "Physiology" section editor, Livestock Science's editorial board
  • Since 2015 : Editor, Journées de la Recherche Porcine (Swine Days' Research) organisation committee
  • 2017–2022 : Vice-president, Commission on Animal Physiology, EAAP (2 terms)
  • 2020-2023 : Editor and then Deputy Section Editor, Physiology & Functional Biology Section, animal's editorial board
  • From 2024 : Editor-in-chief, animal


Who owns animal?

The animal journal is part of a journal family (animal, animal – science proceedings, and animal – open space) owned by an international consortium comprised of two learned societies and one research institution:

All decisions regarding animal are made by the consortium. The journal is completely independent in its editorial policy and strategy. The royalties it receives (45% of income for each published article) are shared between the consortium members. These funds are then allocated to finance conferences, targeted research actions, etc. Read more here.


1. After a transition period at the end of 2019, animal implemented Gold Open Access in 2020. What consequences did you observe after this change of business model, from 2020 up to 2024?

  • We first observed a change in submitting authors' geographical profiles. Some countries cannot afford article-publishing charges and no longer submit as a result. The animal journal is a member of Research4Life, a partnership that grants waivers to teams of researchers from low-income countries. We can also offer a limited number of waivers. Despite these two schemes though, we have unfortunately lost submissions from these countries.
  • animal's impact factor did not decrease when we transitioned to the Gold Open Access model. On the contrary, it rose above the threshold of three in 2021. This threshold is a minimum requirement to publish for some institutions. As a result, some authors who previously would not submit started to send us articles. More recently, Clarivate has changed its calculation methods for impact factors. This led to a better ranking for animal amongst journals of the same category.
  • On the whole though, transitioning to a Gold Open Access model has caused a 30 to 40% decrease in the overall number of submissions. We have only recently (since summer 2023) started to observe a slight pick-up in the number of submissions.
  • As for the quality of submissions: it has spread out towards the extremes. We receive a significantly greater number of out-of-scope or sub-standard quality articles. However, we also receive more articles of excellent quality. The overall quality of acceptable and accepted articles has noticeably increased.


2. Could you tell us more about the journal's scope widening to include insects, as of 2024?

  • The decision to widen animal's scope to include insects was made by the journal's Management Board. It stems from the Board's will to adapt to the development of new livestock farming sectors, as evidenced by the ever-increasing number of communications concerning or including insect production submitted to EAAP's Annual Meetings.
  • The journal's scope has now been adapted to include insects. However, just as for all other animal species within the scope:
    • It is the production aspect and rearing factors that are of interest for animal;
    • Animal responses must be included, in particular whole-animal outcomes.
  • This new section will be cross-disciplinary and theme-based: it will be centred around insects and all aspects of insect production, unlike other sections, which are organised by disciplines.
  • The new Section Editor, as well as a Deputy Section Editor and a few editors, have already been recruited.
  • Submissions of articles about insect production are already welcome!


3. What is animal's editorial policy regarding the quality assessment of articles?

Articles are assessed through a multi-criterion evaluation. It entails:

  • Assessing overall comprehensibility, including
    • the quality of scientific content, that is the clarity of the expression of ideas and scientific concepts,
    • the quality of the English language used and its legibility;
  • Ensuring that principles of responsible publishing and ethics are respected, for instance by
    • detecting plagiarism,
    • ensuring that international authorship standards are upheld and CRediT author statement is used,
    • ensuring that any use of artificial intelligence to assist in writing be duly acknowledged;
  • Evaluating the scientific quality and the reproducibility of the research presented.

Recently, we have decided to raise our standards when it comes to statistics in articles, to foster a better understanding of studies and their analysis by readers. We will soon publish a Statistics guidebook for authors, reviewers, and editors, which will formalise our expectations and provide guidance to support authors and help them to produce robust and reproducible statistics.

BSAS hosts Annual Conference in Belfast amid 80th anniversary celebrations

BSAS hosts conference amid 80th anniversary celebrations

The British Society of Animal Science’s (BSAS) Annual Conference, is set to take place in Belfast from April 9th to April 11th, 2024, coinciding with the society's 80th anniversary celebrations. Established in 1944, BSAS has been at the forefront of fostering collaboration and innovation in animal science for eight decades.

The conference, themed on ‘The role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy’ is shaping up to be a dynamic and enriching event, offering unparalleled opportunities for learning, networking, and collaboration as it will convene experts, researchers, and enthusiasts from across the UK and Ireland and beyond to discuss and explore the latest scientific advancements and knowledge.

The opening session of the conference will include Prof Maggie Gill (Aberdeen Uni), Prof Frank O’Mara of Teagasc and the EU Animal Task Force and Dr Katie McDermott (University of Leeds).  Frank will be the main speaker opening the debate and outlining the current state of knowledge with regard to the role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy.

A further highlight of this year's conference is the President’s Session (Wednesday 10th April), in which the presidents of the British Ecological Society (Prof Bridget Emmett; UKCEH); British Society of Soil Science (Dr Jack Hannan, Cranfield Uni); President-Elect from the Agricultural Economics Society of Ireland (Dr Erin Sherry, AFBI) and Elizabeth Magowan, President of BSAS, will come together to discuss and find a fact-based position on the role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy. The session will be chaired by a past President of the Ulster Farmers Union – Prof John Gilliland.   The presidents session will be followed by the ‘Hammond Lecture’ which will be delivered by Prof Hannah Van Zanten of Wageningen University.  Hannah is a world leading scientist, and her presentation will outline novel approaches to driving circularity in farming systems with Livestock a key feature of that circular system.

On Thursday 11th April, sessions on sustainable beef production and reducing the environmental impact of dairy systems will address the potential interventions which will reduce emissions and how we can apply science to best benefit.

The highlights above are just a few examples of the cutting-edge science and its practical application that will be discussed and debated at the conference. Full programme details can be found here.

There are various options for attending e.g. one day ticket, three day ticket, 80th anniversary Gala dinner ticket and a one off special offer of £120 to attend the presidents session noted above, including lunch.

AFBI Quality Assurance Manager (Livestock Science) - Higher Scientific Officer

REF: IRC300577

DEPARTMENT: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Northern Ireland (AFBI)

SALARY: £32,880 - £34,011

LOCATION: AFBI Hillsborough, Co. Down BT26 6DR


Further appointments may be made from this competition should AFBI positions become vacant which have similar duties and responsibilities.
For more detailed information, including the duties and responsibilities of the post, and the criteria to be used during the recruitment and selection process, please click on the Candidate Information Booklet link below.

In order to apply for this position, please click on the “Apply for this job online” link below to register to this vacancy and to submit an online application.

Completed application forms must be submitted no later than 12:00 noon (UK time) on Friday 5th April 2024.
Applications are particularly welcomed from Roman Catholics and Females as these groups are currently under-represented within AFBI.
All queries can be directed to HRConnect by:
Telephone: 0800 1 300 330

Colin Smith

James Taylor

BSAS Undergraduate Thesis of the Year Award 2024 is open!

Do you have animal science and related subject students that deserve special recognition?

The BSAS Undergraduate Thesis of the Year Award 2024 competition is open to universities and colleges that have students participating in animal science related courses.
The award looks to acknowledge the best of undergraduate research and offers the winner the opportunity to have a summary of their work published on the BSAS website. The prestigious award aims to demonstrate the quality of animal science students and their work globally, to both academic nd industry audiences.

To enter this competition, you are invited to submit up to 2 entries showcasing the highest quality theses or dissertations, submitted in 2024, from your animal science students. We are accepting theses on a diverse range of subjects,
covering any species companion, livestock or zoo, in all fields of animal science.

• Areas and specialisms related to the welfare and productivity of farm animals to help produce quality, safe and environmentally sustainable food
• Animal health and welfare
• Management of equine, companion and captive zoo animals
• Only theses adhering to this stated scope will be considered


Opportunity to present at the BSAS Annual Conference 2025
• Abstract written in Proceedings
• Complimentary BSAS 2025 Annual Conference Pass
• £150 towards travel and accommodation
• Thesis will be summarised for publication in the BSAS Fledgling Bytes series and a profile piece ont he winner will be included in the BSAS newsletter.

For further details and guidelines please visit:

Deadline: 31st July 2024

Thesis of the Year

Animal welfare of grazing ruminants and its relationship with sustainability

Livestock farming, especially ruminants like sheep and cattle, plays a crucial role in rural landscapes by providing essential services such as nutrition, soil health, biodiversity management, and support for local communities. However, this industry has become a topic of societal debate due to concerns about animal welfare, the impact of consuming animal products on human health, and the environmental footprint of livestock production. Achieving sustainability in this complex landscape requires careful consideration of economic, environmental, and social factors, along with the inherent trade-offs. Therefore, exploring the intricate relationship between animal welfare, including the Nutritional, Environmental, and Health Domain (NEHD) and the Behavioural and Mental State Domain (BMSD), and the economic, societal, and environmental pillars of sustainability within grazing ruminant systems is necessary.

Grazing, which aligns with the natural behaviour of ruminants, is considered more welfare-friendly. However, disparities arise due to management practices and environmental conditions, prompting a need for equilibrium between NEHD and BMSD. While grazing emerges as a competitive and sustainable system for dairy cows, challenges persist, including seasonal variations, genetic considerations, and the fulfilment of natural feeding behaviours. The impact of grazing on cow welfare, particularly in terms of BMSD, remains a relatively unexplored aspect, warranting further research and attention. The delicate interplay between NEHD and BMSD in grazing systems highlights the nuanced challenges faced by livestock farmers. Grazing allows animals to express natural behaviours and provides space for exercise, yet concerns linger about disease detection, nutritional adequacy, and exposure to unpredictable weather. This intricate relationship underscores the interconnected dimensions of animal welfare, economic viability, societal demands, and environmental impacts.

High animal welfare is identified as a linchpin for livestock farming success, influencing productivity and overall economic performance. While enhancing welfare may incur increased production costs, opportunities for win-win scenarios exist, such as extending the grazing season, positively impacting both economic returns and BMSD welfare. Initiatives like 'Milk from Happy Cows' and 'Pasture for Life' exemplify the synergies between economic returns, animal welfare, and successful marketing strategies. Beyond dairy, synergies between animal welfare and farm productivity also extend to meat production in pasture-based systems. These systems are marketed as 'natural' and 'quality', which align with consumer preferences. However, interventions aimed at boosting productivity may pose challenges to animal welfare. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider and maintain a delicate balance that ensures both profitability and ethical standards, especially in larger operations.

The ability of animals to optimise their nutrient efficiency through self-selection of diets represents a synergy, since potential environmental benefits can arise. However, pasture alone may not meet performance expectations. This necessitates using supplementation to fulfil genetic potential, which can impact emissions intensity.

Synergies between animal welfare and the environment are particularly evident in silvopastoral systems. Integrating livestock and trees in these systems enhances animal welfare, biodiversity, and microclimatic conditions. This showcases positive behaviours and reduces stress. The broader environmental benefits associated with nutrient distribution and soil health further emphasize the importance of holistic approaches in sustainable grazing ruminant systems.

When it comes to addressing societal needs, the focus shifts to delivering accessible, high-quality nutrition through grazed pastures. Products from these systems have an enriched nutritional profile, offering beneficial fats and fat-soluble vitamins. However, challenges such as reduced iodine concentration in pasture-based organic milk highlight the need for a delicate balance between meeting nutritional quality and societal demands.

Production methods, especially in pasture-based systems, face scrutiny in the context of marketing strategies targeting discerning consumers. While these strategies may allow for premium pricing, the discussion emphasizes the need for societal considerations to ensure that high-quality nutrition remains accessible to all. Grazing livestock not only meets nutritional needs but also fulfils additional societal requirements related to rural access, countryside stewardship, and supporting rural communities.

Viewing animal welfare as a system involving animals, caretakers, oversight bodies, stakeholders, and citizens highlights the complexity faced by the entire supply chain and society when it comes to agreeing on standards in this socially and ecologically interdependent system. Achieving sustainable livestock farming requires a holistic understanding and thoughtful integration of economic, societal, and environmental considerations.


By Jordana Rivero, Rothamsted University and Trustee of British Society of Animal Science

Thesis of the Year

The BSAS Undergraduate Thesis of the Year Award 2024 competition is open to universities and colleges that have students participating in animal science related courses.

Emily Hancock

John Gilliland

Georgina Chapman

SVS Autumn Conference

SVS Conference

23rd - 25th Sep 2024

MacDonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club

Monday 23rd – Wednesday 25th September 2024

At the MacDonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club, near Morpeth in Northumberland

SVS Spring Online Conference

Details coming soon

Quality Meat Scotland

CMVM / The Roslin Institute - Research Fellow

Job Info

  • Job Identification 9610
  • Locations Roslin Institute Building, Roslin, EH25 9RG, GB (100% On-campus)
  • Apply Before 15/04/2024, 23:59
  • Health and Safety Requirements Key hazards identified (plan is in place)
  • Criminal Record Check No criminal record check required
  • Contract Type Fixed Term
  • Number of Openings 1
  • Grade UE07
  • Organization Royal Dick Veterinary Studies, Royal Dick Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh University Group
  • Department The Roslin Institute
  • Job Function Researcher
  • Job Schedule Full time

Job Description

Research Fellow

CMVM / The Roslin Institute

Grade UE07 £37,099 to £44,263 per annum (A revised salary range for this grade of £39,347 to £46,974 is planned to take effect from Spring 2024)

Fixed term contract: funded to 17 April 2026

Full time: 35 Hours per week


The Opportunity:

The Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh is offering a postdoctoral position in the group of Prof Mike McGrew, one of the leading labs in genome editing technologies in bird species. This position is funded as part of an institution collaboration with a world leading poultry genetics company and the BBSRC. The project is to develop multiplex genome editing technology of chicken stem cells for the production of genome edited chicken. This project will advance the frontiers of genome editing in avian species by developing protocols to create multiple genetic changes in the genome of chicken.

The post-holder will be involved in the design of CRISPR/Cas9 experiments and reagents through to the analysis of genome edited chicken. Applicants should have PhD in Biological Science or related subject. The ideal candidate will be a self-motivated and proactive individual with strong skills in either in genome editing of mammalian stem cells, chicken stem cells and use of DNA editing reagents. Expertise in micromanipulation of chicken embryos would also be useful. In addition, bioinformatics skills that could be applied to the analysis post editing cell/animal genome integrity using DNAseq data would be useful but training could be provided. 

The applicant will complete high quality original research and will disseminate the data in refereed papers, presentations and conference abstracts. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a team as well as semi-independently are important, as the successful applicant will need to communicate their findings to stakeholders and industrial partners. 


Your skills and attributes for success: 

  • Experience in genome editing of stem cells
  • Micro-manipulation techniques of chicken embryos.
  • Experience with R or Python
  • Strong organisational, presentation and communication skills. Ability to generate good quality written reports in a timely manner.

Click to view a copy of the full job description (opens new browser tab) 

As a valued member of our team, you can expect: 

  • A competitive salary.
  • An exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. 
  • To be part of a diverse and vibrant international community.
  • Comprehensive Staff Benefits, such as a generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts, family-friendly initiatives, and flexible work options. Check out the full list on our staff benefits page (opens in a new tab) and use our reward calculator to discover the total value of your pay and benefits. 

Championing equality, diversity and inclusion

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. 

Prior to any employment commencing with the University you will be required to evidence your right to work in the UK. Further information is available on our right to work webpages (opens new browser tab).

The University is able to sponsor the employment of international workers in this role.  If successful, an international applicant requiring sponsorship to work in the UK will need to satisfy the UK Home Office’s English Language requirements and apply for and secure a Skilled Worker Visa.  

Key dates to note

The closing date for applications is on 15th April 2024.  

Unless stated otherwise the closing time for applications is 11:59pm GMT. If you are applying outside the UK the closing time on our adverts automatically adjusts to your browsers local time zone. 

Stephen Mansbridge

Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust invites applications for bursaries worth £20K


The Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust are now inviting applications for projects that will prioritise  improving the performance of British Agriculture and Horticulture covering:


  • The development and adoption of new technologies to improve productivity and product quality
  • New approaches to improve health, well-being and reduce environmental impact
  • Building and maintaining a premium brand identity
  • Initiatives to improve opportunities for people involved in agriculture and horticulture


Previous projects have covered Mindfulness, improving media communications for farmers, enhancing  public engagement,  farm-based community projects, mentoring farmers, Pod Casts on Time and helping Community Supported Agriculture.


A bursary of up to £20K is available with a deadline of 22 March 2024. 


Contact David at or Mike   For further information of an informal chat

Simon Doherty


The Impact of infectious disease on livestock health

The Impact of infectious disease on livestock health

BSAS membership has expertise across a vast range of animal science disciplines, including animal heath and welfare.

Livestock health is a critical component of agricultural systems worldwide. Whether it's dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, or poultry, maintaining the health and well-being of these animals is essential for sustainable farming practices. However, various factors, both infectious and non-infectious, can significantly impact livestock health, leading to economic losses, welfare issues and environmental concerns.

Infectious diseases pose a significant threat to livestock health. Pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and parasites cause a range of sub-clinical and clinical conditions. Outbreaks of exotic diseases such as the recent cases of Bluetongue in the South of England and avian flu within poultry flocks are newsworthy. Arguably, however, endemic diseases such as mastitis in dairy cattle and salmonellosis in chickens have the greatest impacts year on year. These diseases not only affect the health and welfare of animals but also have significant economic implications for farmers. Production losses, such as reduced milk or meat yields, directly impact farm revenues. Additionally, expenses incurred for disease treatment and prevention measures further strain agricultural budgets.

Moreover, livestock health issues are often seen now within a One Health framework, emphasising the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. In the setting of livestock production, this approach highlights the importance of addressing zoonotic diseases, which are infections that can be transmitted between animals and humans. Zoonotic diseases such as toxoplasmosis, salmonellosis and avian flu pose risks to both animal and human populations, in particular to those in direct contact with infected livestock and livestock products.

However, within the One Health context the environmental impact of livestock disease is often overlooked. Control of livestock disease is a win: win: win in terms of human health, financial viability but also environmental sustainability of the industry. The involuntary culling of sick animals that lead to the increased numbers of replacement animals, the costs associated with the production of milk discarded due to elevated somatic cell counts or maintenance of a pregnancy that results in a dead calf or lamb significantly contribute to environmental stressors such as land use, Greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and waste management.

Maintaining and improving livestock health is therefore paramount for the future of sustainable agriculture, with implications for production efficiency, farm finances, and the environment. Our members are working to build evidence to deliver knowledge for farmers to optimise the health of their animals. Our annual conference is a great place to come and hear what we are doing in this area.

Author: Nick Wheelhouse, Associate Professor in Microbiology at Edinburgh Napier University

Nutrition Society Congress 2024

Nutrition Society Congress 2024: New data – focused approaches and challenges

This conference is endorsed by the Association for Nutrition EN438

Join us as we kick off the Society’s inaugural Congress!

Unique to the new Congress (previously the Summer Conference) is that you will have greater opportunity to engage with more nutrition science than ever before. In 2024 the core programme will be delivered by the Irish Section of The Nutrition Society, supported by the Science Committee. The theme of these symposia will be ‘new data – focused approaches and challenges’. Outside of the core programme you will have the chance to hear the latest research from the Society’s partner organisations, universities, the private sector and more, on a diverse range of research.

Wonder if the congress is for you? The Society’s conferences bring together a global audience from a diverse range of disciplines within the field, including academics, students, HCPs, industry, freelancers, and policy leaders.

Topic of the congress:

The discipline of nutrition science is diverse in nature – encompassing the study of human health from a molecular to a public health level, and from an ingredient or nutrient level to positioning as part of a (sustainable) global food system. Recognising this diversity, the data used to underpin and inform nutrition science are complex, stemming from a variety of sources. The aim of this congress is to provide an overview of the diversity of the data collected and used within the field of nutrition science and how analysis of this data has and can be used to progress the discipline.


Congress Dinner 

Join us for a special congress dinner at Titanic Belfast – one of the most popular attractions in Belfast City! Our gala dinner will be a fun and relaxed event where we step away from the science for one evening and enjoy great food and even better company.

Relive the Titanic dining experience in the The Titanic Suite which has a replica of the liner’s Grand Staircase and stunning views of the Slipways and Belfast Lough – where the world-famous liner was designed, built, and launched.

We have limited tickets to this unique dining experience, be sure to buy your ticket before it sells out!

To book your place at the congress dinner, please click HERE 


This conference is an in-person event only. 

The Nutrition Society logo

The Nutrition Society, Boyd Orr House, 10 Cambridge Court
210 Shepherds Bush Road, W6 7NJ, London, UK

Registered charity no. 272071

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Andy Salter – Alternative Protein Sources for Animal Feed

Spiridoula Athanasiadou – Bioactive plants: the case of polyphenol-rich plants for gastrointestinal parasite control in ruminants

Paul Smith - Dietary manipulation of rumen fermentation to reduce enteric methane emission

Francis Lively

Kim Matthews

Dale Farm


Margaret Gill - Sir John Hammond Winner (1992) Interview

The Sir John Hammond Award closes for nominations on 1st March. We caught up previous award winner, Margaret Gill, Emeritus Professor at the University of Aberdeen to ask her a few questions about working in animal science and receiving the prestigious award.


How did your interest in animal science and research first develop, and what motivated you to pursue a career in this field?

One of my uncles worked at the Rowett Institute in the sheep section and his wife came from a hill sheep farm, so despite growing up in Edinburgh I had exposure to sheep (and research) at an early age. The 1960s and 70s was also a time when global food security was recognised as an issue and caught my imagination. Studying animal science was a way of combining those two interests.


Can you share a specific project or study that you are particularly proud of, and how it has contributed to advancements in animal science?

My research career is a long time ago as I have been more involved in managing and advising on research projects and programmes in the last thirty years. The programme I am most proud of commissioning is one called Zoonoses in Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS), which was launched in 2012. It was developed while I was a Senior Research Fellow at what was then the Department for International Development (now part of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Organisation) and attracted investment from 5 other public sector funders. We held initial workshops to bring researchers together with international research users (FAO, WHO and what is now the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)) to facilitate rapid uptake of research findings should an epidemic occur. We failed to anticipate Covid-19, but hopefully the closer relationship between researchers and those organisations was helpful during the pandemic.


The Hammond Award recognises outstanding contributions to animal science. What impact do you hope your work will have on the broader scientific community and society as a whole?

I received the Hammond Award in 1992, three years after moving from working at a Research Council funded Institute to working for an Institute owned by the UK Government’s Overseas Development Administration. When I made that move, a respected member of BAS told me that would be “the end of my career”! Receiving the award gave me confidence I had made the right move and I hope it reassured others that working on livestock in developing countries was a good thing to do!


How do you approach collaboration and mentorship in your career, especially in fostering the development of other women in animal science?

I am a passionate collaborator. Everyone sees the world, and indeed research questions, from a slightly different angle and we can all learn by acknowledging and understanding from how others see the world. One way of progressing towards a balanced view (which is essential for achieving a realistic understanding) is by having a diverse team or panel. I was fortunate that colleagues recognised that and put me forward for teams and advisory roles early in my career and I learnt from that. I try to create diverse teams and to encourage female colleagues to have confidence in their own abilities.

SRUC Research Associates in Dairy Food Science (two posts) Microbiological and nutritional quality of milk and dairy products

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) - Dairy Research & Innovation

Location: Dumfries
Salary: £35,267 to £40,836 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 22nd February 2024
Closes: 10th March 2024
Job Ref: ASWF/AGR/023/24

Working Hours: Full-Time (37 hours)
Contract: Fixed-term, 3 years
Location: Barony Campus , Dumfries

SRUC is unique in Scotland and one of the largest organisations of its kind in Europe. Our ambitious and exciting vision is to work at local, national, and international levels, leading innovation and sustainable development in agriculture and rural sectors.

Based in SRUC’s Dairy Research & Innovation Centre in Dumfries, these posts will support the production and further refinement of high-quality dairy products in South-West Scotland and Cumbria. Appointees will collaborate with the wide range of dairy processors in the region, as well as with microbiology, food safety and animal health experts across SRUC.

We will make appointments in two areas:

1. Microbiological assurance of milk and dairy products – work will include evaluation and refinement of hygiene practices on farm and/or in processing facilities. Appointees will develop and implement microbiological testing methods suited for use on farm (pathogens and contaminants) or in small-scale processing units.

2. Nutritional improvement of milk and dairy products – work on the detailed chemical composition of milk, assessment of effects on the processing characteristics and quality of dairy products. This may include analysis of the effects of changes in farm management and feeding practices linked to changes in microbiological or enzymatic processing. Examples include altering milk carbohydrate profiles, enhancing beneficial fatty acids or minerals, or probiotic alterations.

This is part of the new £21.3 million Digital Dairy Chain project led by SRUC, which is focussed on dairy industry developments in our region.

Appointment may be available as a Research Fellow for suitably qualified candidates.

Further details on the requirements of this role can be found in the Job Particulars document which you must read before applying for this role.

Benefits / What you will get in return:

• Enhanced holidays
• Enhanced pension contributions (5% employee and 10% employer)
• Cycle to work scheme
• Discounted RAC Membership
• Enhanced family leave
• Flexible working patterns
• Hybrid working solutions (in some areas)
• Tailored investment in and individuals' learning and development

SRUC Leading the way in Agricultural and Rural Research, Education & Consultancy.

SRUC is committed to valuing Diversity, advancing Equality and respecting Human Rights throughout the organisation and encouraging applications from disabled people using the “Disability Confident Employer” symbol. SRUC is a member of the Athena SWAN charter.

Springer Nature


The Future Has Six Legs!


We are excited to announce the launch of a groundbreaking new section in animal journal: 'Insects as Livestock.' Insects play a crucial role in shaping the future of animal production, and we invite you to contribute to this dynamic field.

Key focus areas of 'Insects as Livestock' include:

  • Breeding and Genetics
  • Nutrition
  • Physiology (Biology of tissues, growth, development, reproduction, productive processes)
  • Behavior and Welfare (including ethics)
  • Health Management (population medicine, preventive medicine, epidemiological approaches)
  • Production Systems and Sustainability (economic, social, environmental, and their interactions)
  • Quality of Insect-Derived Products (quality and safety, impacts of animal products on food security and human health)

Meet the esteemed editors of this section:

  • Section Editor: Laura Gasco, University of Turin
  • Deputy Section Editor: Stephen Mansbridge, Harper Adams University
  • Editor: Karol Barragan Fonesca, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Editor: David Deruytter, INAGRO

Submit Your Work Now!

animal journal is renowned for publishing the best, innovative, and cutting-edge science related to farmed or managed animals. We welcome contributions from all species that are in, or contribute knowledge to, farmed and managed animal systems, including but not limited to cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, horses, rabbits, fish, and insects.


Not a BSAS member yet? Whether you're a seasoned researcher, a dedicated student, or a professional using animal science in industry or agriculture, your membership of BSAS connects you with a dynamic community dedicated to progress and collaboration.

Sign up here

EGGED - Edinburgh Gallus Genomics and Embryonic Development Workshop 2024

EGGED will bring together the world’s chicken embryology experts to share their skills and showcase the exceptional resourcefulness of the chicken embryo.

The workshop is open to researchers with a range of experience; from students and early career researchers to group leaders and principal investigators. The workshop will also provide an opportunity for scientists to share, learn and develop embryological techniques that use the chicken embryo and importantly, to shape the future of chicken developmental biology resources and approaches.

In 2022, this is what attendees said;

Great talks from a range of disciplines including field leaders. Core techniques covered. Opportunity for independent work surrounded by experts. Great introduction to the model system.

Great scope of topics and techniques - Excellent size (number of participants) and just the right duration - Excellent accommodation and learning facilities - Loved (!) the final dinner/dance.


EGGED 2024 will provide hands-on training in fundamental and cutting-edge developmental biology techniques, including;

  • In-ovo manipulation- tissue grafting, bead application, electroporation, over-expression, knock-down approaches
  • Ex-ovo culture and electroporation
  • RNA in situ hybridisation
  • Transgenesis and gene editing
  • Functional genomics
  • Chicken cell and organoid culture
  • Tool making
  • Imaging approaches
  • Networking events
  • Sandpit discussions to establish the forward momentum of the field

Participants will have access to the unique transgenic chicken lines available from the National Avian Research Facility (NARF) including the "Roslin Green" GFP, "Flamingo" dtTomato, membrane GFP, "Chameleon" Cre-inducible mini-Brainbow and Cas9. At EGGED, participants will be encouraged to undertake their own experiments with eggs from these lines to generate preliminary data.


New for 2024 - Extended Workshop for Beginners and Experts (spaces limited)

Those new to the chicken embryo or expert researchers keen to collect data during the workshop can apply to extend the standard 4-day workshop.

  • EGGED Beginners — Researchers new to the chicken embryo can apply to attend an introductory course on Monday 8th July.
  • EGGED Experts — Advanced researchers can extend the workshop to facilitate pilot data collection beginning on Monday 8th July, with the option of finishing data collection on Saturday 13th.


Event registration will now be coordinated by EMBO - Register here

If you have any queries about the event, please contact


Organisers  Megan Davey, James Glover, Ana Hernández Rodríguez and Ruth Williams




The Roslin Institute, R(D)SVS and the NARF have received a Saltire Facilitation Network Award from The Royal Society of Edinburgh to hold practical workshops in both 2022 and 2024. EGGED 2024 will be supported by The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

Teagasc leading the development of more sustainable European livestock production systems

STEP UP is a four year research project funded under Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship funding programme for research and innovation. The project, led by Teagasc, aims to support the development of more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable European livestock production systems (ELPS). The project was launched this week by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon T.D. A consortium of 16 partner organisations from across Europe gathered at the Teagasc Ashtown Conference Centre, Dublin on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th February 2024, to officially kick-off the project.  

A core objective of STEP UP is to generate clear, unambiguous and quantitative information to support greater sustainability, viability and resilience of environmentally compatible European Livestock Production Systems. Through state-of-the-art research methodologies and thorough and effective stakeholder engagement, STEP UP will deliver a platform of measures to support European policy makers with science-based evidence on the impacts and externalities of ELPS, as part of the food and wider ecosystem.

Launching the project, Minister Heydon remarked; “with 90% of Irish farms having some form of livestock farming activity, this area plays a vital socio-economic role in rural Ireland and this is also the case in many EU countries. Irish livestock farming is embracing a wide range of practices to improve sustainability, from breeding more sustainable animals to using less fertiliser, which also produces lower emissions, as well as incorporating multi-species swards and clover into grassland, amongst other areas. Research and innovation have driven the development of these and for this reason; I am delighted to be launching this new, pan-European research project ‘STEP-UP’. Through the involvement of 16 partners across 10 countries, I am confident that the research will provide valuable insights and data for the benefit of European livestock production and I wish the team, led by Professor David Kenny of Teagasc Grange, well in their work over the coming four years”.

On the occasion of the launch of the STEP UP project, Professor Frank O’Mara, Director of Teagasc and current President of the EU Animal Task Force said: “Teagasc is centrally involved in supporting the ongoing development of the economic and environmental viability of the livestock sector, both nationally and internationally. Taking the leadership role in the STEP UP project further demonstrates our commitment to strengthening the sustainability of both Irish and European livestock production systems”.

Professor David Kenny, Head of Animal and Bioscience Research in Teagasc and STEP UP coordinator, said: “In order to address the many challenges facing ELPS, the overall objective of STEP UP is to provide policy makers with a robust evidence base on the impacts and externalities and, in particular, their monetised values, of livestock farming as part of the food system and wider ecosystem”.

Step by Step to Innovation

STEP UP will forge a clear path forward in the co-creation of ELPS suited for future societal needs. This starts with mapping data gaps, a step that is crucial for improving the reliability of all further analyses. This will be followed by establishing current Innovative Livestock Production Systems which requires documenting and understanding novel and developing practices in livestock management. By indicating and measuring the impact for livestock systems with a focus on quantifying the consequences of these systems, STEP UP intends to establish a holistic methodology for quantifying impacts. The use of novel data modelling approaches will enhance the accuracy of predictive models enabling forecast scenarios including monetizing impacts so that transition pathways for more sustainable and diverse ELPS can be identified. Evidence-based STEP UP knowledge of ELPS as part of the food system and wider ecosystem will be disseminated using the multi-actor approach. Finally, STEP UP will provide a unique and warranted platform to support the development of informed and objective policy measures to optimise the central role of livestock in meeting the nutritional and societal needs of the European and global population.

Collaboration is the key

STEP UP’s collaborative approach brings together reputable partners from all over Europe - TEAGASC, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, INRAE, Wageningen University & Research, IFIP - Institut du porc, The European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders, The Spanish National Research Council, Foodscale Hub, Institute De L'elevage, FeedInov CoLab, Germany’s Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, The Poznań University of Life Sciences, Thuenen, IST-ID, Institut Technique de l'Aviculture and Queen’s University Belfast.

The project will actively involve farmers, data providers, research institutions, and other industry experts, policymakers, the European Commission, and other key agri-food industry actors.

The STEP UP project has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and innovation programme. All the information is available on the project's website, as well as on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.

It is funded by the European Commission through its Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme with co-funding from UK Research and Innovation.

STEP UP is a Research Innovation Action funded by the European Union through the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101136785. The project has also received funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee. The STEP UP project commenced on the 1st January 2024 and will run for four years with an overall budget of €4.7 million. The consortium includes 16 partner organisations from 10 European countries.

BSAS Presentation Club Webinar

The BSAS Early Career Committee is running a presentation club webinar on 27th March at 2PM via Zoom. 
Open to a small number of participants, the team is offering presentation training to early career researchers who have never presented before or who would like to further develop their skills. Participants will be divided into small groups to allow you to receive tips that are relevant to you and receive feedback.
Gain invaluable insights and feedback so that you are ready for the next big conference opportunity!
Numbers are limited and places will be allocated on a first come basis. To register your interest, please email



Harper Adams PhD project : Supporting global quality in livestock farming systems.

Acquiring and assess a systemic approach by using serious games in local Geographical Indication dairy system in France and the UK.

Discipline: Zootechnics - Farming systems and agricultural extension
Supervision: Stéphane Ingrand (PhD-HDR)1, Sylvain Dernat (PhD)2 et Michael Lee (PhD)3

1 Joint Research Unit Herbivores INRAE, VetAgro Sup Saint-Genès-Champanelle - France
2 Joint Research Unit Territoires - GAMAE - Clermont Auvergne University (UCA), INRAE, VetAgro Sup & AgroParisTech Clermont-Ferrand France. This research unit will host in France the successful candidate.
3 School of Sustainable Food and Farming, Harper Adams University - Edgmond, Newport UK

Livestock farming is often identified as one of the main agricultural drivers of climate change. Therefore, when considering the value of livestock products in terms of their environmental impact, a holistic assessment is required using balanced metrics and avoiding tunnel vision. In addition to considering nutritional and co-product benefits, other natural capital and societal assets that result from well-managed farming enterprises need to be recognised (Manzano et al., 2023). However, this approach remains difficult because it is subject to divergent interpretations depending on the stakeholders involved.

Global quality is an emerging concept in agriculture, particularly in livestock production systems (Legrand et al., 2023). It goes beyond the sanitary, economic and organoleptic aspects of quality as understood in the production and processing industries (ie the intrinsic dimension of quality), and takes in ecological, social and cultural dimensions (ie the extrinsic dimension of quality). However, putting this concept into practice is difficult because it involves so many different actors (farmers, processors, advisors, vets,
distributors, but also elected representatives, citizens, ecologist associations, etc.).

This thesis is based within the field of farming systems and agricultural extension and aims to address the scientific front of participatory support for global quality in livestock farming, as well as its practical application in the field, using a dual approach. On the one hand, theoretical work will aim to better define the concept of global quality in livestock farming, and on the other, empirical work will aim to test the practical application of this concept to support changes in livestock farming systems in the field.

For this second aspect, the PhD student will use innovative tools such as serious games, which are now at the heart of a revival of agricultural guidance in Europe. Serious games are now commonly used to address systemic issues in agricultural sectors, particularly under geographical indication (GI) (Dernat et al., 2022). Unlike traditional top-down advice, games can be used to address complex systems by making them accessible to as many people as possible through simple but not simplistic modelling and
knowledge sharing.

The problem this thesis will address is therefore at the crossroads of two scientific fronts: that of overall quality in livestock farming and that of support approaches to accompany systemic changes in agriculture. As a result, the question to be addressed by this thesis will be: How can serious games be a means for integrating the global quality approach to move livestock systems through the agroecological transition?

The thesis will be based on two case studies in France and the UK within two local GI dairy production sectors. GI sectors are particularly sensitive to these systemic issues, as they combine the economic constraints of the sector with territorial strategies linked to local issues. The aim is to support these sectors using a global quality approach in order to optimise their strategies by involving all the stakeholders, both inside and outside the sector and the territory. There is a need for engineering to do this and the serious game as an engineering tool will make it possible to federate various stakeholders around a common vision of the global quality of local GI dairy system. A comparison between France and the UK will be interesting in terms of institutional (EU vs. non-EU), cultural and technical differences, which may help to better understand the importance of the concept of global quality and its local application.

To achieve this, the thesis will use serious games as part of an overall support process. Part of the work will involve identifying and adapting existing games or, failing that, creating a new game dedicated to global quality in livestock farming. This process will be tested in real conditions with stakeholders in the sectors, using the principle of action research as already tested on a PDO cheese (Dernat et al., 2022).

The evaluation framework for step-by-step support developed by Etienne et al. (2023) or by Sneessens et al. (2019) could be used to measure and adjust the effects on the real practices of the operators involved.

Contribution of the thesis to science:
The thesis will be an opportunity to make an important theoretical contribution to livestock farming systems approach, mainly by addressing the concept of global quality. In this respect, the person recruited will be able to take part in EAAP (European Federation of Animal Science) and IFSA (International Farming Systems Association) scientific events. Empirical approaches may also be the subject of investment in the ESEE (European Seminar on agricultural Extension & Education).

Practical contribution of the thesis to livestock farming:
The aim of the thesis will be to provide useful and operational tools to help all stakeholders of a sector to asses and to achieve global quality. These tools can then be disseminated and mobilised by agricultural advisory services.
More broadly, the participatory proposal of the thesis opens up to a public that is partly outside the agricultural world (citizens, elected representatives, etc.). This highlights the practical challenge of putting into operation a process with this wider perimeter, which is socially interesting but not often addressed in the actual practice of field support (Coeugnet et al., 2023).


Minimum expected publications:
- An article on the concept of global quality in livestock farming
- An article on the results of the support provided to farming groups during the thesis, in particular a comparison between France and the UK. Target journals: Animal, Agricultural systems, Agriculture for Sustainable Development.

Logistical aspects of the thesis:
The thesis will be hosted in Clermont Ferrand within INRAE. It will provide support for the overall work of the thesis and specifically for the French field. One of the supervisors is a research engineer, who has worked extensively on futures issues and adaptations of livestock and is a specialist in the livestock farming systems. The other French supervisor is a research engineer, whose research focuses on supporting transitions in farming communities. He is also responsible for the GAMAE platform, which specialises in serious agri-environmental games. The person recruited will also be able to benefit from the teaching staff of the Gloqual master's programme (Global quality in livestock farming), in which the French supervisors of this thesis are involved. More practically, the PhD student will be hosted by UMR

Territoires, which will manage the budget in line with the projects in the French fields, and will also provide the ideal setting for developing serious games and evaluating them in a participatory process (creation workshop and digital tools of the GAMAE platform, unique in Europe).
The PhD student will also be hosted by Harper Adams University in England to enrich the approach and carry out experiments in the English field. The presence in UK is expected to be ca. 1 year of study. In particular, the School of Sustainable Food and Farming will be contributing its expertise in supporting agricultural sectors throughout the value chain (from producer to distributor). The English supervisor will bring his knowledge of local farming systems and quality issues in the livestock sector. It will also enable
the person recruited to be integrated into the various scientific communities involved in livestock farming in UK and in the Morrisons Sustainable Farm Network project.

Case studies:
In UK, to support the thesis work, resources will be mobilised in conjunction with the Morrisons Sustainable Farm Network project via the Saputo Dairy. Saputo produces the GPI cheese Wensleydale, an English cheese that originated in Wensleydale, England. Saputo is ranked within the top 10 global dairy processors, with leading market positions in Canada, the USA, Australia, Argentina, and UK.

In France, the thesis will be supported by the RMT (Réseau mixte technologique) Fromages de Terroir to work with a PDO/GPI cheese close to Wensleydale (in organoleptic and production terms, to have this same basis to compare) on the global quality. It will also benefit from the work of the ANR Gingko project and/or European GI-Smart project to carry out fieldwork.

Over the three years, case studies will also benefit from the support of the Gloqual Master's students as part of their annual group project. Students will go to France and/or UK to help the PhD student to prepare the field actions and assess the impact of the support.


- Salary: remuneration by the UCA (one of the "tutelle" of the lead research unit, UMR Territoires) for three years of thesis (€2,885 monthly cost, i.e. €34,620 annual cost)
- Mission expenses for the case study in France: supported by the ANR Gingko project or the European Smart-GI project (depending on the needs), managed by INRAE for UMR Territoires.
- Mission expenses for the case study in the UK: supported by the Morrisons Sustainable Farm Network project, managed by Harper Adams University.
- Operating costs for international co-supervision (doctoral student and supervisor mission expenses): €15k managed by the UCA.

Required Education Level
- Agricultural Sciences > Master degree or equivalent (engineer diploma)
- Economics > Agricultural economics > Master degree or equivalent

- Mastery of the systems approach to livestock production
- Ability to conduct and analyse interviews
- proficiency in bibliographical analysis
- Ability to run workshops with professional stakeholders in agricultural sectors
- Ability to write

Specific Requirements
- English > Excellent
- French > Good
- 1 to 6 months training in a research laboratory will be a plus.
- An experience in a participatory project will be a plus.

Selection process:
Clermont Auvergne University, Clermont-Ferrand, France and its Clermont Auvergne Project Graduate School (CAP GS) programme offer a PhD opportunity that will be conducted in partnership between Clermont Auvergne University and a foreign research Institution. The associated Changing Environments Graduate Track presents three PhD proposals published on EURAXESS, of which one only will be funded.

The selection process will take all applications into consideration. The best fitting candidate will be invited to an audition between end of June and mid-July 2024.
Applicants who have earned their higher educational qualifications outside Europe or in Greece must attach to their application a certificate of equivalence of the diploma (Master degree). The certificate can be obtained following the procedure indicated here:
Application deadline: Friday May the 10th, 5 pm Paris time, 2024. Applications arriving after the application deadline will not be taken into consideration.


Applications should include a cover letter indicating your motivation and relevant research experience, a detailed curriculum vitae, academic transcripts and contact information for at least two referees.
Please send the application via Email to:, and
PhD studies will start in November 2024. A salary will be paid for 3 years (36 months).


Agricultural Economics Society of Ireland Annual Conference

The Annual Conference will be hosted by Ulster University in Belfast on 25-27th June 2024. Details to follow.

Belfast Campus, Ulster University, 2-24 York Street, Belfast, BT15 1AP

David Levick

Georgina Croxford



9th International Conference on the Welfare of Animals at Farm Level (WAFL)

Welcome to the 9th International Conference on the Welfare of Animals at Farm Level (WAFL) in Florence on August 30th and 31st, 2024. This marks the first in-person WAFL since Wageningen in 2017, and follows the successful online WAFL conference in 2021. We are delighted to collaborate with the Health and Welfare Commission of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in organising WAFL 2024, which will feature two full days of single sessions and poster presentations. This will offer a unique and focused experience for attendees, as well as the opportunity to engage in a Delegate Forum discussing the future of Animal Welfare Science and WAFL. You can continue your intellectual journey into the evening at the conference dinner on Friday 30th August against the captivating backdrop of Florence.
Following WAFL, you can extend your experience of Florence at the 75th EAAP Annual Meeting (1st – 5th September) with numerous scientific sessions dedicated to farm animal health and welfare. Several of these will be organised in collaboration with other relevant study commissions including Precision Livestock Farming, Genetics, Nutrition and Livestock Farming Systems to leverage the presence of animal scientists from other disciplines. We look forward to your participation in this milestone event!


  • Humans in the loop – role of sociology in improving farm animal welfare
  • New welfare indicators – with a focus on the positive!
  • It’s all in the mind – cognition and the welfare of farm animals
  • The future of animal welfare: policy and science
  • Welfare of farm animals at end of life (culling/euthanasia, transport and slaughter)
  • Suppress, substitute and soothe suffering – application of the 3S’s to improve farm animal welfare
  • New frontiers in the assessment of animal welfare on-farm
  • Free communications


WAFL 2024 Organisers

  • Laura Boyle (Chair)
  • Keelin O’Driscoll (Co-Chair)
  • Amy Quinn (Co-Chair)

WAFL 2024 Scientific Committee

  • Keelin O’Driscoll (Chair)
  • Laura Boyle (Co-Chair)
  • Maria Hotzel
  • Gabriella Olmos Antillon
  • Oceane Schmitt
  • Jen Yun-Chou
  • Siobhan Mullan
  • Gareth Arnott
  • Mona Giersberg
  • Miroslav Kjosevski
  • Jan Tind Sorensen (WAFL 1999)
  • Christoph Winckler (WAFL 2005)
  • Frank Tuyttens (WAFL 2008)
  • Tina Widowski (WAFL 2011)
  • Isabelle Veissier (WAFL 2014)
  • Hans Spoolder (WAFL 2017)



Albani Hotel, Via Fiume, 12 – 50123 Firenze