UFAW Animal Welfare Student Scholarship (formerly Vacation Scholarship)

Through its Animal Welfare Student Scholarships, UFAW aims to encourage students to develop their interests in animal welfare and to provide them with an opportunity to conduct relevant research or other (eg educational) projects. In these, and its other awards, UFAW wishes to promote high quality research that is likely to lead to substantial improvements in animal welfare. UFAW seeks to promote both fundamental research aimed at providing new insight into the subjective mental experiences of animals relevant to their welfare and at understanding their needs and preferences, and also to promote applied research aimed at developing practical solutions to animal welfare problems.


Applications are welcome from individuals studying at universities or colleges in the British Isles or an overseas institution at which there is a UFAW University Link. Students will usually be undertaking courses in the agricultural, biological, psychological, veterinary or zoological sciences. However, we would also be pleased to receive applications from students from other disciplines who are interested in carrying out a project in animal welfare. MSc students on appropriate courses will also be considered.

Projects may be carried out within the UK or overseas and must be relevant to improving the welfare of farm, companion, laboratory, zoo or free-living wild animals whose welfare is compromised by human factors. NB Much as UFAW applauds research that advances species conservation and other important issues – this scholarship is for work that addresses animal welfare.

Student Scholarships consist of £170 per week subsistence allowance for the Scholar plus £30 per week to the department for project expenses. Projects may be carried out at any time and usually last between four and eight weeks. Support is provided for up to 8 weeks, although projects themselves may be longer than this. Payments are made prior to the commencement of the project by cheques made out to the Scholar and the Supervisor’s Department.

The first Scholarships were awarded in 1983 and since the scheme began there have been over 300 scholars. The range of projects that have been undertaken has been very wide and in many cases scholars have published papers arising from their work in scientific literature (which we encourage). Other scholars have gone on to undertake postgraduate research in aspects of animal welfare. UFAW encourages its past scholars to keep in touch and to remain part of the UFAW team actively promoting animal welfare.



The UFAW Animal Welfare Student Scholarships have also been a successful launch pad for a career in animal welfare science, with a number going onto to supervise scholars themselves, including:

Dr Natalie Waran, Director JMICAWE, University of Edinburgh (1987 – The use of self-feeding silage systems by dairy cattle);

Dr Alison Hanlon, University College Dublin (1990 – Factors influencing fawn mortality in Phoenix Park);

Dr Deborah Wells, Queen’s University Belfast (1991 – The behaviour of dogs in a USPCA shelter) and

Dr Victoria Melfi, Paignton Zoo/University of Exeter (1997 - A comparative behavioural study of captive & wild troops of crested Sulawesi black macaques: with an integration of conservation and animal welfare).


Additionally, many other scholars have gone onto to undertake MSc’s or PhD’s in the field and advance the cause of animal welfare.


Scholars are also asked to present their finding at the annual meeting held in universities around the UK. These free-to-all, popular meetings have proved to be very enjoyable and successful occasions, with the scholars reinforcing the impression that animal welfare science attracts the some of the brightest and best.

We very much like to hear what our vacation scholars go on to do after their completing their scholarships and so do our members. Please send us an email letting us know what you are doing now and, perhaps, even a photo of yourself!




Other words of support for the UFAW vacation scholarships:

  • Professor Clive Phillips, University of Queensland -  the scholarships offer ‘a great opportunity for students to focus their study on animal welfare. Keep up the good work!’ 
  • Professor Ian Duncan , University of Guelph ‘I would like to congratulate UFAW ………… and wish you every success with this excellent scholarship scheme in the future.’ 
  • Professor Sandra Edwards, University of Newcastle ‘I ……would like to thank UFAW for their continuing support of these vacation scholarships. I think these are an important way of introducing students to animal welfare research and often stimulate interest which progresses to a longer term career in this area.’





Animal Welfare Student Scholarship consist of £170 per week subsistence allowance for the Scholar plus £30 per week to the department for departmental expenses (for up to 8 weeks). Payments are made prior to the commencement of the project by cheques made out to the Scholar and the Department in which the work will be carried out. A leaflet about the Scholarship can be downloaded here.


Closing Date


APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THE 2015 AWARD. Please note that all applications for the UFAW Animal Welfare Student Scholarships must reach the UFAW office by the 28th February 2015.

Further information


IFurther information is required please contact UFAW directly via email: goodwin@ufaw.org.uk or telephone: +44 (0) 1582 831818.


Examples of recent vacation scholarships

  • Evaluation of pain and distress associated with equine castration

  • Social housing of chimpanzees: the effects of group size and structure on social behaviour and relationships

  • Effects of light spectrum on the behaviour of fish in laboratory aquaria

  • Investigating the behavioural consequences of positive handling of pre-parturient heifers prior to introduction to a dairy herd

  • Evaluation of the use of a mirror as a form of enrichment for group-housed mice.


Where are they now? Some news about past Vacation Scholars