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UFAW announces 2023 award winners

The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) has announced its 2023 award winners. The recipients will be presented with their awards, and speak about their work, at the UFAW Online Animal Welfare Conference taking place on 20–21 June 2023.

UFAW Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science

The UFAW Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science recognises the exceptional achievements of an individual scientist who has made fundamental contributions to the advancement of animal welfare over a number of years. The award is open to individuals anywhere in the world, whose research, teaching, service and advocacy has significantly benefited the welfare of animals. The 2023 winner of the UFAW Medal is Professor Per Jensen, Professor of Ethology at Linköping University, Sweden.

Professor Jensen was nominated for the award to celebrate his outstanding lifelong service to the field of animal welfare science. Per’s work in domestication, epigenetics and stress has been ground-breaking. His lab’s hatchery is one of the few in the world that keeps a breeding population of red junglefowl, making direct comparison between commercial hens and their wild ancestors possible. This unique and important work allows genetic effects to be experimentally disentangled from experiential ones, providing unique insight into the effect of domestication on behaviour.

Throughout his career, Per has played an influential role in supporting applied ethology and welfare science worldwide through research, education and shaping policy. He has published more than 200 peer reviewed papers, trained and mentored over 60 junior scientists and served the European Commission, European Research Council and other animal welfare bodies. He is also passionate about sharing his research findings with pet owners and farmers, and has authored ten books for a lay audience, covering dog behaviour, chickens, agriculture and animal behaviour and emotions.

Commenting on Professor Jensen’s award, Dr Huw Golledge, UFAW Chief Executive and Scientific Director, said: “Professor Jensen is highly deserving of the UFAW Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science. Throughout his career, he has consistently produced some of the highest quality, most innovative research in the field of animal welfare science. Furthermore, he has ensured wide dissemination of his work through the publication of peer reviewed papers and books, and through delivering presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. We are delighted to be able to recognise Per’s service in the science of animal welfare.”

UFAW Animal Welfare Early Career Researcher of the Year Award 2023

The UFAW Early Career Animal Welfare Researcher of the Year Award recognises the achievements of early career scientists who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of animals. The joint recipients of the UFAW Early Career Researcher of the Year Award 2023 have been named as Dr Sara Hintze and Dr Jordan Hampton.

Sara is an Assistant Professor in Animal Welfare Science at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria. Sara was nominated for the award to recognise her impressive scholastic activities and commitment to teaching in the classroom, her research mentoring on farms, and her contributions to public education and outreach within the field of animal welfare.

Through her work, Sara approaches contemporary issues related to animals’ affective states in unique ways. During her PhD, Sara took the concept of Judgement Bias and successfully developed a novel cross-species paradigm for the assessment of emotion in animals. In her current work on animal boredom, she combines behavioural and cognitive approaches translated from human psychology to find out what boredom means for farmed pigs. Furthermore, Sara enjoys working conceptually as shown by her publications on individuality, disenhancement and positive welfare, including flow.

Jordan is a McKenzie Research Fellow in the Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University, Australia. His focus is the welfare of wild animals, an emerging field of animal welfare science, in which he has already been highly influential.

Jordan has authored 75 peer-reviewed publications, with his current research focusing on the indirect animal welfare impacts of contaminants such as lead on wildlife. Much of his research to date has been both novel and applied, fostering collaboration between animal welfare scientists, wildlife managers and conservationists. This approach has wide-reaching impact outside of academia and has resulted in improvements in wildlife management and regulation in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Golledge concluded: “We are delighted to be able to recognise the significant impact that both Dr Hintze and Dr Hampton have made to the field of animal welfare science during their relatively short careers. As well as producing scientifically robust research, both Sara and Jordan champion dissemination to ensure that animal welfare can be improved on a large scale.

I look forward to hearing all of our award winners present their work at the UFAW Online Animal Welfare Conference 2023 in June.”