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UFAW Early Career Animal Welfare Researcher of the year

2022 Award Winners

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. Dr Nienke van Staaveren and Dr Jessica Martin have been jointly awarded the 2022 prize for their impactful work and breadth of experience covering a range of species and topics.

Dr van Staaveren is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Guelph, Canada. Nienke has worked with various species including pigs, poultry, and, more recently, ruminants to improve the health and welfare of farmed animals. Combining fundamental and applied research methodologies, Nienke provided valuable input to validate the use of carcase tail lesions as iceberg indicators for pigs, to understand underlying mechanisms in the development of feather pecking and keel bone damage in laying hens, and to develop on-farm welfare assessments and management plans to reduce injurious pecking in poultry. More recently, she has been working to identify novel health and welfare traits in turkeys, and to enhance disease resistance in dairy cattle by close collaboration with different industry stakeholders. Nienke has also acted as a mentor in UFAW’s scheme which offers guidance and support to students undertaking their first animal welfare project.





Dr Martin is a Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh. Jessica was nominated for the award for making substantive contributions to farm animal and laboratory animal welfare through research, education, legislative and institutional policy, and real-world impact. Her research to date has focussed on mechanical and gaseous methods of stunning and killing animals on-farm, in processing plants and in the laboratory setting. As part of her PhD, Jessica developed and validated a novel killing device that improved the consistency and humaneness of manual cervical dislocation for poultry, which had worldwide impact.

Dr Golledge concluded: “Both Dr van Staaveren and Dr Martin impressed the panel with their commitment to improving animal welfare on a large scale, their ability to engage and work with a wide range of stakeholders, and their scientific expertise. They are also both strongly committed to supporting the next generations of scientists through supervision and mentoring of students, something UFAW values highly.

The significant and impactful improvements to animal welfare that both Early Career Researcher of the Year award winners have made during their relatively short careers is nothing short of impressive. I look forward to following their careers as advocates for Science in the Service of Animal Welfare over the coming years”.