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University LINKs Scheme

University of Bristol (UK)

Professor Mike Mendl 
Dept of Clinical Veterinary Science
Email: Mike.Mendl@bristol.ac.uk





Dr Anna Trevarthen
Veterinary School
Email: anna.c.davies@bris.ac.uk



UFAW LINK funds supported the 2015 ‘Walks and Talks’ training and networking event for postgraduate students conducting research on behaviour and welfare, hosted this year by Royal Veterinary College. Special thanks to Natalie Chancellor who was the main organiser of the event held 28th – 30th September 2015 at YHA Hartington Hall, Peak District. It was attended by students from Royal Veterinary College, University of Bristol, SRUC Edinburgh and University of Lincoln. They presented and discussed their research and exchanged ideas in a friendly peer environment facilitated by a few research and academic staff members. The species covered were diverse and included pigs, chickens, dogs, goats, ducks, mice and guinea-fowl, and research methods were multi-disciplinary ranging from social sciences to biomechanics. The presentations were complemented by a walk in the surrounding hills, an animal-themed quiz, and communal cooking of meals. Students found this event enjoyable and very helpful in developing their research ideas and their professional networks in supportive environment.


UFAW also supports, via the LINK scheme, the awarding of a number of prizes that recognise outstanding contributions to the field of animal welfare science.

Pictured above: - Joanna Bucholz (right) receiving her award for the student achieving the highest mark in the welfare and ethics dissertation element of their BSc in Veterinary Nursing and Bioveterinary Sciences.

Pictured below: - Finola Orford (left) receiving her award for the the student achieving the highest ark in their dissertation in the BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare degree.





Once again the UFAW ‘LINK’ scheme helped to support the annual Animal Behaviour and Welfare ‘Walks and Talks’. Staff and postgraduate students from five universities attended the 3 day event, held this year at the beautiful and historic Hartington Hall in the Peak District in March. The event was organised by the University of Bristol and included participants from the Universities of Nottingham and Lincoln, along with Royal Veterinary College and SRUC. The event provided students with an encouraging platform to present their research and to forge contacts with their peers. Over 20 presentations covered a particularly diverse and fascinating range of topics including cognitive bias in Drosophilia, preferences of rabbits, aggression in dogs, right through to climate change adaptation strategies. Between presentations, participants headed out to continue their networking on a three-hour hike around Hartington’s Three Dales; this year held in beautiful sunshine.  

Staff and StudentsStaff and Students


Staff and PhD students from University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences took to the hills last month [10-12 April] to attend an unusual conference focusing on animal welfare and behaviour research.

The two-day conference in the Peak District was the latest in an annual conference event informally called ‘Walks and Talks’, which UFAW has supported for a number of years via the LINK scheme. Normally held at a Youth Hostel in one of the UK’s national parks these conferences give students and academics the opportunity to present their research in an informal manner that encourages discussion with other members of the conference, before heading off for a three-hour hike on which attendees can discuss opportunities for collaboration as well as common problems within their studies.

One Bristol student, Lauren Harris commented: ‘Many postgraduate students are nervous about giving presentations; Walks and Talks is a brilliant opportunity for students to practice their presentation skills in a relaxed setting.’

Other universities participating in this year’s conference included: the Scottish Rural College (formerly Barony, Elmwood and Oatridge Colleges and the Scottish Agricultural College), the University of Lincoln, Newcastle University, the University of Nottingham, and the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Michael Toscano, Research Fellow at Bristol commenting on the event said: The support of these charities is absolutely pivotal in the current budget climate.  ‘..I've gotten back incredibly positive responses from all the participants so I feel pretty confident in communicating that the event was a success.’ ‘ In addition to the presentations and the walks, we also included a workshop on presentation skills that worked quite effectively in allowing the group as a whole to benefit from the knowledge of the individuals.’

Dr Toscano also thanked UFAW for providing absolutely pivotal support, especially in light of the current budget climate, and for making a direct investment in the next generation of [animal welfare] scientists.

Staff and Students


The UFAW Links at Bristol, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities have joined forces and agreed to use some of their link monies to support an away ‘Walk and Talk’ weekend for their post-graduate students. During this weekend they will present their animal welfare work to their peers and discuss issues arising from it, get to know each other better and develop new contacts and collaborations. UFAW was happy to support this initiative because a trial last year, organised by the University of Bristol, had proved to be very successful and resulted in a fruitful exchange of ideas and techniques.

Bristol also uses part of their link monies to award prizes to undergraduates on the their BVSc and Animal Behaviour and Welfare BSC courses in recognition of the individual students achievements in the field of animal welfare science. Specifically, these are: the UFAW prize for best 1st year BVSc welfare & ethics group project, the UFAW prize for best 3rd Year VNPA welfare & ethics individual project and the UFAW prize for best dissertation on Animal Behaviour & Welfare degree.

Congratulations are extended to this year’s prize winners:

Andre Kortum (BVSc, year 1) Eleanor Haskey (BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing, year 3) and Peter Hiscox (BSc (Hons) Behaviour and Welfare).