Deadline: 2016-02-03
Value of Scholarship: £14,057
Level Of Study: Masters

MSc by Research Studentship: Bovine Bumbags



Qualification type: MSc by research
Location: Galashiels, Scottish Borders
Funding open to: UK and EU students
Funding amount: UK/EU fees and £14,057 (tax free) stipend per annum
Funding duration: 14 months

Project

This project provides a unique opportunity to develop excellent communication, research, product development and planning skills.  This is a collaborative project where you will work closely with a manufacturing company that will prototype selected designs and a research institute who will guide you on the functional requirements of the design and undertake the field-testing of the prototypes.  You will also consult widely with professionals working with dogs to establish the functional requirements of a canine product.  The project funds will cover your fees, stipend, travel expenses between partner sites, prototype materials and conference attendance at the end of the project.

The aim of the project is to develop and test novel products for the hygienic collection of faeces from calves and dogs. Faecal collection is routinely carried out by research scientists to collect several types of parasitic organisms as a first step in the development of new treatments. No commercial products are available for this, hence the current method uses harnesses and bags which were developed in house at the Moredun Research Institute (MRI), many decades ago, using materials which were easy to source, but are not ideally suited to the task.  There are several issues with the current system including sample losses of up to 50%, health and safety concerns regarding the handling of faeces by staff, issues with the bag collection system not being in the correct position and becoming contaminated, issues with the current webbing harness becoming tangled and/or dirty and discomfort for the animals.  At the moment no such product exists for dogs but there are certain conditions under which such a product could be useful.

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Project Objectives

  1. Design improved harness/garment systems to support faeces collection bags.
  2. Design 2 layer faeces collection bag system with ‘water’ proof seals and easy/hygienic removal of inner bag.
  3. Source suitable materials for all elements of designs.
  4. Manufacture and evaluate prototype systems.
  5. Develop optimised prototypes and final design of a complete faeces collection system for calves.
  6. Consult with vets, dog clothing manufacturers and pet shops to establish design criteria for a faeces collection system for dogs.
  7. Develop first prototypes of a faeces collection system for dogs.
  8. Publicise new products.

This is a collaborative project between Heriot-Watt University, J&D Wilkie and the Moredun Research Institute. The student will be based in Galashiels and will be responsible for establishing the functional requirements of the products, designing and sourcing suitable materials and technologies for the products, evaluating materials and products in the laboratory and liaising with project partners and potential end-users of the products. Prototypes will be manufactured by J&D Wilkie and field-testing of bovine prototypes will be undertaken by the Moredun Research Institute. The student will not be required to handle faeces during this project!

Person Specification

Applicants must have a First Class, or Upper Second, Honours Degree in Textile Technology, Clothing Technology, Product Design Engineering or similar. Experience in product development activities would be a significant advantage. Applicants should be motivated, have good communication skills and hold a UK/EU driver’s license.

Eligibility

Funding requirements dictate that only UK and EU passport holders need apply. Please do not enquire about this project if you are ineligible.

Contact

If you would like any further information about this project please contact: Dr Lisa Macintyre l.m.macintyre@hw.ac.uk

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Timescale

Interviews will be held in the week commencing 14th December for a January 2016 start date. Interviews may be conducted by skype if applicants cannot easily travel to Galashiels.

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