PhD Studentship Racing greyhounds – statistically modelling the population including the prevalence of periodontal disease

We are looking for a motivated, high calibre graduate with an interest in both statistics and animal health and welfare. The successful candidate will join an outstanding research team in the Animal Welfare and Behaviour group and work with industrial collaborators, so strong interpersonal skills are required.

This studentship will be part of a larger project addressing a number of key welfare issues relevant to racing greyhounds. This student will use a variety of existing data sources to statistically model the dynamics of the racing greyhound population and investigate the likely effects of various refinements and initiatives that may increase racing career length, and welfare of dogs. They will explore ways of reducing the required population size and also investigate concurrent effects on the re-homing population of dogs. The project will also explore the prevalence and aetiology of dental and periodontal disease in racing greyhounds, a condition suggested to be common, and a potential welfare issue. This element will include an epidemiological study exploring the extent to which occurrence is attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors, and a clinical trial investigating the impact of modification of one key risk factor on incidence of the disease.

Background of group:

The Animal Welfare and Behaviour group based at Bristol Veterinary School, Langford, is a centre of excellence in animal welfare science, influencing national and international policy, and working with farm, companion, laboratory and zoo animals. The group provides top quality, research-informed teaching, including a BSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, and is renowned for developing the careers of scientists interested in animal welfare and has eleven current PhD students.

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The group’s research activities include the full spectrum of animal welfare and behaviour ranging from fundamental research into animal motivation, cognition and emotion to the development and implementation of practical solutions for existing and emerging welfare problems. The companion animal behaviour team conducts diverse cutting-edge research. This includes applied studies such as validating treatment programmes for clinical behaviour problems and exploring the prevalence of, and risk factors for, undesired behaviours using epidemiological approaches, but also research investigating more fundamental questions such as novel methods of welfare assessment. The group has considerable expertise in applying appropriate scientific methods, including bio-statistical and modelling approaches, to resolve issues that arise between humans and their animals.

This student will be supervised by Professor William Browne, Drs Nicola Rooney, Emily Blackwell and Rachel Casey.

Entry Requirements

A background in statistics, biological or veterinary science, with a strong quantitative component would be advantageous, but applications are welcome from candidates from related disciplines. A minimum upper second class degree classification or equivalent is required along with mathematics to at least A level or equivalent. The position is available from 1st Oct 2013. 


The studentship is funded by a tax-exempt stipend of £15,500 for three years.
Due to funding requirements, there are potential funding restrictions for non- EU students. 

How to Apply:

Please apply online at and select Veterinary Science PhD. Please enter details of the studentship in the Research Details section of the form.

Deadline for applications

The deadline for applications is 9:00am on 15th July 2013, interviews 26th July  

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For further information, please contact:

Professor William Browne

Dr Nicola Rooney

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