Postgraduate Research Opportunity

Automated monitoring of animal health & welfare


Title: SCH11: Automated monitoring & analysis of animal health & welfare

Funding: Full time Home/EU fees and a stipend of £15,009 p.a. (terms & conditions)

Application deadline: 7 May 2019

Start date: October 2019

Duration: 3 years (full time)

Location: Colchester Campus

Based in: Department of Mathematical Sciences (in collaboration with the School of Biological Sciences)


This collaborative project brings together experts in mathematical modelling, data analysis and animal behaviour and welfare.

Our aim is to use new behaviour tracking sensors to develop practical systems for automated monitoring of animal behaviour and health in farms and zoos, improving welfare and reducing costs. This is a highly topical subject as there is a strong public demand for action on animal welfare issues but new approaches are needed to monitor individual animals efficiently and accurately.

The student will collect and analyse behavioural data (movement, space-use and activity) from a range of animals including farm species such as cows, sheep and horses as well as zoo, aquarium or wild species. Analysis of how observed behaviours are linked to health, welfare status and environmental conditions will allow us to develop practical indicators for use in automated monitoring.


The award consists of a full Home/EU fee waiver or equivalent fee discount for overseas students (further fee details), a doctoral stipend equivalent to the Research Councils UK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20), plus £2,500 training bursary via Proficio funding, which may be used to cover the cost of advanced skills training including conference attendance and travel.


At a minimum, the successful applicant will have a good honours degree (1st class or high 2:1, or equivalent) in mathematics, statistics, computer science or related numerical or computational subjects. An MSc in a relevant subject is desirable (but not essential).

The ideal candidate will have strong mathematical, data analysis and programming skills. Experience of animal-handling and/or collection and analysis of animal behaviour data is not essential (training will be given if required).

How to apply

You can apply for this postgraduate research opportunity online.

Please include your CV, covering letter, personal statement, and transcripts of UG and Masters degrees in your application.

Please state in your application and personal statement that you are applying for our project on “Automated monitoring & analysis of animal health & welfare”. Your personal statement should explain why you are applying for this specific project and what you could bring to the team in terms of skills, experience and enthusiasm.

Instruction to applicants

When you apply online you will be prompted to fill out several boxes in the form:

  • For "Course title" please put "PhD Bio-statistics"
  • For "Proposed research topic or area of research" please put the title of this studentship (SCH11: Automated monitoring and analysis of animal health and welfare)
  • For "If you have contacted a potential supervisor..." please put the name of the lead supervisor (Professor Edward Codling)

If you have any informal queries about this opportunity please email the lead supervisor, Professor Edward Codling (

You can find the terms and conditions of this studentship here (PDF).