2020 applicants
Postgraduate Research Opportunity

Automated monitoring & analysis of animal behaviour for health & welfare


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

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

Application deadline: 10 July 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 Life Sciences)


This collaborative project brings together experts in animal behaviour and data analysis in order to improve the welfare of managed and captive animals.

This is a highly topical subject with strong public demand for action on animal welfare issues. New technological and analytical approaches are needed in order to monitor the welfare of individual animals efficiently and accurately.

The student will use novel behaviour tracking sensors to collect and analyse movement and behavioural data from a range of animals including farm species 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 student will be based in Mathematical Sciences and will join an interdisciplinary team of students and academics from Life Sciences and Writtle University College.

The successful candidate will have input into the exact direction of the research being undertaken.


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 a quantitative subject (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computer science, or similar).

We will also consider applicants with degrees from biological sciences (e.g. biology, ecology, animal behaviour, or similar), if they are able to clearly demonstrate a strong quantitative background and experience in data analysis and programming.

An MSc in a relevant subject is desirable (but not essential).

Experience of animal-handling and/or collection and analysis of animal behaviour data would be useful but 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 behaviour for 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 & analysis of animal behaviour for health & 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 (ecodling@essex.ac.uk).

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