Assessment of broiler welfare

 

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Animal Science programme. The position is available from 1 May 2020 or later.

Title:
Assessment of broiler welfare

Research area and project description:
In broiler production, the rapid growth, high body weight and low levels of activity induce issues such as various degrees of lameness and contact dermatitis (i.e. footpad lesions and hock burns). Another welfare challenge is unwanted behaviours instigated by fearfulness. Exaggerated fear responses may cause smothering, resulting in scratches or even mortality due to suffocation. Finally, the reduced mobility of the birds, the barren environment and the high stocking densities limit the performance of natural behaviours such as dustbathing. The described issues are unwanted from an animal welfare point of view and results in economic losses for the farmer.

During the PhD period, the candidate will be part of two projects, both focusing on assessment of broiler welfare. One of the projects is a large international and interdisciplinary research project that aims to improve broiler welfare using Precision Livestock Farming (PLF). The responsibility of the PhD candidate in the PLF project concerns welfare assessments of conventional broilers, based on data collected directly on-farm or via video recordings, using traditional welfare assessment protocols. A number of possible links between different welfare indicators and between welfare indicators and age remain unexplored, and this will be the focus of the PhD candidate’s project. The second project concerns a welfare assessment of Danish conventional and organic broilers, focussing on walking ability and leg health. This is a recurrent surveillance requested at a regular basis by the Danish authorities to monitor the development in walking ability and leg health of Danish broiler chickens. As the method used to assess walking ability has been challenged, the project also includes a validation, and potentially a refinement, of the current method used to assess walking ability.   

The research area for the PhD project is ethology, but the successful applicant will be part of an international and interdisciplinary research team including experts working within the fields of ethology, engineering and computer science.

Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants to the PhD position must have a relevant Master Degree in either animal science, veterinary science or biology. Since the PhD project requires on-farm visits, the successful candidate must hold a driver’s licence.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is AU-Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.

Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Senior researcher Anja Brinch Riber, Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone: +4587157949


Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at GSST is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From the August 2019 call, GSST will no longer accept the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. Ask the test centre to send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at a Danish university for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to www.phd.scitech.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here - Note, the online application system opens on 1 December 2019.
Choose February 2020 Call with deadline 1 February 2020 at noon (11.59 AM CET).
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Animal Science'.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Assessment of broiler welfare"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

All information in the application must be in English or Danish, preferably English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts, grade point averages (weighted and unweighted), and diploma(s) for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST Application Guide.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • The project will only be initiated if final funding (from GSST/the faculty) is secured.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.