Free open Job in Wales Improving the Efficiency of Sheep Production through Environmental Management at Bangor University

Application Deadline: 5p.m. November 17th, 2017

Please visit http://kess2.ac.uk/buk2136/ for full details of this opportunity.

Applications are invited for a three-year research PhD studentship in the area of land management and sustainable intensification of livestock systems at the School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, Bangor University, UK. 

The studentship is funded by the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) (http://kess2.ac.uk) in collaboration with our industry partner, Innovis. It will cover tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend at the standard RCUK rate (around £14,300 per year), as well as a travel budget for workshop and conference attendance. The studentship is available from January 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Applicants should hold a first or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in environmental science or management, agriculture, veterinary or animal science, or a related degree. Please submit a CV (max 2 pages) together with a covering letter to Dr Prysor Williams at prysor.williams@bangor.ac.uk  and cc to Dr Penny Dowdney at p.j.dowdney@bangor.ac.uk by 17:00 on 17th November 2017.

Detailed project outline

The livestock sector is under increasing pressure to improve the efficiencies of production, both from economic and environmental aspects. Reducing losses (thereby increasing output for the same input) is central to this. Upland sheep systems face particular challenges with inclement weather: it is well known that hypothermia accounts for a significant proportion of losses of new-born lambs (30%, Barlow et al. 1987), whilst sheep also expend much energy to maintain body temperature, which makes them more susceptible to other disease challenges, and increases production costs. Increasing the provision of shelter through the planting of hedges and trees may therefore improve the survival and performance of upland sheep flocks. In parallel, the uplands are regarded as key areas for afforestation programmes needed to reduce the impacts of climate change (e.g. flooding) and provide improved habitat for biodiversity. Strategic planting of trees and hedges therefore present economic and environmental “win–wins” to both increase and improve the economic viability of upland sheep systems and deliver multiple environmental benefits. The specific research question being addressed in this project is

How does the provision of on-farm shelter impact livestock production efficiency? 

This project will answer that question through gathering evidence from sheep behaviour, animal performance, and health and mortality data.

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be resident in the Convergence Area of Wales on University registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification. 

For further details of KESS 2 see here: www.kess2.ac.uk  

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