PhD Welfare of pigs and poultry in outdoor systems

ILVO is looking for a candidate with a university degree for
Function EV: Welfare of pigs and poultry in outdoor systems
Vacancy number: EV/2020/001/D68
Entity: Eigen Vermogen (EV) - Flanders Research Institute for agriculture, fisheries and food
Department: Animal Sciences
Place of employment: Scheldeweg 68 - 9090 Melle


Your main task in the frame of this project (together with an international team of researchers and facilitators) will be evaluating how effective animal welfare self-assessment by the farmer (via a mobile application) combined with automated feedback (including anonymous benchmarking with other comparable farmers) is in improving the welfare of animals in commercial organic and low input production systems. Other aims include (1) farmer sensitisation about animal welfare issues, (2) testing agreement in scoring of animal welfare measures between farmers and trained observers, (3) providing data for the central data base that will be useful for researchers and the farming sector for documenting main animal welfare issues in low-input farming systems and for identifying differences in time or between systems.

These data will be generated during a longitudinal study including 20 to 30 broiler chicken and 20 to 30 pig farmers from three (BE, NL, FR) and two (BE, NL) countries, respectively. The effect of using the self-assessment tool and being given automated feedback on the animal welfare status will be tested by comparing differences in animal welfare outcomes before and after using the tools. Data collected by the trained researcher and/or farmer will be used to document trends over time.

Your profile

We are looking for a motivated colleague who:

  • holds a university degree (Master’s or a degree of minimum 4 years of study considered equivalent by Ghent University) in a biological science, including animal science, veterinary medicine, zoology, bio-engineering, and related disciplines *
  • has strong interest in sustainable and animal-friendly pig and poultry farming
  • is fascinated by scientific research and highly motivated to obtain a PhD
  • has good IT (MS Word/MS Excel/Powerpoint/Outlook), numeracy and statistical skills
  • ideally has experience in designing and conducting scientific experiments, analyzing data, presenting results
  • has a European driving license (category B)
  • has an analytical and critical mindset
  • likes taking initiative, is pro-active
  • has strong communicative skills and actively engages to build and maintain contact with the collaborating project partners
  • has strong organizational and people skills
  • is fluent in writing and speaking in English
  • ideally is able to speak both Dutch and French
  • ideally has knowledge and/or hands-on experience with either pigs or poultry
  • holds a FELASA C certificate (laboratory animal science) or will obtain such a certificate within the first year of the PhD (courses will be organized).

How to apply?

Deadline for application is 15th of February 2020. Please send a letter of application highlighting your motivation to join our team and extended CV with clear reference to project PhD - PPILOW to Prof. dr. Frank Tuyttens, Group Leader Farm Animal Welfare & Behaviour (Animal Science Unit) via email to Selected candidates will be invited for a personal interview on Friday 28th of February or Monday 2nd of March 2020.

More info?

Job content: Mirjan Thys, Post-doc Researcher, Farm Animal Welfare & Behaviour - T: 09 272 25 84 - or Frank Tuyttens, Group Leader, Farm Animal Welfare & Behaviour: +32 9 272 26 05 –
Terms of employment: Caroline Buyst, HR-specialist - 09 272 25 12 -

More info and requirements

EUThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 816172