Young animal welfare scientist gains national recognition

26 Jul 2011 16:12:51.920

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A researcher from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham has been recognised for her successful and significant work in animal welfare.

Dr Lucy Asher, who is currently leading a five year project which will help to assess whether young dogs are likely to be successful in their Guide Dog training, has been named as one of the three winners of the inaugural Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year Award — presented by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).

Dr Asher a lecturer in Epidemiology and Animal Behaviour, said: “It has been a real honour to receive this award. It may sound clichéd but I genuinely care about the welfare of animals so to be recognised for making a contribution means a lot to me. I feel very lucky to have worked with some exceptional scientists on important animal welfare issues, such as the health of pedigree dogs.”

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The UFAW Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year award is to recognise the achievements of young scientists who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of animals. It is open to postgraduate students, anywhere in the world, currently studying for a doctoral degree or in post-doctoral work within six years of their PhD.

Lucy Asher’s PhD research, carried out at Newcastle University, involved methods of quantifying repetitive behaviours in captive starlings. She has worked in a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded post at the Royal Veterinary College on projects at London and Bristol including welfare of chickens and pedigree dogs, and continued her studies on mathematical approaches for describing behaviour. Dr Asher was also the lead author on a paper published in the Veterinary Journal on inherited defects in pedigree dogs which has been in the top 10 most downloaded papers in that journal since its publication.

Dr James Kirkwood, UFAW Chief Executive and Scientific Director, said: “The standard of applications for this award was extremely high. All three winners have accomplished a great deal of successful and significant work in animal welfare science and have contributed much to future development in their respective fields.”

This year, the first time that this award has been made, saw three winners presented with their prize of £1,000 and award certificate by Professor John Webster of the University of Bristol on behalf of UFAW. The recipients were:  Dr Lucy Asher, Lecturer at Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science; Dr Emma Baxter, Research Scientist at the Scottish Agricultural College; and Dr Lisa Collins, Lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Pictures of Dr Asher are available on request.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.


The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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More information is available from Dr Lucy Asher, at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 6281,
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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