University of Bristol

The University of Bristol (UNIVBRIS) is a world-class university offering a stimulating academic environment with centres of excellence in all faculties. In the 2001 national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Bristol demonstrated its position as one of the UK's leading research universities.The Department of Clinical Veterinary Science employs over 100 academic/professional members of staff and 130 support staff in the Department, organised into three divisions. The Department is contributing both to fundamental bioscience and to veterinary science.


In the last RAE Animal Behaviour and Welfare was identified as a particularly strong group within the Department. This group is led by Professor C. Nicol, and comprises 21 academic staff, 5 support staff, and 8 post-graduate students, making it the largest research group in this area in the UK. The strength of this group is that within the single department a cross-disciplinary approach can be applied to answer major fundamental and applied questions. The group has a strong internationally-recognised track record in fundamental studies of animal welfare, including methods of measuring motivation, the causation of abnormal behaviour, social interactions, animal cognition, pain and pain relief. It is also strong in applied aspects of animal welfare, particularly studies of poultry housing and husbandry, lameness, transport, slaughter, the on-farm assessment of welfare and the application of epidemiology to on-farm welfare problems.

Prof. C. Nicol graduated from Oxford University in 1981 with a first class honours degree in Zoology. She then completed a PhD on the welfare of caged laying hens, which was awarded in 1986. In the same year she moved to a lectureship in farm animal welfare at the University of Bristol, where she proceeded to develop a research group. She has published over 200 articles, including 87 papers in peer reviewed journals, and has attracted the equivalent of more than 4 million Euros in research funding. She promoted to a Personal Chair in 2001 and continues to lead a large and successful research group. As she has a wide experience in both fundamental and applied questions related to welfare issues, she is WP-leader of WP7.

The subcontractor of UNIVBRIS will provide additional data from Bristol to WP5. The data come from a project, where a Dutch researcher (Dr. P. Zimmerman) is working on. This researcher will get back to the Netherlands in March of April 2004. The subcontracting formula is chosen to make sure the researcher will make the data available for the LayWel project on a freelance basis, whatever his situation and wherever he is. The advantage of this approach is that the work can be done in a minimum of time, and thus money, as the researcher knows all the ins and outs of the project. No other researcher has the same knowledge and could do the task that efficient.