PhD candidate ‘Welfare risk assessment in the broiler chicken production chain’ towards smart welfare monitoring in broiler chickens (1.0 FTE)

PhD candidate ‘Welfare risk assessment in the broiler chicken production chain’ towards smart welfare monitoring in broiler chickens (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
13 Jan 31 Jan Utrecht

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Would you like to participate in a project on welfare risk assessment in farm animals by bringing together information on welfare indicators? Join us now!

Job description

As part of a collaborative project between Utrecht University (UU) and the and the Office for Risk Assessment and Research (BuRO), an independent part of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), we seek an enthusiastic candidate for a PhD position on the topic of welfare risk assessment in the broiler chicken production chain. This position is part of a larger project on welfare risk assessment in farm animals. This project will also focus on bringing together information on welfare indicators and integrating the information to allow smart welfare monitoring over time.

Advanced knowledge on the accumulation of welfare risks that broiler chickens encounter on farm, during catching and transport and at slaughter will aid welfare risk management in the broiler chicken production chain and will allow the identification of key areas where improvements are needed.

The goals of the PhD-project are three-fold:

  1. to develop a methodology for smart monitoring of the welfare of broiler chickens, based on a systematic literature review;
  2.  to formulate and apply a smart welfare assessment methodology in the Dutch broiler production chain, on-farm, during catching and transport and at slaughter, and;
  3. to analyse the data collected and to investigate the integration of welfare indicators and the accumulation of welfare risks throughout the broiler chicken production chain. The results will be published in a Dutch handbook for the BuRO-NVWA and in a PhD thesis.

You will work on systematic literature review and data collection, integration and analysis. This position will also involve a lot of communication with stakeholders from the production chain and with the project team. Knowledge on animal welfare and on welfare risk assessment is essential. Knowledge on broiler production or on the wider poultry industry is desired. The planned start of this PhD project is 1 April 2023.

The findings of the PhD project will be published in peer reviewed journals, and you will present your work in the department and at international conferences. You will be responsible for the daily supervision of students participating in this project.

As this PhD position is part of a bigger collaborative project between Utrecht University (UU) and the BuRO-NVWA, you will closely collaborate with at least one further PhD candidate. You will also collaborate with the Horizon Europe project aWISH, which focuses on closely related topics and also includes research on broiler chickens.

The Animal Welfare group is part of the division Animals in Science and Society in the Department of Population Health Sciences of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UU.


Utrecht University



  • an MSc degree in animal sciences, veterinary sciences, biology or equivalent.
  • a highly motivated curiosity-driven and creative individual with a passion for animal behaviour and welfare;
  • knowledge on animal welfare and animal welfare risk assessment;
  • experience with data collection, integration and analysis;
  • excellent communication and collaboration skills with stakeholders from various backgrounds (university, industry, government);
  • very good Dutch communication skills (verbal and written
  • proficiency in English, both spoken and written;
  • driver’s license B (to allow visits to production sites);
  • willingness to travel;
  • high technical affinity and analytical skills;
  • demonstrable organisational skills, perseverance and an independent, proactive working style;
  • a strong motivation to (learn how to) communicate your research in journal papers and international conferences;
  • a keen interest in the outreach of your work outside of the academic setting (e.g. through meetings with our collaboration partner);
  • an enthusiastic mindset as a team player;
  • the willingness to look beyond the borders of your discipline and a strong motivation to work in a multidisciplinary and diverse team.

Conditions of employment

This is an appointment of 1.0 FTE for the duration of one year plus 3 years. In case of a good performance, extending the employment is one of the possibilities.

The minimum gross salary is €2.541 and the maximum gross salary is €3.247 (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month, at a full-time employment.

Besides that, you will receive a holiday allowance of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 %. Utrecht University also has an appealing package of terms of employment, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme. For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has a unique position in the Netherlands. Not only is this the only institution where veterinarians are trained, researchers are also working together on innovative scientific research. In addition, the faculty provides specialist clinical care in the largest academic veterinary hospital in Europe. Thanks to this position, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is a point of contact for all veterinary matters, both nationally and increasingly internationally. The faculty employs approximately 900 veterinarians, scientists and support staff and counts 1.500 students and is located at Utrecht Science Park in the Androclus building near the historical city centre of Utrecht.


  • PhD
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1203234



Yalelaan 2, 3584 CM, Utrecht

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