Developing an automatic monitoring system to evaluate individual drinking behaviour and water intake of dairy cows in grazing systems


An opportunity to apply for a prestigious funded full-time PhD with UWE Bristol, Hartpury University and the University of Bristol.

The studentship will be funded by UWE Bristol and Hartpury University.

Ref: 2223-JAN-HAS13

The expected start date of this studentship is 1 January 2023

The closing date for applications is 28 August 2022

Studentship details

Applications are invited for a prestigious three year fully funded PhD studentship, commencing in January 2023.

The importance of access to sufficient drinking water for dairy cow welfare and production is widely recognised. Among other factors, cow water intake is dependent on ambient characteristics such as temperature, thus water requirements may increase with climate change. Therefore, determining the minimal water requirement of dairy cows is essential to safeguard their welfare and production under a global warming scenario. Technology devices have been explored for monitoring drinking activities and to determinate whether they provide reliable estimation of individual water intake. However, these studies have focused on cows housed in indoor systems and none under grazing, where animals are more exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

This project aims to:

  1. develop and validate an automatic monitoring system to evaluate individual drinking behaviour and water intake of dairy cows in grazing systems
  2. evaluate the effect of stocking of water trough on drinking behaviour of dairy cows in grazing systems
  3. evaluate the effect of dairy cow breed on these aspects.

This project is a collaboration between Hartpury University, University of the West of England and University of Bristol and it is well suited for PhD students interested in the use of novel technologies to improve animal welfare. The PhD student will join a multidisciplinary research group and will receive excellent training and support from their supervisory team.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr Alexandros Stratakos, Dr Day Teixeira or Dr Daniel Enríquez


The studentship is available from 1 January 2023 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £16,602 per annum.

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years for Home and Overseas applicants.


Applications are invited from ambitious, self-motivated and enthusiastic candidates, with a background in a related discipline.

Applicants must have a First-Class or Upper Second-Class BSc in an appropriately related subject area (e.g. Agricultural Science, Veterinary Science, Biology) with a solid grounding in farm based research. Although not essential, a Master’s degree or an MRes in a related discipline, and/or postgraduate experience with livestock is desirable. A comprehensive programme of support is also provided at UWE Bristol for postgraduate researchers to prepare candidates for future research careers.

The applicant will be based at both Frenchay Campus, UWE Bristol and Hartpury University, Gloucester. Travel will be required between the two partners according to the requirements of the project and expenses will be covered by the project.

This opportunity is available to UK and Overseas applicants who meet the eligibility criteria.

Applicants whose first language is not English require a recognised English language qualification. The minimum entry requirement is GCSE English at grade C or above or IELTS.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-JAN-HAS13.

Submit your application

Supporting documentation: you will need to upload your research proposal, all degree certificates and transcripts and proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application, so please have these available when you complete the application form.

References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application.

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 28 August 2022.

Further information

Interviews will take place on week commencing 12 September 2022. If you have not heard from us by 30 September 2022, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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