Development of a new strategy to improve dehorning wound healing and welfare in dairy calves


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

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

Ref: 2223-JAN-HAS12

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. Dehorning is a very commonly practiced procedure in dairy calves to facilitate animal management. The procedure is painful for the calves and requires the use of local analgesics. However, the effects of these analgesics are short lived, thus compromising animal welfare. There appears to be very little published research regarding dehorning wound healing treatments in calves. The healing process is dependent on many factors (for ecample, age of the animal, dehorning method) and can take several weeks during which time the wounds can become infected. With the increasing social concern and awareness for animal welfare, dehorning of dairy calves has received increasing attention from the public and the dairy industry. Therefore, new strategies need to be developed to address pain mitigation, wound healing and infection control in these animals. Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) is a novel, painless, antibiotic-free, non-thermal technology. CAP is produced by excitation of gas molecules using electrical discharges. Bases on our previous studies, CAP has been shown to eliminate a range of different microorganisms on a wide range of surfaces (for example, food, steel, skin) and promote healing of injuries due to the reactive species it contains (for example, oxygen/nitrogen).

The objectives of the study are:

  1. To assess the potential of CAP to promote dehorning wound healing and identify the best application method.
  2. To assess the effect of CAP against microorganisms associated with dehorning wounds.
  3. To evaluate the effect of CAP on dehorned dairy calves’ welfare and productive performance.

This project is a collaboration amongst the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Hartpury University, and University of Bristol. The PhD student will join a multidisciplinary research group and will receive excellent training and support from their supervisory team. The student will also benefit from a rich collaboration with an industrial partner that will help develop CAP technology further.

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 (for example, Microbiology, Biology, Veterinary Science) with a solid grounding in lab based research. Although not essential, a Master’s degree or an MRes in a related discipline, and/or postgraduate laboratory experience 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. 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-HAS12.

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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