Prof Alistair Lawrence

UoE Temporary staff


I am Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh and at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). My PhD was on sheep social behaviour under the supervision of Professor David Wood-Gush (an early founder of animal welfare science). After completing my PhD I built a team of researchers focusing on the application of animal behaviour to interpret and improve animal welfare in a range of farm species.  My past research interests have included the aetiology of stereotypic behaviour, the measurement of stress and negative affective states, the role of early experience in neonatal development and welfare, and the genetics of behavioural traits including maternal and neonate behaviour and aggression.   


BSc (Hons) Class 2 (i) (Zoology) (University of St Andrews)

Diploma in Rural Science (University of Edinburgh)

Ph.D. (Agriculture) (University of Edinburgh)

Undergraduate teaching

I currently teach undergraduate veterinary and agricultural students at the University of Edinburgh and SRUC.

Postgraduate teaching

I also teach post-graduate masters students on the campus-based MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare

and the on-line MSc on International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law

Research summary

I am interested in positive psychological states in animals and understanding the wider effects of positive psychology on animal health and welfare. Our current focus is on animal play and environmental enrichment.