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Scientist recognised for animal welfare research

Dr Jessica Martin has been named Early Career Researcher of the Year in recognition of her work to minimise animal suffering.

Dr Martin with piglets

A welfare expert has been recognised for her work in farm and laboratory animals with an industry award.

The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) has attributed the Early Career Animal Welfare Researcher of the Year Award to Dr Jessica Martin, Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Animal Welfare at the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

 Her prize recognises Dr Martin’s substantive contributions to animal welfare through research, education, legislative and institutional policy, and real-world impact.

Dr Martin’s research primarily aims to minimise or eliminate suffering relating  to the end of life of animals.

She was the co-inventor of a novel technology, known as Livetec Nex, which improves efficiency and welfare outcomes compared with traditional methods for the killing of individual birds on-farm. Her design was named "New Product of the Year" by Poultry Business Magazine in 2020, and widely adopted by industry in association with its Red Tractor compliance. She was also the deputy lead of an international research team carrying out ground-breaking welfare assessment of Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) in poultry, and was instrumental in an application to the European Commission to allow the use of LAPS in poultry, resulting in its addition to EU law in 2018 (EU Directive Amendment 2018/723). She is now taking this technology into other species both in farm and laboratory settings.

The UFAW prize, which recognises the achievements of early career scientists who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of animals, has been jointly awarded to Dr Martin and Dr Nienke van Staaveren from the University of Guelph, Canada, in recognition of their impactful work and breadth of experience covering a range of species and topics.

The winners will be presented with their awards, and deliver a presentation about their work, at UFAW’s International conference in June in Edinburgh.

I am delighted to have received this award and would like to thank UFAW and my nominators for their support and encouragement. All animals deserve a life worth living and a death free of pain and anxiety. Research in the area of end of life ensures we can minimise animal suffering both physically and mentally, protecting all animals that humans have responsibility for e.g. livestock and animals used for research purposes.

Dr Jessica Martin, the Roslin Institute, R(D)SVS

Both van Staaveren and Dr Martin impressed the panel with their commitment to improving animal welfare on a large scale, their ability to engage and work with a wide range of stakeholders, and their scientific expertise. They are also both strongly committed to supporting the next generations of scientists through supervision and mentoring of students, something UFAW values highly.

Dr Huw Golledge, Chief Executive and Scientific Director, UFAW

** The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and it is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. **

Related links

Dr Jessica Martin on farm and lab animal welfare

UFAW conference