lundi 18 décembre 2017

Competitively funded PhD in equine stereotypy

Applications are invited for a 3 year, competitively funded PhD in the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK, exploring the: 
Development and Pathophysiology of Stereotypic Behaviour in Horses.
Stereotypies are repetitive, invariant compulsive behavioural sequences often observed in captive or domestic animals. Domestic horses, particularly those kept in intensive housing systems (boxes, stalls, etc.) show a range of stereotypic behaviours, including oral (crib-biting) and locomotor (weaving) behaviours, with the prevalence of stereotypic behaviours over 30% in certain groups of competition horses. 
One strong risk factor for the development of stereotypic behaviour is social isolation however, relatively little is known about the mechanisms that link social behaviour and stereotypies. It has been suggested that sub-optimal social events may increase the oxidative free-radical status of the animal, via shifts in dopamine physiology, to produce the stereotypy phenotype.  Supporting this link, there is substantial evidence to suggest that free radical levels can be significantly reduced through the ingestion of antioxidants. Antioxidant supplementation may therefore have the exciting potential to reduce stereotypy development in animals predisposed to this abnormal behavioural condition.
Interested candidates should write a research proposal for a project relating to social behaviour, stereotypies and oxidative stress, or something in this general area. Based in the Centre of Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology, University of Portsmouth, the project will be supervised by equine behaviour specialists Dr Leanne Proops, Dr Matt Parker (University of Portsmouth) and Dr Sebastian McBride (Aberystwyth). Candidates are strongly encouraged to contact us prior to submitting a research proposal. 
How to apply: Letters of application including a CV and 500-word proposed research outline should be sent to and by 15th January. We will select projects that we feel are suitable, and then interview candidates (likely on the phone/skype). Successful candidates will then submit their application to the Portsmouth Psychology Department UK bursary competition, for which the deadline is the 11th February. 
Funding & Eligibility: The position is open to EU/UK students. The competitively funded studentship includes tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £14,553 (2017/18). A good undergraduate degree in a related field is essential, a postgraduate degree and experience working with horses is highly desirable.