The Christopher Wathes Award

The Christopher Wathes Award


This Award has been established to honour the contributions which Professor Christopher Wathes OBE made to animal science, in particular through improving the welfare of farmed
livestock. The awards are intended to help members of BSAS to attend scientific meetings and workshops in the UK or overseas who might not otherwise be able to go through lack of financial support. The award is targeted at early career scientists.

Who was Christopher Wathes?

Christopher was an outstanding and uncompromising scientist who acted on evidence and always challenged ill-informed opinions. He was also strongly supportive in developing the careers of his younger colleagues. His career began with a degree in physics followed by a PhD in environmental physics. In 1980 he became a lecturer in animal husbandry at the University of Bristol. Here his interest in the impact of housing design on farm animals led him to develop expertise in the field of animal welfare including the use of preference testing. In 1990 he moved to Silsoe Research Institute to head their bioengineering division, where he was at the forefront of the newly emerging field of precision livestock farming. He then joined the Royal Veterinary College in 2005 as their first Professor of Animal Welfare, where he also developed a strong interest in animal ethics. Christopher chaired the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) for eight years from 2005, working with a wide range of stakeholders to develop a clear strategy and produce a number of highly relevant reports, which have a lasting impact on the welfare of farmed livestock in the UK. He was also instrumental in the formation of EuroFAWC, providing a platform for informed debate and development of shared policy relating to animal welfare throughout Europe. He was awarded the 2002 Research Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and the 2016 UFAW Medal for Outstanding Achievements in Animal Welfare Science. He also received an OBE in 2013 for services to animal welfare.


The award must be used for travel, accommodation and/or registration to attend a meeting or educational workshop. The value of each award will be determined by the distance traveled by the applicant from their place of residence to the location of the meeting and will provide no more than 70% of the total cost of attendance. This award specifically supports studies involving animal welfare, precision livestock farming, design of animal housing or ethical considerations relating to the use of animals. In a brief summary, describe how your work meets the scope of this award focusing on the originality/novelty of the scientific advances or development in knowledge and potential benefit to animal welfare. The maximum amount awarded will be up to £750 for travel.

Review of competition entries

Applications to the Christopher Wathes award will be assessed based on the application form. In making its decision, the selection panel will consider the relevance of the applicants work and the extent to which they will benefit from attending the educational workshop or meeting.

Reporting requirements

The award holder will be required to submit a short report to BSAS following their attendance at the educational workshop or meeting, which focuses on the benefit in knowledge and skills
gained from winning the award.


If you have any queries, please contact

What is the prize?

The maximum amount awarded will be up to £750.

How do I apply?

The award is open to applicants from all branches of animal science who are in the early stages of their careers. Applications are accepted from BSAS members only. Please complete the on-line application form and return by the application deadline.

Application deadline

30th November 2022

Click here for the downloadable information leaflet. 

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Please answer all questions

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Application Background (please complete in line with Award criteria

Please provide name and address of an academic referee supporting this application (please ensure that they have sgreed to support the application)


Please succinctly, state your main objectives (250 words max)

Lay Summary and Impact

Please provide a lay summary of your current research/study focus. Briefly describe how your work meets the scope of this award focusing on the originality/novelty of the scientific advances or development in knowledge. You must include benefits that would accrue from this proposal covering the (i) development of the scientific area and (ii) benefit to the animal science industry and or animal welfare (500 words max)

Technical Summary

Please provide a summary of the work that you plan to undertake as part of this award. . If the application is to support presenting at a conference, include any submitted abstract (as an appendix) and date when you are likely to hear of the outcome (500 words max)

Benefits of the Award

Briefly provide an overview and background of yourself as an animal scientist. What are your strength, challenges and future goals or aspiration? Describe how this award will support your current work and provide opportunities for your professional development or progression (500 words max)

Expenditure Breakdown

(including dates, location(s), travel and accommodation)

Past Recipients

2020 Nienke Van Staaveren

Nienke has chosen to use the funding associated with the award, to attend the EAAP 2020 and WAFL 2021 meetings, as she feels this will provide her with an invaluable opportunity to not only share her findings on novel health and welfare traits for genomic selection in turkey production, but it will also enable her to gain an important insight into the latest advancements in breeding for improved animal welfare.