Animal welfare is a critical aspect of responsible pet ownership, livestock management and wildlife conservation. To deepen knowledge and advance understanding of animal welfare, the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is committed to supporting research that addresses key animal welfare issues and generates evidence-based solutions that will be relevant to the veterinary and animal welfare professions. But how do we decide which research projects to fund? Let's take a closer look at the process.
AWF's research funding is guided by its mission to put animal welfare at the heart of veterinary practice via evidence-based research, education and conscientious debate. Each year, through our research calls, we invite researchers to submit proposals on specific topics relevant to animal welfare, under a 3-year umbrella theme. Our current theme is ‘Breeding for better welfare’ and the research call for 2022 focused on "Meeting demand without compromising animal welfare". This specific research call was for research identifying the welfare implications associated with breeding for demand, as well as breeding practices that are successful at maintaining good welfare whilst meeting demand in any animal species.
Once the research proposals are submitted – we initially only ask for an overview of the project – we go through a selection process, involving expert review and evaluation, to determine which projects will receive funding.
AWF's research funding decisions are based on scientific expertise, relevance to animal welfare, and potential for impact. Projects that align with AWF's strategic priorities and have the potential to drive positive, long-lasting change in animal welfare practices as well as generate discussions around key animal welfare topics are given priority. AWF also encourages collaborative research that involves partnerships between academia, industry, and other stakeholders to ensure that research findings are relevant and applicable to real-world situations.
Research projects selection process:
AWF is committed to transparency and accountability in its research funding process; once the projects are selected for funding, we ask researchers to provide regular updates on the progress and outcomes of the research. We also budget for the publication of the final research paper to be in open access - this helps to ensure that the research funded by AWF is accessible and disseminated widely, contributing to the advancement of knowledge and best practices in animal welfare.