UCD PhD Scholarship (School of Agriculture and Food Science)

UCD PhD Scholarship (School of Agriculture and Food Science)

Scholarship title Economic modelling of potential intervention strategies used to replace zinc oxide and reduce antimicrobial usage on Irish pig farms.
Supervisor(s) Prof Michael Wallace (Principal Supervisor, UCD), Prof John O’Doherty (UCD), Dr Peadar Lawlor (Teagasc, Moorepark),
Duration 4 years
Funding information Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Value of the scholarship (per annum) The studentship provides a stipend of €24,000. College fees are paid by the student from the stipend
Closing date and time Friday 1st May 2020 at 5pm GMT
Commencement date Sept 2020

Post summary PigNutriStrat is multidisciplinary project, including animal nutritionists, molecular biologists, microbiologists and bioeconomic modellers from University College Dublin, Teagasc and Waterford Institute of Technology. The overall objective is to enhance pig health and welfare in order to reduce the need for antimicrobial usage, through better hygiene and biosecurity, management and nutritional strategies during pregnancy, lactation and post-weaning and education and training of personnel, veterinarians and advisors. Specific alternatives to in-feed antibiotics will also be investigated. This project will include economic modelling and economic information will be collected for all proposed interventions. The research will quantify the benefits of reduced antibiotic use and the improvements from changes implemented by farmers, advisors and veterinarians. Analysis will be conducted using the Teagasc Pig Production Model (TPPM) platform in Microsoft Excel, using a stochastic budgetary (i.e. risk budgeting) simulation approach. Data from the Teagasc pig eProfit Monitor will be used for specifying and validating the key model assumptions (i.e. production parameters, production costs, revenues). The TPPM has been scaled to simulate the herd and system as a whole. The core engine of the model is based on nutrition. Inputs to the system include those associated with improvements in pig performance, higher carcass grades, and lower penalties in the abattoir. The model was developed with each of the subsystem components divided into sub-models: sows, weaners and finishers. Each sub-model allows the identification of economic inefficiencies and the development of strategies to reduce costs and increase profitability. The model has flexibility to allow for on-farm changes (e.g. new facilities, changing diet specifications, new genetics, management, etc.) and to allow simulation of diseases, welfare problems and the economic impact of different strategies. It is proposed to use input data from the successful strategies identified in PigNutriStrat in this model. The student will also receive discipline-specific and generic skills

graduate training and will complete 30 credits of course work. The student will be based at UCD and will registered in School of Agriculture and Food Science.
Standard duties and responsibilities of the scholarship
• Literature review
• Thesis work on the following project tasks:
• Establishment of an agreed protocol for the definition and measurement of costs.
• Quantification of the current cost of antimicrobial usage on Irish pig units.
• Development of a model for economic appraisal of alternative strategies.
• Application of the bioeconomic model to evaluate strategies to reduce antimicrobial usage
• Data collation and statistical analysis.
• Preparation of reports, publications and conference papers, as well as oral and poster presentations.

Person specification

• Applicants should hold or expect to attain, as a minimum a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Food and Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Science, Animal Science or a related discipline.
• A Masters in Food and Agribusiness Management, Animal Science, Veterinary Science, Business studies, or a related discipline.
Knowledge & Experience
• Experience of working with animals
• Experience in economic modelling
• Experience of statistical analysis
• Knowledge of animal production
Skills & Competencies
• Excellent data analysis and IT skills, organizational skills and communication skills (both written and oral)
• Ability to work as part of a team as well as under own initiative
• Ability to work under pressure to meet project deadlines
• Flexibility and ability to problem-solve
• Applicants whose first language is not English must have completed an English Language Test (TOEFL/IELTS).

Further information
For any informal queries, please contact
Prof Michael Wallace, +353 (0) 1 7167101; Michael.wallace@ucd.ie
Prof. John O’Doherty, +353 (0)1 7167128 / 6012161; John.vodoherty@ucd.ie

Application procedure
Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest simultaneously to:
Prof Michael Wallace (Michael.wallace@ucd.ie)
Prof. John O’Doherty (John.vodoherty@ucd.ie)

Updated: 17th April 2020 — 12:00 pm