PhD Student in Animal Health Economics

Copenhagen University
October 01, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:fixed-term position
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

We are looking for a motivated candidate for a 3-year research position as a PhD Student with responsibility to estimate the economic and societal burden of selected priority diseases and health conditions. The position is to be filled by 1 January 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter, and is financed through the European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare. You will be part of the Research Subgroup “Infectious Disease Epidemiology & Animal Health Economics (TIPTON)”, in the section: Animal Welfare and Disease Control, at the University of Copenhagen.


Animal health economics is a sub-field of both veterinary epidemiology and agricultural economics that considers the socioeconomic impacts of animal diseases and their mitigation strategies. The economic impacts of animal diseases can have wide-ranging consequences for both producers and consumers, as well as the public and private sectors, such as production losses, costs associated with prevention and control programmes, and reduced market access. Despite these potential losses, there are limited resources in the public health sector, and therefore, there is a need to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, and economic viability of existing and future disease mitigation programmes. Thus, the integration of veterinary epidemiology and economic principles applied to the analysis of animal diseases and their mitigation is an important emerging domain of Veterinary Public Health.

There is an increasing demand for economic assessments of the impact of animal diseases and a need to improve the allocation of resources invested in mitigation programmes at not only the producer level, but also the sector, national, and international levels. The newly established European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare is financed by the European Commission and provides a forum for collaboration within a highly interdisciplinary and international consortium of 15 partners across 11 countries. The Partnership is focused on socioeconomic burden assessments of priority diseases and production diseases in Denmark and the EU. These economic analyses will support veterinary authorities and/or stakeholders in assessing whether a particular investment in the mitigation of an animal disease is likely to result in an overall future net benefit for society (ex-ante assessment), whether the implemented disease mitigation measures are economically justified (ex-post assessment), and/or provide information on the economic merit of potential adaptations to existing mitigation measures. However, the decision- making process under real world conditions depends not only on monetary values but also on non-monetary aspects. The absence of a monetary price does not imply the absence of value (i.e., animal welfare), and therefore, these non- monetary factors should also be considered when evaluating potential animal disease mitigation policies.

The position is announced as a PhD Student in the Section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control (AWD). Employees in this section are involved in veterinary contingency tasks or research and capacity building projects, and work in collaboration with the primary livestock sector. These tasks and projects typically involve analysis of big and complex data, data management, risk assessment, statistical and/or simulation modelling of disease spread, analysing the impacts of mitigation measures, and the evaluation of potential economic outcomes. Furthermore, the employees in the epidemiology group in this section support projects in other sections at the Department within the University of Copenhagen. The new colleague will be assigned to the Infectious Disease Epidemiology & Animal Health Economics Research Subgroup (TIPTON).

More information about the section and the Research Group can be found here: https: //

Job description

The successful candidate will develop a generic multi-criteria framework to estimate the burden of livestock diseases with explicit consideration for the following components of disease impact: changes in animal productivity, costs associated with mitigation, changes in market access, changes in animal welfare, changes in antimicrobial use and implications for resistance, and finally, potential environmental and public health externalities. Within this framework, epidemiological and economic data and models will be combined to estimate the burden of select priority diseases, including the economic outcomes associated with market access to various trading zones using compartmentalisation approaches for emerging and re-emerging diseases.

The PhD Student will bear primary responsibility for generating economic assessments and associated data science, including the programming of economic and epidemiological models with consideration for heterogenous data sources, although assistance and guidance will be available from supervisors.

More specifically the PhD Student tasks will consist of:

  • Development of economic models which assess the economic and societal burden of selected priority diseases and production diseases
  • Using and improving methods to prevent double counting of disease impacts and the overestimation of the benefits of mitigation
  • Development of new economic methods to assess the economic impact of trade losses by using, e.g., trade monitoring databases
  • Data management and data science
  • Project management, e.g., coordination of research activities in consultation with EU project partners
  • Research, including publication/academic dissemination
  • Sharing knowledge with the rest of society
  • Participation in PhD courses and knowledge dissemination via teaching
  • Other tasks may arise during the appointment.

    Required qualifications and selection criteria

    The applicant should hold the professional as well as personal skills and qualifications stated below:

  • A completed master's degree in Economics, Veterinary Public Health, Computer Science, Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine, or a related field
  • Programming skills in R (or other languages), including working with complex datasets
  • Experience with animal health data and animal health economic methods
  • Experience with the development of data-driven animal health economic models
  • Good data management skills
  • Good communication skills in English (both oral and written)
  • Good collaboration skills and team player abilities
  • Place of employment

    The AWD Section is located on the Frederiksberg Campus of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Our research environment is highly international and stimulating. We frequently organize seminars, workshops, summer schools with international speakers, and have retreats with our international collaborators.

    Terms of employment

    The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

    The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years. The start date is January 1, 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

    The employment is conditioned upon the applicant's successful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant during an initial three-month employment as a research assistant.

    The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty's rules on achieving the degree.

    Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 28,800 DKK/Roughly 3,800 EUR (April 2023 level) plus pension.

    Questions For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor: Associate Professor Dr. Priv. Doz. Beate Conrady ([email protected])

    General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School's website: https: // Foreign applicants may find this link useful: www. (International Staff Mobility).

    Application procedure

    Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now' below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format:

    1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

    2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

    3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master's degree must be equivalent to a Danish master's degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: https: // assessments/assessment-database. Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science

    4. Publication list (if possible)

    Deadline for applications: 1 October 2023, 23.59pm CET

    We reserve the right to not consider materials received after the deadline, and to not consider applications that do not meet the abovementioned requirements.

    The further process

    After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor. Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

    You can read about the recruitment process at https: //

    The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

    Interviews are expected to be held in week 41 (the 9th-13th of October 2023)

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background.


    Application deadline: 01-10-2023

    Employment start: 01-01-2024 or as soon as possible thereafter

    Working hours: Full time

    Contact: Beate Conrady ([email protected])

    Department/Location: Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control (AWD), Grønnegårdsvej 8, DK-1870 Frederiksberg Campus Denmark

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