PhD Position in Economics of Animal Health

University of Zurich


Section of Epidemiology
Vetsuisse Faculty

PhD Position or Postdoc Position in The Economics of Animal Health

100 %

We are looking to fill a position at either PhD or postdoc level in the economics of animal health. The focus of the project is the Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs). Livestock are part of an economic system. Therefore, the evaluation of the burden of animal disease must be placed in an economic context that captures not just farm level effects but livelihood and wider economy impacts as well as externalities related to the environment and human health.

GBADs is a large collaborative project with a consortium of 16 partners coordinated by the World Organisation for Animal Health and the University of Liverpool with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. More details of the project can be found at: GBADs

Your responsibilities

The successful candidate will develop models for the optimum production of various livestock systems at farm level. This will form the basis of the "Animal Health Loss Envelope", which is essentially the difference between an idealized farming system where there are no net losses in livestock production and no expenditure on animal health due to disease or suboptimal nutrition and the actual levels of productivity observed in these systems. The difference is hypothesized to be due to losses due to diseases and other avoidable constraints on animal production. To achieve this aim it will be necessary to undertake systematic searches for relevant data, database analysis and economic modelling of livestock systems. This will include detailed analysis of farm budgets and losses due to morbidity and premature mortality of farm livestock. The literature on the economic impacts of different livestock diseases will be examined in order to attribute shares of the loss envelope to diseases and to other causes of health loss, such as nutrition and accidents.

Your profile

Applicants should have a background or experience in the economics of animal health and quantitative analysis. The project includes the handling and statistical analysis of data and therefore experience with statistical analysis would be useful (eg R statistical computing). Knowledge of animal diseases such as through a veterinary background would be an advantage. A postdoc would be expected to have a PhD in an area relevant to this project. A PhD student would be expected to have a Master degree in a subject such as (veterinary) epidemiology or (animal) health economics.
A high standard of written and spoken English is essential.

The successful candidate will be based in the Section of Veterinary Epidemiology in the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Switzerland. For a PhD student the contract is initially for 3 years and he/she will be supervised by Paul Torgerson (University of Zurich) and Alexandra Shaw (University of Edinburgh).

What we offer

We offer a stimulating and supportive work environment that provides plenty of opportunities to develop an academic career. If recruited as a PhD student, you will either join the Graduate School through the MNF Faculty University of Zurich or the Vetsuisse Faculty Zurich/Bern. The position for a PhD student is initially for 3 years, whilst a post doc would be for an initial period of 2 years. However, the vision of GBADs is for a longer term project with a review of funding and likely extension after 2 years. Thus there may be opportunities for longer term employment following the initial contract period.

Place of work

see above

Start of employment

Employment start date to be mutually agreed.

Further information

Interested candidates should contact either
Prof. Paul Torgerson or
Prof. Alexandra Shaw

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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