The Donkey Sanctuary funds and supports collaborators around the world to carry out non-invasive research projects with the aim of improving donkey welfare.

In addition The Donkey Sanctuary also has a team of dedicated scientists and veterinarians carrying out 'in house' research. A very important part of our work is the publication of these studies and as such we ensure all findings are published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at relevant conferences.

All projects are co-ordinated by a projects team who carry out their own research and co-ordinate the work of collaborating scientists. The nature of research projects may be basic science, applied science, application of information technology or the advancement of education relating to donkey and mule health and welfare.

Research is only useful to donkeys and mules worldwide if the results are practically applied, as an organization we are committed to implementing change and raising awareness of donkeys and mules based upon sound scientific findings.

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College of Life and Environmental Sciences

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter conducts internationally-recognised research across each of its disciplines of Biosciences, Geography, Psychology and Sport and Health Sciences to provide a rich and diverse interdisciplinary teaching and research portfolio.

The Geography Department is recognised for excellence in intensive research and funded research undertaken includes:

  • Rural geography, rural development, agriculture
  • Environmental policy
  • Animal geographies
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Department of Psychology, Politics and Sociology

The Department of Psychology, Politics and Sociology at the Canterbury Christ Church University brings together a range of disciplines that encourage a greater understanding of social issues, human behaviour and the ever-changing political landscape.

The psychology team consists of specialists from some of the major sub-disciplines, including cognitive, developmental, health, social and psychophysiological psychology, bringing together a commitment to excellence in scientific research.

This diversity of expertise enables us to pursue research topics of considerable contemporary significance, whilst maintaining excellent standards of teaching through the inclusion of the most up-to-date findings.

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Institute of Infection and Global Health

The Institute of Infection and Global Health based at the University of Liverpool was established to bring together leading medical, veterinary and basic science researchers from across the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

The Institute studies the clinical, biological and epidemiological aspects of infectious disease, along with the wider health implications for human society and animal welfare.

It also integrates medical and veterinary research to enhance exchange of knowledge and skills. The Institute's research is built around four themes: tackling infectious diseases of adults and children; enhancing food safety and food security; tracking emerging zoonotic infections; and improving the health of pets.

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute

The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute is a premier national institution bringing together research programmes in food crops, horticultural and industrial crops, livestock and range management, land and water management, and socio-economics.

The Institute promotes sound agricultural research, technology generation and dissemination to ensure food security through improved productivity and environmental conservation.

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Moredun Research Institute

The Moredun Research Institute in Midlothian, Scotland is committed to promoting animal health and welfare through research and education and is recognised worldwide for its contribution to research into infectious diseases of farmed livestock.

Established by Scottish farmers in 1920, the Institute's work has always been firmly based on addressing the needs of the farming industry and their research has led to the development of many vaccines, diagnostic tests and improved treatment strategies for farm animals across the globe.

The Institute’s mission is to prevent and control infectious diseases of livestock. It conducts research on diseases that undermine efficiency, impair animal welfare and threaten public health.

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Parasites Research Group

The Parasites Research Group is part of The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham dedicated to improving the well-being of animals and people through world-leading innovative research and technology transfer in basic, applied and clinical sciences.

The group studies parasites ranging from intracellular protozoa, such as Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum, to large multi-cellular worms including Fasciola hepatica.

Areas of investigation include:

  • The function of parasite-derived molecules in controlling host immunity thereby enhancing survival of both pathogen and host.
  • The role of macrophages, T-cells and regulatory cytokines in controlling parasitic infection and the effects of these in bystander infection.
  • Various aspects of protozoa infection including neuroparasitology, stress tolerance in T. gondii, bradyzoite-tachyzoite conversion, and the development of novel invertebrate models of infection.
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Plymouth University

Over the last few years we have been providing Biological Sciences and Animal Behaviour and Welfare undergraduates at Plymouth University with some practical experience in the form of an annual field trip to The Donkey Sanctuary.

The School of Biological Sciences is research-active in a range of areas and hosts cutting-edge trans disciplinary research in a range of disciplines from biological sciences.

We have a good relationship with the course tutors and have supported many undergraduate projects by providing data or access to the donkeys here at The Donkey Sanctuary.

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Royal Veterinary College

The Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the Royal Veterinary College is committed to developing excellence in veterinary education and research and through this scholarship improving animal health and welfare.

The department’s activities in clinical education and research utilises not only the College’s hospital caseloads but also clinical information obtained from affiliated first opinion practices. This data collection and analysis is facilitated through the development and implementation of a common electronic patient record system in both the College hospitals and various partner practices.

Data retrieval and analysis is facilitated through the collaborations of specialist clinicians working together with our large epidemiology unit to ensure both appropriate case recruitment and evaluation. These resources are further enhanced through the activities of the department’s Clinical Investigations Centre whose members are expert in the development and delivery of clinical trials to GCP standard.

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School of Veterinary Sciences

Research at the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol is focused within three groups:

  • Animal Welfare and Behaviour
  • Comparative
  • Clinical Research and Infection and Immunity

Their research is informed by a clear vision to address some of the biggest challenges facing human and animal health and welfare, with studies ranging from molecular and cellular mechanisms to whole organisms. Multidisciplinary collaborations demonstrate the School's commitment to translating its expertise in fundamental biomedical research from bench to bedside and from farm to fork.

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Swiss Institute of Veterinary Medicine

The Swiss Institute of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bern formed in 2012 as a partnership between The Research Institute Agroscope and the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Bern. With this step, the already existing collaboration was intensified and further expanded.

The Insitute carries out equid-related research in collaboration with leading national and international partners in:

  • Hereditary backgrounds, prevention and therapy of respiratory, muscular, dental and skin diseases
  • Reproduction methods, fertility and well-being of breeding animals
  • Prevention and fighting of infectious diseases
  • Equine sports medicine, performance physiology and rehabilitation
  • Animal welfare and well-being

The results gained from these research projects can be applied in practice.

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The Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health

The Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health at the University of Glasgow is a cross-institute and cross-college organization designed to synthesize the expertise and activities of a group of researchers interested in both the clinical and ecological health of populations and ecosystems. They are a relatively small and close-knit group with a common interest in quantifying, modelling, and describing ecological and epidemiological processes rather than any particular focus on individual disciplines or taxonomic groups.

The Centre brings together wide-ranging research projects from population and landscape ecology, to epidemiology, immunology, and population genetics, but with particular strengths in modelling and quantitative analysis. Communication between the group members is excellent and facilitated by regular formal and informal meetings, problem-solving sessions, numerous joint collaborations, and a great deal of socializing.

University of Glasgow, School of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine is pre-eminent in teaching, research and clinical provision, and attracts students, researchers and clinicians from around the world.

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The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Research at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh spans all aspects of veterinary medicine, from molecules and genes through to animal and human populations.

The School, along with The Roslin Institute, aims to make a real difference to animal and human health and is summed up in the ethos - One Health.

They place a major emphasis on conducting high-quality research and attracting world-class talent. Their research focuses on:

  • The improvement of health and welfare of domestic animal species
  • The protection of public health
  • Alleviation of human poverty (in the context of tropical diseases)
  • Providing holistic solutions to global challenges in human and veterinary medicine and the livestock industry
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University of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna conducts research for the benefit of human and animal health. In addition to applied and clinical research, the University of Veterinary Medicine conducts excellent basic research in veterinary medicine.

Teaching and research activities are closely linked to ensure the principle of research-based teaching. The areas of research cover:

  • Animal health
  • Preventative veterinary medicine
  • Comparative medicine
  • Animal models
  • Public health services
  • Food safety
  • Animal husbandry, animal welfare and animal ethics
  • Organismic biology and biodiversity
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Utecht University, Department of Farm Animal Health (Nutrition)

The Department of Farm Animal Health is one of the three clinical departments at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, along with the Department of Equine Health and the Department of Clinical Health of Companion Animals.

Like the Department of Equine Health and the Department of Clinical Health of Companion Animals, the Department of Farm Animal Health focuses on the three core tasks of education, research and patient care. However, unlike the other two departments, patient care at the Department of Farm Animal Health facilitates education and research.

In their research and education, they pay attention to the individual animal, but to an increasing degree also to larger groups of farm animals. The veterinary care provided by the department also focuses on this issue.

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Veterinary Parasitology & Ecology

The Veterinary Parasitology & Ecology at the University of Bristol research group is part the School of Biological Sciences.

Research here spans the full range of biological disciplines, from genomics and cell biology, through diverse aspects of whole organism biology and evolution, to population biology and ecosystem services.

Parasites remain one of the most important constraints to animal health, welfare and productivity. A detailed understanding of the biology, ecology and epidemiology of parasites, in association with the hosts they inhabit, is essential to allow acceptable levels of control to be achieved.

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Wageningen University, Laboratory of Microbiology

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is to ‘explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life’. It does so by focusing on the domain ‘healthy food and living conditions’, by developing top-quality expertise and by helping to translate its knowledge into practice worldwide.