Students Staff

11 March 2014

Essex scientists selected to present their research to MPs

Colchester Campus

cow tracking research

From left: Dr Zoe Barker, Dr Edward Codling, Dr Jonathan Amory, and Dr Jorge Vazquez.

Two Essex scientists will present their research to MPs after being shortlisted in a major national competition to showcase the country’s best young researchers.

The University’s Dr Jorge Vazquez and Writtle College’s Dr Zoe Barker will present their ‘cow tracking’ research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges as part of SET for Britain competition on Monday 17 March.

They are part of the team using wireless tracking sensors and cutting-edge mathematical techniques to develop a new automated early warning system for welfare problems such as lameness and mastitis in dairy cows.

Dr Vazquez and Dr Barker were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to present their research and will compete against 59 other exhibitors in their category.

Dr Vazquez, who is a research officer in Essex’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, said: “We applied for the SET for Britain competition because it is a great opportunity to communicate our research to Members of Parliament. We want to highlight the inter-disciplinary nature of our research project and show how novel mathematical tools can be combined with practical use of new technology in order to improve dairy cow welfare.”

Dr Barker, who is a research assistant at Writtle College, said: “Balancing the welfare needs of animals with the need to ensure food security both within the UK and globally is a real challenge. SET for Britain provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how animal science research is embracing new technologies and techniques and developing practical solutions which farmers can use to address these challenges.”

Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.

“These early career scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

The cow tracking research has been entered into the Biological and Biomedical Sciences session of the competition, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.

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