BVA Overseas travel grants support veterinary students’ research in Ethiopia and the Philippines

21 September 2017

Final-year veterinary students Dominic Clarke and Sara Robson were announced as recipients of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Overseas travel grants during an awards ceremony at the BVA Members’ Day in Belfast today (21 September).

The BVA Overseas travel grant scheme supports undergraduate research projects that contribute to sustainable development and good animal welfare overseas. The grants of £500 each aim to give students the chance to gain experience in the prevention and control of exotic and emerging animal diseases; help them develop beneficial life skills such as communication, adaptability and open-mindedness; and, through their work abroad, inspire a lifetime’s commitment to animal health and welfare globally.

Royal Veterinary College student Dominic Clarke used the grant to support his project on the arrowhead dogfish on Limasawa Island, Philippines, as part of the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute project. While the primary aim of the project is the conservation of the species, it also aligns with the needs of the local fishing community.

Responding to receiving his award, Dominic said:

"I was delighted to receive an overseas travel grant from the BVA, which proved to be absolutely invaluable to my project in the Philippines. It was a privilege to work with such a poorly understood shark species as well as the unique community of Limasawa Island, for whom these animals are so important. The experience served to deepen my passion for marine wildlife, which I know will shape my career as a vet for many years to come."

Sara, a final-year student at Cambridge Veterinary School, received the grant for her project on the epidemiology and public health impact of bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis (TB) in urban and peri-urban dairy production systems in and around Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Sara’s work forms part of the multidisciplinary Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS) programme in Ethiopia, and contributes specifically to the Ethiopia Control of Bovine TB Strategies (ETHICOBOTS) project to consider the impact of brucellosis on farmers and on farming families. Sara is also this year’s recipient of the BVA Harry Steele-Bodger Memorial travel scholarship, which supports veterinary students in a visit to a veterinary or agricultural school, research institute or some other course of study.

Commenting on her Overseas travel grant, Sara said:

“I was delighted to find out that I had be chosen to receive this year’s award, as without it I would not have been able to carry out my research project in Ethiopia. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me to experience working in a completely different country and culture, meet some wonderful people and has certainly cemented my passion for continuing with this sort of work in my future career.”  

The BVA Overseas travel grant scheme began in 1983 and has so far helped 126 students undertake projects in 39 different developing countries. Previous recipients have carried out research on topics the prevalence and molecular identification of helminths in wild and captive Sri Lankan elephants; barriers to effective breeding and husbandry in communal alpaca herds in Peru; the conservative control of Wildebeest-associated Malignant Catarrhal Fever on a dairy farm in Kenya; and the prevalence of Canine Heartworm and three other vector-borne diseases in Fiji; among others.

BVA Media Office