Equine researcher sought for international scholarship program

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The new Mars Equestrian Veterinary Research Scholar program builds on the Mars Equestrian Early Career Investigator program.
The new Mars Equestrian Veterinary Research Scholar program builds on the Mars Equestrian Early Career Investigator program. © Penn Vet/James Graham Photography

A trans-Atlantic partnership has led to a new international scholarship program aimed at advancing the health and welfare of the horse.

The partnership between Mars Equestrian, Britain’s Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is seeking an aspiring veterinary investigator for the Mars Equestrian Veterinary Research Scholar program, which is to start in September.

Dr Kyla Ortved
Dr Kyla Ortved

It offers the opportunity to conduct research alongside internationally renowned experts in equine health and veterinary welfare while pursuing two advanced credentials: The Graduate Certificate in Animal Welfare and Behavior at Penn Vet during year one, followed by the Master of Research (MRes) program at the RVC in year two.

Building upon Penn Vet’s Mars Equestrian Early Career Investigator Program launched in November 2020, this new format offers the candidate an opportunity to refine critical research skills and expand animal welfare knowledge while learning on location at both the RVC in London, England and Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States.

Penn Vet’s Dr Kyla Ortved, assistant professor of large animal surgery at New Bolton Center, will serve as the primary mentor for the program’s embedded research project. A clinical expert in equine orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, Ortved’s research program seeks to better understand attributes of the equine joint in order to improve clinical outcomes associated with osteoarthritis following injury in horses.

“There are two fundamental components to a successful career in the veterinary medicine field: Exceptional mentorship and the continuous pursuit of applicable knowledge,” Ortved said.

“The multidisciplinary approach of the Mars Equestrian Veterinary Research Scholar program is set to provide both of these cardinal elements through an experiential learning environment that will ultimately culminate in delivering meaningful advancements that will have a very real, positive impact on the lives of our equine partners.”

Dr Tom Parsons
Dr Tom Parsons

The selected candidate will also learn from leading experts in animal welfare including Penn Vet’s Dr Tom Parsons, professor of swine production medicine, director of Penn Vet’s Swine Teaching and Research program and one of the founding members of Penn Vet’s Animal Welfare and Behavior Certificate program. This certificate, coupled with the RVC’s MRes program, will balance pragmatic understandings of multi-species health, behavior, and well-being with interdisciplinary problem-solving skills that can be directly deployed through the program’s research projects.

Professor Richard Bomphrey, Interim Vice-Principal for Research at the Royal Veterinary College, said the new initiative strengthens the ties between the RVC, the University of Pennsylvania and Mars Equestrian. “We look forward to welcoming the successful scholar and helping them to make an impact in equine research.”

Bridgett McIntosh, PhD, Director at Mars Equestrian, said the goal of the program was to continue to drive the field forward in creating a better world for horses “by engaging and training the next generation of veterinarians”.

The Mars Equestrian Veterinary Research Scholar program is open to international candidates holding a veterinary degree (DVM/VMD/BVSc or equivalent). The chosen candidate will receive an annual stipend and tuition as well as travel expenses. The programme will commence in September 2021 in the United States before moving to the UK in October 2022 until its conclusion in September 2023.

The deadline to submit applications for consideration is June 30, 2021, or until an acceptable candidate is identified. Applications should be sent to the Penn Vet’s Dr Kyla Ortved at kortved@vet.upenn.edu

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